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The Circumcision Debate: To Snip or Not to Snip?

Indeed, having a boy circumcised is up to the parents to decide and can depend on a number of issues. Sometimes, the decision to circumcise is based on family tradition and whether the father had the procedure as a child. Circumcision can be performed for any number of other reasons, including religious rituals, personal hygiene, or preventative health care.

Opinions on whether a child should be circumcised vary greatly. Proponents for the procedure believe the warm, moist area under the foreskin is a breeding ground for bacteria and infections; opponents argue that it's an individual's lifestyle, behavior, and cleaning habits, not the foreskin, that have the biggest impact on health. And although proponents point out that circumcised babies have fewer UTIs, opponents argue that these are easily treatable with antibiotics, and a circumcision is a drastic measure to take for such a curable illness. As for penile cancer, proponents believe it is a sensible step to help reduce a boy's chances of contracting the disease, but opponents argue this type of cancer is extremely rare, and compare it to giving a young girl a mastectomy to avoid someday getting breast cancer. In addition, some don't agree with the idea of "disfiguring" a child's penis by removing a part he was born with.

In the end, it's a personal decision that should be discussed and agreed upon by both parents. Some have the procedure done as soon as their baby is born, others opt not to, and still others leave the decision up to their child to make when he is older. (Although there is additional debate as to whether waiting can increase the pain and trauma to the child.) There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to circumcision. What's important is to know the all the facts, and make a decision based on what you think is best for your child.



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