The benefits of neonatal circumcision exceed any risks by at least 100 to one, according to a review published online in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Brian J. Morris, D.Sc., Ph.D., from University of Sydney, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify articles pertaining to neonatal circumcision.

The researchers found that the prevalence of circumcision declined from 83 percent in the 1960s to 77 percent by 2010, after correction for underreporting. Benefits exceeded risks by at least 100 to one. Immediate benefits included protection against infections that can damage the pediatric kidney.

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No long-term negative effects on sexual function or pleasure were documented. Half of uncircumcised males over their lifetime will require treatment for a medical condition associated with retention of the foreskin. Neonatal male circumcision was also cost-effective for disease prevention.

“As with vaccination, circumcision of newborn boys should be part of public health policies,” the authors write.