The circumcision decision

The policy concluded, however, that it is legitimate for parents to take into account cultural, religious and ethnic traditions, in addition to medical factors, when making this decision. It states that to make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision with their pediatrician.

For the first time in AAP circumcision policy history, the new recommendations also indicate that if parents decide to circumcise their infant, it is essential that pain relief be provided. To assist parents in making the decision of whether or not to circumcise their sons, the AAP policy outlines the potential medical benefits and risks and discusses the use of analgesia.

Beginning in its 1971 manual Standards and Recommendations of Hospital Care of Newborn Infants, and reiterated in the 1975 and 1985 revisions, the Academy concluded that there was no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision.

In 1989, due to new research exploring links between circumcision status and both urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS, the Academy concluded that newborn male circumcision did have potential medical benefits and advantages, as well as risks.

In light of continued debate over the last decade regarding those benefits and risks, as well as the publication of new research, the Academy chose to reevaluate its 1989 policy. The new policy recommendations released today are based on analysis of all available medical literature on circumcision currently available, including new studies published in the last 10 years.

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