Circumcision confers a lifetime of medical, health and sexual benefits. At least 1 in 3 uncircumcised males will, over their lifetime, develop a condition requiring medical attention. This means various degrees of suffering and some deaths. In contrast, circumcision can prevent or greatly reduce the risk of most of these medical conditions. The surgical risk of a circumcision in a modern setting is extremely low, while the long-term functional and cosmetic outcomes are generally excellent. Circumcision of the male partner also confers substantial sexual and medical benefits to a woman, by reducing her risk of disease, suffering, medical treatment and premature death.
It is hoped that this review will have proved important informative to medical practitioners and health workers, thereby enhancing the quality of information that they can impart to parents of male children and to adult men. It should also prove to have educational value to others, especially the parents of boys, but also adult men, whether circumcised or not. It is hoped that as a result of reading the information presented herein the choice that has to be made concerning circumcision, especially of infants, will be a much more informed one.
Although there are benefits to be had at any age, they are greater the younger the male. Issues of “informed consent” may be analogous to those parents have to consider for other medical procedures, such as whether or not to immunize their child. The question to be answered is “do the benefits outweigh the risks?” When considering each factor in isolation there could be some difficulty in deciding. However, when viewed as a whole the answer to whether to circumcise a male baby must surely be “YES”. Nevertheless, everybody needs to weigh up all of the pros and cons for themselves and make their own best decision. Hopefully the information provided herein will help in the decision-making process.
• Risk-benefit analysis.