Monday February 12 10:46 AM ET

Many Parents Unhappy About Circumcision Decision

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although pediatricians have not endorsed routine circumcision, a majority of parents in the US still choose to have their infant sons undergo the procedure. Now a new survey suggests that parents who say no to circumcision end up less satisfied with their decision than those who opt for the procedure.

The findings also suggest that one reason for the dissatisfaction may be that these parents generally felt less informed about circumcision than those who chose to do it. They were also less likely to have had their doctors present the option to them.

Dr. Robert Adler of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and colleagues report their findings in the February online issue of Pediatrics.

In a survey of 149 families, Adler's team found that parents who did not have their sons circumcised were twice as likely to later reconsider their decision. Twenty-seven percent felt unsatisfied with their decision, compared with 14% of parents who opted for circumcision.

Overall, 37% of parents felt they were not given enough information about circumcision, and parents who said no to the procedure were more likely to feel this way.

Circumcision carries pros and cons. It has been shown to reduce babies' urinary tract infections, and may help prevent penile cancer, a rare disease. On the other hand, many parents feel it inflicts unnecessary pain and in many countries circumcision is rarely performed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has stated that while circumcision may have some health benefits, the evidence does not warrant a call for routine circumcision.

The AAP also stresses the importance of giving families ''accurate and impartial'' information on the procedure. The results of the survey suggest that better communication might have left parents more satisfied with their circumcision decision, according to Adler and colleagues.

``This study does not support or condone the circumcision decision, only the necessity to deliver accurate and informative data to parents and discuss and support the parental decision-making process,'' the authors write.

SOURCE: Pediatrics 2001;107:e20.