Monday, September 24, 2012

AAP Shifts Stance on Male Castration

Following a review of recent medical studies, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued the following statement:

Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male castration outweigh the risks, and the benefits of newborn male castration justify access to this procedure for those families who choose it.
Research published in the journal Cell Biology has found significantly longer lifespans for males who have undergone the well-established surgical procedure of castration-- as much as 20 years longer.

Activists are upset at what they call a "failure to consider the ethics of non-therapeutic surgery on newborns."  The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, notes that their new policy is not a recommendation of newborn male castration, and that the decision rests with parents:

Parents should weigh the health benefits and risks in light of their own religious, cultural, and personal preferences, as the medical benefits alone may not outweigh these other considerations for individual families.
This policy is the latest to generate public outrage following the Academy's May 2010 policy supporting a form of Female Genital Cutting and their August 2012 policy on newborn circumcision, which prompted hundreds of activists to "Wash Your Hands Clean of the AAP."  The AAP has since withdrawn its statement on Female Genital Cutting.


  1. Please note that this blog post is satire highlighting the lack of ethics displayed by recent AAP policy.

  2. Maybe the AAP needs to take a class in ethics.

  3. Castration is one of the oldest surgical procedures in the world. Pictures of males being castrated are recorded in Egyptian tombs.

    During the Ottoman Empire it was widely used both as discipline and to make secure body-servants for women in secluded areas (zenanas). In the 16th-18th centuries, at a high point of musical creativity, it was used to preserve the purity and pitch of the male soprano voice. Famous composers wrote for the castrato voice, including such sublime works as Mozart's "Exultate Jubilate" and Handel's famous Largo, "Ombra ma fu". Gregorio Allegri, himself a castrato, wrote his "Miserere" for castrati to sing in the Sistine Chapel. Here is a castrato voice.

    Castration has numerous medical benefits. By reducing the production of testosterone, it slows the growth and methathasis (spread) of aggressive tumours, such as prostate cancer. It makes males less aggressive.

    Parents are entitled to factually correct, nonbiased information about castration and should receive this information from clinicians before conception or early in pregnancy, which is when parents typically make castration decisions. Parents should determine what is in the best interest of their child. Physicians who counsel families about this decision should provide assistance by explaining the potential benefits and risks and ensuring that parents understand that castration is an elective procedure. The Task Force strongly recommends the creation, revision, and enhancement of educational materials to assist parents of male infants with the care of castrated and uncastrated scrota. The Task Force also strongly recommends the development of educational materials for providers to enhance practitioners’ competency in discussing castration’s benefits and risks with parents.

  4. Not only that, but
    As a general rule, minors in the United States are not considered competent to provide legally binding consent regarding their health care, and parents or guardians are empowered to make health care decisions on their behalf.

    ... Physicians who counsel families about this decision should assist parents by objectively explaining the potential benefits and risks of castrating their infant. Because some families may opt to castrate as part of religious or traditional practice, discussion should also encompass risks and benefits of having a medical professional perform this procedure in a clinical setting versus having it performed by a traditional/religious provider in a nonmedical environment. Parents may wish to consider whether the benefits of the procedure can be attained in equal measure if the procedure is delayed until the child is of sufficient age to provide his own informed
    consent. These interests include the medical benefits; the cultural and religious implications of being castrated; and the fact that the procedure has the least surgical risk and the greatest accumulated health benefits if performed during the newborn period.

    Newborn males who are not castrated at birth are much less likely to elect castration in adolescence or early adulthood. Parents who are considering deferring castration should be explicitly informed that castration performed later in life has increased risks and costs. ...

  5. We can look forward to papers with titles like "A 'snip' in time: what is the best age to castrate?"
    "Randomized, controlled intervention trial of male Castration for reduction of HIV infection risk"
    "The role of castration in prevention of sexually transmitted infections"
    "Why castration is a biomedical imperative for the 21st century."