New study says the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks 100 to 1

The review’s outspoken lead author, Brian J. Morris, a circumcision advocate and Professor Emeritus at The University of Sydney, Australia, hopes this new data will silence the debate once and for all. It’s Morris’ provocative position that infant circumcision contributes to overall public health in the same way that vaccines do, and should be equivalent to childhood vaccinations. And as such, he says, it’s unethical for doctors not to routinely offer it to parents.

“Each have a major population level benefit, but carry a risk that affects a very small proportion of individuals who receive the intervention. There are also extremely rarely deaths from each,” he told The Daily Beast via email. Moreover, “a vaccine is highly specific, whereas the protective effects of circumcision cover a wide array of medical conditions.”

The health benefits of circumcision are numerous. According to a mountain of research, documented in Morris’ review and noted by the APA in its recently updated policy statement, the benefits of circumcision include “prevention of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.” These statistics can be misleading, however. For instance, the actual or absolute risk of penile cancer is so small (about 1 in 100,000) that an increased risk is still hardly any risk at all.