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The dilemma of infant circumcision

The dilemma of infant circumcision



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Sexual health is one of those topics that captures everyone's attention and leaves no one indifferent. And if the matter also has social, religious or economic connotations, the controversy is assured.

This is what is happening with the dilemma of infantile circumcision, since the American Pediatric Society recommended it as a result of learning that, while in the 70s 75 percent of boys were circumcised, now only 55 percent are circumcised percent.

The controversy has traveled at breakneck speed around the world since the publication of an article in the magazine Pediatrics, in which the American Pediatric Society states that The benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, and while the benefits are not enough to propose general circumcision for all boys, they do recommend it. This general recommendation is what has raised the voice of the most radical of the so-called "inactivist" movement, which has been seeking for years to ban infant circumcision as a kind of mutilation. In Europe, this general recommendation has also not been well received because the procedure is only subject to strict medical indications.

And is that circumcision is an operation that consists of cutting the foreskin that protects the glans of the penis and that prevents it from showing at the tip. All babies in the world are born with phimosis. The skin that covers the penis and protects the glans gradually unfolds with age until at the age of three or five, 90 percent of boys fully discover their glans. Sometimes children have to wait until adolescence to see a definitive separation of the skin, but before reaching adulthood only 1 percent of young people have difficulty achieving this.

So why recommend it? Different studies have shown that it prevents urinary tract infections and reduces the transmission of certain sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, something that has led the UN-AIDS organization to recommend the circumcision of boys in Africa as a measure to stop the spread of the disease.

On the other side of the scale is the movement called inactivism that, like the one that promotes the boycott of vaccines, has been gaining followers and threatens a deeply rooted practice in many places such as in the United States where the percentage of children who are circumcised has decreased 20 percent since the 1970s. Inactivists argue that removing foreskin protection leaves the glans exposed to rubbing against underwear, diminishing sensitivity and therefore sexual pleasure over time. For this reason, they understand that parents should not decide for their children.

And also, by tradition, circumcision is an ancient practice that is performed on babies of Jewish families at 8 days of birth and is also recommended by the Muslim religion. Like many other religious rules, circumcision dates back to ancient times, and is based on the recommendation that God made to Abraham that he have children and do the same with his descendants.

Thus, infantile circumcision is surrounded by issues of health, individual rights, and religious overtones. Each party has its reasons and as always in this type of issue, controversy is served and the choice is a dilemma.

Marisol New.

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Video: Facing Circumcision: Eight Physicians Tell Their Stories - Documentary - 1998 (August 2022).