January 21, 2015

To Circumcise or not to Circumcise?

Photo: Marie Diaz on Pixoto.

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Whether or not to circumcise a baby boy is today’s question.

My husband and I recently found out that we’re having a baby boy. Since then, we have spent the majority of our time immersed in the topic of circumcision.

A couple nights ago, I casually brought it up to my husband. He laughed and said confidently, “Why wouldn’t we circumcise our baby? It’s more hygienic and it’s just a quick, little snip.”

I honestly didn’t know much about it, so I started reading some articles and sharing them with my husband. We searched YouTube together for videos on the subject.

Through our research, we discovered that the vast majority of the global population does not circumcise their male infants and that almost 50% of boys in the US are now left uncircumcised. With the way things are trending, by the time my son is in a locker room with other boys, likely six out of 10 boys will be intact.

There seems to be a strong belief among women that chose to circumcise their sons that the risk of infection is higher in uncircumcised boys. There have been a few small, unreliable studies that have tried to prove this as truth, but so far no studies worth citing.

Circumcision does not protect a man from infection and with proper education on how to care for and clean an intact penis, the risk of infection in uncircumcised men is greatly reduced. Even the flawed studies show a lower UTI rate in intact boys than in girls.

I’ve also seen a lot of people falsely link intact penises to penile cancer. The American Cancer Society makes no recommendation for circumcision in regards to penile cancer. They stated that more men die from circumcision than die from penile cancer due to remaining uncircumcised.

And from an ethical standpoint, cutting off the foreskin removes a man’s erogenous zone from his penis. The tradition of circumcision began with the intent to quell masturbation. In some ways, this seems no different from female genital mutilation, which is illegal and considered horrific in the United States.

I eventually posed my title question to a mom’s group I belong to on Facebook and was surprised to watch over 80 women chime in and express how strongly they oppose circumcision.

The founder of the group offered the most helpful and informative video that my husband and I have watched so far. If you are interested in expanding your education on this subject, please take the time to watch this 30 minute video:

And if you’re looking for a less scientific and significantly shorter video (two minutes!) that might appeal to opinionated grandparents, watch this:

My husband and I are grateful to have the luxury of taking our time to make this extremely important decision.

Though, since we don’t have any religious beliefs that require circumcision and since circumcision is primarily a cosmetic surgery, I can’t help but feel that this is not our choice to make.

I have faith that if we decide to leave our son uncircumcised, my strong, intelligent, circumcised husband will have no trouble honestly explaining why he felt it was important to let his son make his own decisions about his body.


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Author: Megan Ridge Morris 

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: Marie Diaz on Pixoto, flickr

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