Health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks of the surgery on baby boys, according to a new American study claiming it may prevent diseases like HIV and has no negative effect on sexual satisfaction.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said circumcision can reduce risk of urine infects, penile cancer and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, but has stopped short of recommending the procedure for all babies, saying the choice should be left up to parents.
In a study published by journal Pediatrics, the AAP said the health benefits of newborn male circumcision "justify access to this procedure for families who choose it".
The AAP also said circumcision does not have any affect on sensitivity of the penis or sexual pleasure.
The review also showed a lower risk of contracting HPV and herpes if men are circumcised, but not a lower rate of gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
Dr Andrew Freedman, a paediatric urologist at Cedars-Sinai medical centre in Los Angeles, who chaired the study, said: "We're saying if a family thinks it is in the child's best interests the benefits are enough to help them do that."
But the AAP also warned that it was vital those performing circumcision are professionals, trained and using sterile instruments.
The group stressed it was imperative that those performing circumcision are adequately trained, that they used sterile techniques and offered effective pain-relief.
Circumcision, mandatory under Jewish law for eight-day old baby boys and commonly practiced in Islam, is a controversial topic in the US and Europe.
Circumcision can be performed by rabbis and imams, not by doctors.
The Initiation Society, which organises Jewish circumcisions, said their professionals rarely use anaesthetic when performing circumcisions as using a pain relief cream can cause inflammation and more pain than the procedure itself.
In some countries, circumcision is illegal and in others pain relief in mandatory, something recommended by the study.
But often pain relief is not used on tiny babies.
Anti-circumcision group Intact America said most of the studies underlying the new guidelines are based on research done on adult men in Africa.
Georganne Chapin, the group's executive director said: "The task force has failed to consider the large body of evidence from the developed world that shows no medical benefits for the practice, and has given short shrift, if not dismissed out of hand, the serious ethical problems inherent in doctors removing healthy body parts from children who cannot consent."
Last week, a doctor in Germany filed charges against David Goldberg, an Israeli rabbi living in Germany, for performing circumcisions, after a court in Cologne ruled it was illegal.
A government ethics committee overruled the court's decision.
In February 2010, a Jewish couple were fined for causing bodily harm to their then infant son who was circumcised in 2008 by a mohel, a rabbi specialising in circumcision, from the UK.
They had to pay €1500 in damages to the boy.
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