Ciurcumcision is often performed in healthy boys for cultural or religious reasons. In the United States, a newborn boy is usually circumcised before he leaves the hospital. Jewish boys, however, are circumcised when they are 8 days old.
In other parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and South and Central America, circumcision is rare in the general population.
The merits of circumcision have been debated. Opinions about the need for circumcision in healthy boys vary among health care providers. Some believe there is great value to having an intact foreskin, such as allowing for a more natural sexual response during adulthood.
Rather than routinely recommending circumcision for healthy boys, many health care providers allow the parents to make the decision after presenting them with the pros and cons.
There is no compelling medical rationale for the procedure in healthy boys, although some boys have a medical condition requiring circumcision.
In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their policy statement on circumcision, and this policy is supported by the American Medical Association. A summary of the policy is below:
"Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In circumstances in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child. To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision. If a decision for circumcision is made, procedural analgesia should be provided."