A new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that fewer parents are choosing circumcision for their sons. The study states that the rate of circumcision for males has declined 10% over the last 30 years. While that is an overall rate throughout the U.S., the figures are noticeably lower in the western states, the study reveals.

In 1979, about two-thirds of babies in the western states were circumcised after birth in the hospital, which was similar to the national rate of 65%. By 2010, the numbers in the west had dropped to 40%, while national rate was about 58%.

Why the decline? It’s not certain, but some researchers point to the fluctuating medical opinions of organization like the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP). Circumcision rates began to drop in the 1980s after the APP reported that there was no medical evidence that routine circumcision was needed for newborns. The practice picked back up in the 1990s after the opinion was revised, citing some potential benefits. In 1999, the Academy once again released a statement summing up the potential benefits of the surgery, including lower rates of urinary tract infections as well as sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, but the study still shows a drop in circumcision in the 2000s, regardless.

Doctors also point out that rates are dropping throughout Westernized countries, and immigration may play a factor. Many U.S. parents opted to do the procedure because they wanted their children to not be different from their peers, but President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Thomas McInerney told Bloomberg News, “...circumcision is less frequent in Europe and Asia, so in time as more immigration has occurred, there are more uncircumcised floating around in locker rooms, so you’re not going to get an embarrassing situation.”

Lack of funds and insurance exceptions might also be to blame. Reuters reports that the Medicaid program for the poor has stopped paying for circumcisions in 18 U.S. states, and that some insurers will not pay for a procedure that might not be medically necessary. Other experts suggest that with delivering women’s hospital stays shortening, many families opt to do the procedure on an outpatient basis, and that data may not be captured in the study.

Regardless of the trends, the APP recently stated that while the benefits of circumcision outweighed the risks, the decision should be made by parents who have considered all of the medical pluses, as well as the potential side effects, and also their personal and religious beliefs.

What do you think, Moms? Did you choose to have your son circumcised? Why or why not?

Source: CDCBloomberg NewsReuters