MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A growing number of Minnesota families are making the decision not to circumcise their baby boy.
But it’s left some parents looking for proper care once they’ve made that choice.
WCCO looked into a controversial topic many believe we should be more comfortable with long before a doctor’s visit.
Admittedly, it’s not a subject Shauna Emery thought she’d be so open to discussing after she and her husband decided not to circumcise Carter three years ago, she said.
“My family gets very uncomfortable when I bring it up,” Emery said. “I was that crazy mom. First pregnancy, first child. I looked into everything.”
The risks of infection, anesthesia and pain caught their attention.
“I talked to a few friends, did the research online and made the decision to keep my son intact,” she said.
Emery now serves as a state representative with Intact Minnesota. The group provides information on research and development. They are now focusing on a concern many families who choose not to circumcise face: Finding the right doctor.
Emery says locating a physician or medical professional who won’t retract is an issue for these families.
HealthPartners Pediatrician Dr. Janelle Keplinger knows the concerns well.
“I feel that circumcision is a family choice,” she said.
While she’s performed hundreds of circumcisions in her 20 years as a pediatrician, she makes it clear that the procedure is considered non-necessary.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics concludes the benefits outweigh the risks. They point to a lower chance of urinary tract infections and some sexually transmitted diseases.
“Some benefits and risks are more significant for different families,” Dr. Keplinger said.
Dr. Keplinger finds the decision is most often guided by race, religion, and region of the country.
Hospitals are not legally required to report the number of circumcisions they perform, but the Centers for Disease Control reported falling numbers in their latest comprehensive survey. Results showed 68.8 percent of males were circumcised in 2009, down from 82.9 percent in 1998.
When it comes to finding a doctor well-versed in proper treatment, Dr. Keplinger says they should all be capable.
“I learned in med school, my pediatric rotation there and my pediatric residency (that) the care of the uncircumcised male is actually quite easy,” Dr. Keplinger said.
Still, she encourages parents to ask questions before their baby boy is born.
Emery has advice for those willing to fully explore this often taboo topic:
“No regrets,” she said.
Here’s a list of pediatricians recommended by patients to care for uncircumcised boys.