Circumcision is cutting away the skin ("foreskin") that covers the tip of a baby's penis. In recent years, newborn circumcision has been a hot topic of debate.
Your choice of whether to circumcise your son may be a question of religion or custom (circumcision is part of Jewish and Muslim custom). In other cases, parents may simply want their son to look like his father or other male family members.
The rate of circumcision in the U.S. is falling. In the 1970s and 1980s, about 8 of every 10 boys born in the U.S. were circumcised. Today, 5 or 6 of every 10 boys are circumcised. Circumcision rates in the U.S. differ by region. Fewer boys in western states are circumcised. The north central region has the highest rates of circumcision. Only about 1 in 3 males are circumcised worldwide. The highest rates for circumcision are in the Middle East, South Korea, and the U.S. Circumcision is rare in Latin America, most of Asia, and in Europe. It is on the rise in Africa, where studies have shown that circumcision lowers the risk of getting HIV. The Royal Dutch Medical Association in The Netherlands called for a ban on circumcision in 2010, stating that it is "medically unnecessary and violates children's rights."