Doctor warning on circumcision

News  Courier Mail (Brisbane, QLD, Australia), Page 10. Wednesday, 29 May 1996.

Philip Hammond


Routine circumcision should not be performed on baby boys under six months old, the Australian College of Pediatrics stated yesterday.

That is what is happening in the real world, college registrar Tim Bohane said last night.

Pediatric surgeons rated circumcision without anaesthetic of newborn boys traumatic.

We are not in disagreement, Dr Bohane said.

The college had seen a sharp drop in circumcision in Australia after its firm anti-circumcision stance of 1982, endorsed in 1990; but had now slightly eased its stance,he said.

Fewer than 10 percent of infant boys were now circumcised and the college recommended that if parents considered it necessary, they should wait until the child was a month old and able to have anaesthetics, he said.

Dr Bohane told the college's annual scientific meeting in Brisbane that there were no medical indications for routine circumcision.

The possibility of the operation, performed on a minor for no medical benefit, being a breach of human rights had to be determined in the courts, he said.

The college has reviewed evidence in relation to risk and benefits and has concluded that it is not possible to be dogmatic on the exact risk-benefit ratio, Dr Bohane said.

There are suggestions of reduction in the risk of urinary tract infections; of local inflammatory conditions of the penis; and later cancer of the penis.


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