Circumcision means cutting away the foreskin, a layer of skin that covers the tip of the penis. An anesthetic will be used to lessen the pain. Circumcision usually is done soon after birth and before the baby leaves the hospital.
For some parents, circumcision is a religious ritual. It also can be a matter of family tradition or personal hygiene. Studies show that there are some medical benefits to circumcision, including a slightly decreased risk of urinary tract infections during the first year of life; a lower risk of getting cancer of the penis (although this cancer is very rare to begin with); a slightly lower risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); and a lower risk of infection of the foreskin.
However, these medical reasons are not sufficient to recommend circumcision for all infant boys, and the American Academy of Pediatrics believes the decision should be left to the parents. If you want your son circumcised, tell your health care provider ahead of time. Also, check with your insurance provider because the procedure may not be covered.