Canadian Pediatricians Poised to Follow AAP in Condoning Circumcision

As reported in the two articles reprinted below, Canada's leading association of pediatricians, the Canadian Paediatric Society, is apparently preparing to issue a position statement that will soften its previous opposition to the practice and will move it more in the direction of the current policy statement recently issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Steven Svoboda
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child


Pediatricians set to soften stance on circumcision

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Pediatricians+soften+stance+circumcision/8043450/story.html

Canada's pediatricians are about to update their advice on whether baby boys should be circumcised, revising and softening their stand for the first time in 17 years.

Their review comes as new Canadian research suggests half of expectant parents would consider circumcision if they had a son - and that the single most important factor is the circumcision "status" of the father. The Canadian Paediatric Society's old policy, issued in 1996, opposed routine circumcision of newborns. The new statement is expected to be more neutral.

"There isn't going to be a 'prescription' for Canadian males in terms of circumcision," said society president Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

The organization has been struggling to put forward a balanced position "that captures the risks, and the benefits, but is also respectful of personal preferences, religious issues and many other things that dictate this decision," Stanwick said.

The issue is so loaded with emotion and controversy that the new statement has been three years in the making.

"There are very strong opinions on both sides of this issue," Stanwick said. "We know that we're wading into something that, no matter what we write, will not be strong enough for probably either side."

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, a move that provoked demonstrations by anti-circumcision activists who view the procedure as genital mutilation of newborns.

The old policy deemed circumcision medically unnecessary for the "well-being of the child."

But after a special task force reviewed more than 1,000 studies published over the past 15 years, the American doctors' group now says that circumcision provides protection against urinary tract infections, penile cancer and the transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

The organization isn't recommending universal circumcision. Instead, it says the final decision should be left to parents.

Circumcision involves the surgical remove of some, or all, of the foreskin from the penis. It is one of the most common surgical procedures performed worldwide. In hospitals, the procedure is usually performed by obstetricians soon after birth.

"Clearly there has been a lot of literature around the potential role of the avoidance of infection," Stan-wick said.

"But this also has to be balanced off against the fact that this is still a surgical procedure, and it is not without risk."

Those risks can include bleeding and hemorrhage, infection, inflammation and tightening at the end of the penis.

Any shift in policy would have to ensure, "are there enough skilled professionals around to do this, so that we don't have a complication rate that is unacceptable and so that we're not seeing males being significantly harmed by not having the properly trained people to do it," Stanwick said.

The new policy statement is expected to be released before the pediatric group's annual meeting in June.

"It would be great if we had absolute answers, but on this one, I don't think we will," Stanwick said.

"At the end of the day ... it will very much be influenced by dad's status, as well as the cultural and religious issues."

A new study found that the circumcision rates are heavily influenced by whether or not the father is circumcised.

University of Saskatchewan researchers, in a study published in the journal Canadian Family Physician, surveyed 230 parents attending prenatal classes in Saskatoon.

Overall, half - 56 per cent - said they would consider pursuing circumcision if they had a son. In cases where the father of the expected baby was circumcised, 82 per cent were in favour of circumcision, versus 15 per cent when the father wasn't circumcised.

According to the researchers, Canada's current circumcision rate is 32 per cent. In the U.S., rates are increasing, to 61 per cent of men, they said.


 

Will Canadian pediatricians be as ignorant and greedy as American 
pediatricians?
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Canada+pediatricians+reveal+policy+circumcision/8042479/story.html

Canada’s pediatricians set to reveal new policy on circumcision

By Sharon Kirkey, Postmedia News March 2, 2013

The Canadian Paediatric Society is preparing to revise its position on 
circumcision.

Photograph by: Simon Maina , AFP/Getty Images

Canada’s pediatricians are about to update their advice on whether baby 
boys should be circumcised, revising their stand for the first time in 
17 years.

Their review comes as new Canadian research suggests half of expectant 
parents would consider circumcision if they had a son  — and that the 
single most important factor is the circumcision “status” of the father.

The Canadian Paediatric Society’s old policy, issued in 1996, opposed 
routine circumcision of newborns.

The new statement is expected to be more neutral.

“There isn’t going to be a ‘prescription’ for Canadian males in terms 
of circumcision,” society president Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical 
health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, told 
Postmedia News.

The organization has been struggling to put forward a balanced position 
“that captures the risks, and the benefits, but is also respectful of 
personal preferences, religious issues and many other things that 
dictate this decision,” Stanwick said.

The issue is so loaded with emotion and controversy that the new 
statement has been three years in the making. “There are very strong 
opinions on both sides of this issue,” Stanwick said.

“We know that we’re wading into something that, no matter what we 
write, will not be strong enough for probably either side.”

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that the health 
benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, a move that 
provoked demonstrations by anti-circumcision activists who view the 
procedure as genital mutilation of newborns.

The old policy deemed circumcision medically unnecessary for the 
“well-being of the child.”

But after a special task force reviewed more than 1,000 studies 
published over the past 15 years, the American doctors’ group now says 
that circumcision provides protection against urinary tract infections, 
penile cancer and the transmission of some sexually transmitted 
infections, including HIV.

The organization isn’t recommending universal circumcision. Instead, it 
says the final decision should be left to parents.

Circumcision involves the surgical remove of some, or all, of the 
foreskin from the penis. It is one of the most common surgical 
procedures performed worldwide. In hospitals, the procedure is usually 
performed by obstetricians soon after birth.

“Clearly there has been a lot of literature around the potential role 
of the avoidance of infection,” Stanwick said.

“But this also has to be balanced off against the fact that this is 
still a surgical procedure, and it is not without risk.”

Those risks can include bleeding and hemorrhage, infection, 
inflammation and tightening at the end of the penis.

Any shift in policy would have to ensure, “are there enough skilled 
professionals around to do this, so that we don’t have a complication 
rate that is unacceptable and so that we’re not seeing males being 
significantly harmed by not having the properly trained people to do 
it,” Stanwick said.

The new policy statement is expected to be released before the 
pediatric group’s annual meeting in June.

“It would be great if we had absolute answers, but on this one, I don’t 
think we will,” Stanwick said.

“At the end of the day . . .  it will very much be influenced by dad’s 
status, as well as the cultural and religious issues.”

A new study found that the circumcision rates are heavily influenced by 
whether or not the father is circumcised.

University of Saskatchewan researchers, in a study published in the 
journal Canadian Family Physician, surveyed 230 parents attending 
prenatal classes in Saskatoon.

Overall, half — 56 per cent — said they would consider pursuing 
circumcision if they had a son. In cases where the father of the 
expected baby was circumcised, 82 per cent were in favour of 
circumcision, versus 15 per cent when the father wasn’t circumcised.

According to the researchers, Canada’s current circumcision rate is 32 
per cent. In the U.S., rates are increasing, to 61 per cent of men, 
they said.

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