Let me start out by saying this post is not meant to incite a debate or place judgment on those who see things differently than I do. This is merely an informative post of my own personal reasons for making the choice that we made. That being said…
The moment my husband and I found out we were having a boy, I knew that in the following months before his birth, my husband and I would inevitably have a very heated conversation. You see, I knew before I even conceived my son that if he were a boy I would not want to have him circumcised. My husband, on the other hand, had no such convictions. Among his many reasons why he DID want to have him circumcised were: “Why not?” “I’m circumcised and I’m fine.” “He’ll look weird.”
And while I saw his point, I did not accept those as “reasons” to have our son circumcised. Over the course of several months, I attempted to discuss the issue with hubby but he said he would rather do some research himself and then we could have a discussion when he was ready. I had to settle for that and just pray in the meantime that he and I could come to an agreement about the matter when the time came.
Of course, hubs procrastinated and I was fast approaching my due date and we still hadn’t discussed the issue. Naturally, I pressed the point and we finally sat down and made our decision. In his research, my husband found that he could not find any solid evidence supporting circumcision, so while it still weirded him out not to do it, he agreed that we would refuse when the time came. Needless to say, I was immensely relieved.
Whether or not to circumcise is a huge and very personal decision for each parent. Although everyone’s reasons for or against it are different, here are a few of the reasons why we chose not to circumcise our son:
It’s more than just “extra skin.” The foreskin has far more functionality in the life of a male child than many, if not most, people realize. As a baby, the foreskin keeps a baby’s penis safe, warm, moist and clean. It allows the head of the penis (the glans) to develop normally (the glans is meant to be an internal organ, much like the clitoris in a female, covered and protected from the outside world). Later in life, an intact penis has greater sensitivity and offers the male far more sexual satisfaction because the foreskin has a very high concentration of specialized nerve receptors. Throughout the male child’s life, the foreskin plays a very important role in his health and sexual development.
There are many risks involved. Just check out these statistics:
Out of 100 Circumcised boys:
75 will not readily breastfeed post-op
55 will have adverse reactions from the surgery
35 will have post-op hemorrhaging to one degree or another
31 will develop meatal ulcers
10 will need to have the circumcision surgery repeated to fix prior surgical problems/error
8 will suffer infection at the surgical site
3 will develop post-operative phimosis
2 will have a more serious complication (seizure, heart attack, stroke, loss of penis, death)
1 will require additional immediate surgery and sutures to stop hemorrhage
1 will develop fibrosis
1 will develop phimosis
1 will be treated with antibiotics for a UTI (urinary tract infection)
1 will be treated with antibiotics for surgical site infection
Of those who do receive pain medication for the surgery (about 4% of those boys undergoing circumcision in the U.S.) some will have adverse reactions to the pain medication injected
Now compare that to these statistics for intact boys:
Out of 100 Intact boys:
1 will be treated with antibiotics for a UTI (fewer if the foreskin is never forcibly retracted)
1 will be told to get cut later in life for one reason or another (fewer if the foreskin is never forcibly retracted)
There are no health benefits. I found it shocking when I started doing research that no national medical organization recommends circumcision, and many nations speak out against infant circumcision. I was even more shocked and disturbed to discover that there never was a medical reason for circumcision when it began to be common place in the U.S. In fact, the reason why circumcision began was to try to stop young boys and men from masturbating and curb “promiscuous” behavior in men. Um…yikes? Moreover, circumcision does not prevent AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.
Circumcision is very painful and no pain medication is administered. Babies feel pain just like we do. In fact, it could be argued that they are more sensitive to pain because they are fresh out of the womb where they experienced little, if any, pain for the entirety of their existence. Further, babies cannot be given anesthesia or strong pain medication when they are that small. Thus, circumcisions are done while the baby is awake and completely aware of the full extent of the pain of being cut. There are videos out there if you really want to see or hear it. I did and I will never forget it.
These are just a few of the reasons we decided to forego circumcision on our son. There are many, many more reasons that you can read about here and here if you want to investigate further. As I said in the beginning, this choice is such a personal and difficult decision for all parents, but the more you know about a subject, I believe, the better able you are to make a solid, informed choice.