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The Circumcision Debate

By Maureen Connolly

Deciding whether to circumcise your newborn son can be a difficult task for some. The surgical procedure, which involves cutting away the skin that covers the end of the penis, is typically done in the days following birth. There are personal, cultural, religious and health reasons to weigh when making the decision.

Currently, an estimated 60 percent of newborn boys in the United States are circumcised. However, these numbers may be dropping since many health groups now consider the procedure medically unnecessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that while there are medical benefits to having the procedure the evidence is not strong enough to recommend routine circumcision. Here are some facts about circumcision you may want to consider:

* It lowers a newborn's risk of urinary tract infections during the first year Infants who are circumcised have a 1 in 100 chance of developing a UTI, while an uncircumcised newborn has a 1 in 1,000 chance. "The risks associated with UTIs include kidney damage and generalized infection, though both of these are a rare event," says Alan Fleischman, M.D., senior vice president of medicine at New York Academy of Medicine and a professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
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