To Cut or Not?

Should parents circumcise their infant sons? The answer cuts both ways.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has rendered its first policy statement on the controversial medical topic since 2005, and its answer amounts to a qualified yes. While some parents contend the age-old practice is a form of mutilation, the AAP has said the benefits to newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, based on the findings of a 2007 task force it founded to review the controversy. ”Evidence suggests circumcision prevents urinary tract infections, penile cancer and transmission of some sexually transmitted diseases including HIV,” according to the AAP’s statement.

Still, the doctors’ organization maintained the decision to circumcise is a personal one, ultimately best left for parents to decide.