Parents should weigh pros, cons, before making decision about circumcision
Dr. Lawrence Rogina, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Potomac OB/GYN in Waynesboro, Pa., says parents should talk with their doctor before making a decision about circumcising male children. (By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer)
When Jeff and Lorrie Kreille were expecting their first child last year, they were faced with all sorts of decisions.
There was a name to choose, a nursery to decorate and the selection of godparents.
But one decision loomed heavy on their minds.
If it was a boy, should they have him circumcised?
"We honesty just wanted a healthy baby," Lorrie Kreille said. "And when the doctor said, ‘It's a boy' we were thrilled."
Hours later, though, the Hagerstown couple faced their first important decision as parents.
"We decided against circumcision," Kreille said. "We did a lot of research on it prior to our son's birth. And while we would never judge other families who decide in favor of the procedure, we were against it."
The Kreilles don't belong to a religion that requires it. Nor was there a medical necessity.
"We simply saw no reason for our son to go under the knife just hours after he was born," Lorrie Kreille said.
Circumcision — the removal of foreskin from the penis — has been an accepted practice since the beginning of the 20th century.
But over the past few decades, people have begun asking whether the procedure, grounded in ancient tradition, should continue.
Recently, actor Russell Crowe called circumcision "barbaric and stupid."
And in San Francisco, activists campaigned to put a proposal on the ballot this November making circumcision a crime.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, hospitals in the United States perform more than 1.2 million circumcisions each year.
Those who choose the procedure generally do so for reasons related to social conformity or religion. Circumcision is a common practice among Jews, Muslims and some Christians.
But while the majority of American males are circumcised, a growing number of parents, like the Kreilles, see it as an unnecessary intervention. A recent government report noted that infant circumcisions have declined overall since the 1960s.
Dr. Lawrence Rogina, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Potomac OB/GYN in Waynesboro, Pa., an affiliate of Summit Health, said he hasn't seen a change in the trend.
"Most parents still choose to have their sons circumcised," he said.
Circumcisions are usually performed within two days of a baby boy's birth, Rogina explained. Parents who have their sons circumcised for religious reasons may require the procedure to be performed about a week later.