The Doctors: Circumcision Controversy + How Old Is Too Old?

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The Drs: How Old Is Too Old For Circumcision?

The Doctors shared that newborn circumcisions stir up debates among parents and doctors, but is the conversation a bit different when the child is older? A short six-month relationship in Florida ended with the birth of a child, and the estranged couple has been fighting over him ever since, including over his circumcision. Dad says yes while Mom says no, and now the child is 4 years old and scheduled for surgery.

The Doctors: Circumcision Controversy + How Old Is Too Old?

The Doctors debated the topic of circumcision and whether there’s a certain age where it should no longer be up to the parents. (file404 / Shutterstock.com)

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Critics are calling the act barbaric because of his age, while others are citing medical and religious reasons in his defense. So should there be a cutoff age for circumcision?

The Drs: Circumcision Debate

The Doctors wanted to know what their Facebook followers thought, and 79% said that 4 years old is too old to circumcise a child. They said it blew up Facebook, with a lot of people making very strong comments, and some even calling it “torture.” Dr Jennifer Ashton said there’s a big difference in surgical risk between a neonatal circumcision than a child or adult who has to undergo general anesthesia to have the procedure done. She said that’s an issue that needs to be considered.

She also said that in medical literature it is widely known that circumcision greatly reduces the risk of HIV and Syphilis for men. She said the study was actually stopped prematurely because they found such a clear benefit in men who were circumcised. Dr Travis Stork said he understands because that’s a lot for a 4-year-old to handle.

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The Drs: Circumcised Vs Uncircumcised

Dr Drew Ordon also pointed out that when you undergo a circumcision, there is an decrease in sensation, but if you have a neonatal circumcision, they don’t have anything to compare it to. Dr Rachael Ross said, “That’s a myth.” She said that from a mom’s perspective, she doesn’t want her son to be embarrassed when he gets older.

Dr Ashton said the medical facts are straightforward but it’s the cultural and legal concerns that cause some controversy. She said men just need to be aware of the risks versus the benefits. She said as an obstetrician, whenever parents are on the fence, she would always suggest doing what the dad has, because the son at one point will notice if there’s a difference.

Dr Ashton said the studies that were done that showed the reduction in HIV transmission with men who were circumcised actually found that there were cell receptors in the foreskin that attracted the HIV virus. Dr Stork said he’s glad he had it as a newborn, rather than as an older child. Dr Stork’s parents were actually in the audience and his father was blushing pretty badly!

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