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October 1979

Routine Neonatal Circumcisions

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(10):1069-1070. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130100093020

Circumcision in the newborn produces little, if any, benefit and may be harmful.1-5 In spite of dubious medical indications, it continues to be performed routinely in most nurseries throughout the country.

From October 1976 to September 1977, 819 male babies were born at the New Britain General Hospital; 661 of them (80.7%) underwent circumcision. Pregnant mothers in labor, when admitted to our hospital, are asked by the admitting office clerk if they wish the baby to be circumcised should they have a boy. If they do, they are asked to sign the regular permission form.

Since the decision to circumcise or not to circumcise is usually left to the parents,6 it may be asked whether they are knowledgeable enough to make a wise decision. To explore the question of the parents' preparedness to decide, the following project was undertaken.

Material and Methods.—Questionnaires were sent to the parents of