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In contrast to many of my professional colleagues whom are mohalim/ot, I am NOT a strong proponent of routine non-ritual newborn circumcision. In fact, I have what I believe to be a "balanced" opinion regarding the benefits versus detriments of the procedure. For families who seek newborn circumcision for religious, cultural or traditional reasons, I see no reason to dissuade their decision to circumcise. But for others, their decision may be based on criteria I believe to be unfounded such as the desire to have the baby look just like his father or the belief that being circumcised is "cleaner". I feel that it is ultimately the parent's decision as to what is the best course of action for their children and I try to guide them to the best of my ability. I recognize that there are some medical and cultural benefits that can be obtained through the judicious use of circumcision but these benefits are not so great as to represent a compelling reason to circumcise all newborns as a matter of routine.

There are risks too, most prominently excessive bleeding immediately after the circumcision, as is the case with any operative procedure. Other risks include poor healing, infection or damage to the penis, although these complications are extraordinarily rare especially when the circumcision is performed by a competent individual.

Finally, I feel that if the decision has been made to circumcise a newborn, then it is incumbent the parents to find the safest, least traumatic way to accomplish this goal.

The parents should do their homework and find an experienced, skilled, compassionate and supportive individual to perform the procedure. They should not assume all physicians and mohalim/ot who circumcise are equal in this matter. I strongly feel that parents should ask appropriate questions and expect clear answers... they should be informed about the differences in procedures and available methods of reducing the baby's discomfort. Then they can be comforted in the knowledge that they made the best possible informed decision for their baby.

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