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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Men's Health Channel
Reported November 1, 2012

The Circumcision Decision

WASHINGTON, DC (Ivanhoe Broadcast) For the first time in more than a decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics has modified their stance on male circumcision—saying it may offer health benefits but stopping short of recommending the procedure for all baby boys. So where does this leave parents?

When Maria Moser gave birth to her first baby boy she had a decision to make.

"Most people don’t think of circumcision until they have their own child. They just don’t think of it," Maria told Ivanhoe.

After hours of research and discussion, Maria and her husband decided not to circumcise Jude or his little brother Blaize.

"We’re talking about putting them through a very painful procedure with little to no anesthesia for no reason other than cosmetics, really," Maria said.

Maria says her sons should make the decision themselves.

"You’re taking about 15 square inches of extremely nerve dense tissue away from a man."

In the 1980s, almost 80 percent of U.S. male babies had their foreskin removed. Today, it’s less than 55 percent. But Johns Hopkins Doctor Aaron Tobian found this decline has increased health care costs by two billion dollars. He says studies show circumcision decreases risk for HIV, herpes, urinary tract infections and penile cancer.

"The medical benefits of male circumcision are abundantly clear," Dr. Aaron Tobian, an Assistant Professor of Pathology, Medicine and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, told Ivanhoe.

But critics argue much of the research on circumcision and STDs was conducted in Africa among adult males. Two studies have also found circumcision might actually increase the risk of HIV. Then, there are the risks. Serious complications occur in about one in every 500 procedures.

"Parents should discuss with their physicians both the risks and benefits of male circumcision and then make their own choice based on the best interest of their child," Dr. Tobian added.

Maria is happy with her decision and believes her boys will be, too.

"Every human should have a right to their whole genitals, and it just shouldn’t be a question."

But for many, it is a question without a clear-cut answer.

Last year, a circumcision ban made it on the ballot in San Francisco, but a judge ruled against including the measure. In the U.S., it is illegal to circumcise baby girls. 

For additional research on this article, click here.

Sign up for a free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs called First to Know by clicking here.


David March, MHA
Senior Media Relations Representative/Assistant Director
Johns Hopkins Medicine


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