Benefits of Newborn Circumcision

Despite its long history and regular use in many cultures, newborn circumcision has been and will likely remain discussed and debated. With that said, research has shown many benefits associated with circumcision, and this is particularly true when the procedure is performed on newborns. From its impact on urinary tract infections (UTIs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to penile cancer and its social and cultural significance, we discuss the benefits below.

Lowering the Risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Among the most common pediatric urologic problems, the chance of getting a urinary tract infections or UTI is reduced during infancy and childhood by performing a circumcision. UTIs are relatively common in uncircumcised male infants because of bacteria harbored under the foreskin. Research shows that circumcision can reduce the risk of UTIs by up to 90% by the end of the first year of life. Why does this matter? UTIs in newborns and infants can lead to serious kidney problems.

Lowering the Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections

While we are far more capable of preventing and treating sexually transmitted diseases these days, circumcision reduces the risk of transmission of HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Removing the foreskin decreases the likelihood of transmission. For example, studies in Africa have shown that circumcision may reduce the risk of HIV transmission in heterosexual men significantly.

Reduced Risk of Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is a rare disease but occurs almost exclusively in uncircumcised men due to chronic inflammation caused by the presence of the foreskin. The American Cancer Society, amongst other organizations, recognizes that circumcision during infancy or in childhood can reduce the risk of penile cancer.

Reduction in Inflammatory Conditions

Circumcision also reduces the risk of some inflammatory skin conditions, like balanitis (inflammation of the head of the penis) and phimosis (where the foreskin cannot be fully retracted). Circumcision reduces the accumulation of moisture and bacteria under the foreskin and improves hygiene.

Social and Cultural Considerations

Beyond medical benefits, the social and cultural considerations of circumcision cannot be ignored. In some cultures, circumcisions are considered a rite of passage, a religious obligation, or a tradition. Adhering to these cultural norms can have profound mental health and cultural identity benefits.


We will discuss the risks and controversy surrounding circumcision in a separate FAQ, as it’s important to acknowledge and understand the ongoing debate about newborn circumcision. Concerns are valid, and that’s why our providers are available to discuss any concerns you may have in parental decision-making, supported by comprehensive evidence-based information on the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Newborn circumcision offers several health benefits that start in infancy and continue into adulthood, including reduced risk of urinary tract infections, mitigation of certain sexually transmitted diseases, penile cancer, and inflammatory skin conditions. That said, the decision to circumcise should be made after a thorough discussion of the medical evidence, cultural beliefs, and individual values.

While the benefits of newborn circumcision are backed by an ever-growing body of scientific research, parents need to discuss the potential risks and benefits with a healthcare provider to make the best decision for their families.