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Researcher Says Circumcision Should be Offered Like Childhood Shots

First Posted: Apr 05, 2014 01:50 PM EDT

A new analysis of the number of circumcisions done annually in the United States has scientists suggesting the procedure should be offered for newborn boy as frequently as vaccinations.

Data shows circumcision rates have dropped from 83 percent in the 1860s to 77 percent today.

Although circumcisions are not required, Brian Morris, a professor emeritus for the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney, argued in a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings that medical care providers should become much more aggressive in pushing the benefits of the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis.

Circumcision didn't become a common medical procedure until the late 19th century and in modern times an often heated debate has developed over the necessity of the procedure within the context of improved contemporary hygiene and whether the perceived benefits outweigh the immediate pain and, critics claim, lifelong trauma inflicted on those who are circumcised.

Morris, asserts the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks by 100 to one, as over the lifespans of uncircumcised men, approximately 50 percent of them will get an adverse medical condition related to their foreskin.

Morris added that during infancy, the best type of protection from urinary tract infections -- which can lead to kidney damage -- is being circumcised.

"The new findings now show that infant circumcision should be regarded as equivalent to childhood vaccination and that as such it would be unethical not to routinely offer parents circumcision for their baby boy," Morris was reported saying in a report by the Daily Mail. "Delay puts the child's health at risk and will usually mean it will never happen."

Said Morris: "Taken together, the new findings should send a strong message to medical practitioners, professional bodies, educators, policy makers, governments and insurers to promote this safe, simple procedure, best done in infancy under local anesthesia and to increase access and third party coverage, especially for poor families, who tend to suffer most from foreskin-related diseases."

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