To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise? What You Need to Know

circumcision toolsOne decision every mom has to make when she has a baby boy is whether or not to circumcise. It's a touchy subject (literally) and a very personal decision. In the 1970s and '80s, about 79 percent of baby boys were circumcised, but the trend in recent years has been to keep baby boys' foreskins "intact." According to the CDC, the circumcision rate in the U.S. in 2010 was down to about 55 percent. And Doctors Opposing Circumcision estimates that world-wide, 85 percent of men haven't been circumcised.

While some moms know right away what they'll do, others struggle with the circumcision decision. Below are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to circumcise your son. Determine which ones are most important to you and that should help you make a choice.

Good luck!

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Rebecca Gause Adams

My husband and I went round and round about this for months (I said yes, he said no). He finally caved, and I thought "I WON!" That is until our son was born and had complications and spent 5 days in NICU having needles and tubes stuck in him, surrounded by babies that were in so much worse condition than him. At the end of it all, when they were ready to circumcise him, I snatched him away and said "Don't you touch another hair on his head!! I have had to HOLD HIM DOWN while you jabbed needles into him, and now you want to cut pieces off?? NO MORE." Point being: it took a NICU stay to make me realize that circumcision is such a petty argument...there is so much that can go wrong. I'm just happy and lucky to have a healthy boy.

Angie... AngieHayes

No circumcision here, and I am happy that we decided not too, it is a big decision to make, and not one for me to make.

nonmember avatar Shannon

And here come the crazies who will start comparing it to female gential mutilation. Obviously, they have no idea what either procedure entails...

nonmember avatar Jack

This was not a decision for us. We never thought about cutting his tissue off and shutting down a part of his sensory system. It is his genitals not ours.

Parents are getting the word, that this practice is very harmful to the man the baby will become. People are becoming aware that the parts that are cut off contain over 3 feet of arteries, veins and capillaries and thousands of nerve endings (well above 10,000). On the other side the benefits are so clearly contrived. The benefits are bogus.

Americans are getting the word that the parts that are cut off are some of the most highly innervated parts of the human. To take this away from another person without their consent is heinous. To do this to a newborn baby is creepy and violates the child's right to experience all of HIS body.

nonmember avatar leslie

Seriously- the health benefits are over-rated. They say 15% reduction in penile cancer or a reduction in the risk of acquiring hiv or stds- however, what it comes down to is that there is more surface area for acquring diseases, the same way that a woman has more chances of acquiring STDS then a man- more surface area. Who are we to cut off part of a boys penis- really? It's pretty messed up when you think of it. Should we cut off other parts of our body because they would reduce our risk of diseases- in that case, let's remove ovaries, let's remove breasts, etc- removing those reduces risks of diseases. And, as for cleaning, UTI's etc. I have 4 uncirc-ed nephews (10, 9, 8, 5) and one 2 year old uncirc-ed son and none of them have ever had a UTI. Sure, you might have a higher risk but is that a reason to reduce sensation and my son's future sex life, or to risk damaging his penis- 1-3% is nothing to sneeze at. If you look at labor for comparison- they do way more blanket antibiotics for a risk of 0.005% and yet, we want to do a voluntary procedure that has a 1-3% botch rate. It does not make sense.

sassy... sassykat122

If its wrong to cut off or alter a childs body without their consent and male circumcision is purely ornamental then why is it okay to pierce a childs ears? Same concept then, it is purely ornamental, causes pain to the child, alters the childs body. I don't have a problem either way

nonmember avatar LA

Shannon--on the contrary, those who know the most about female genital mutilation--including mutilated women themselves--are often the strongest opponents of male circumcision. Need evidence? Look up Soraya Mire. Your comment would offend this Somali victim of FGM and articulate opponent of both male and female cutting. Educate yourself, please.

I hope, at least within a generation or two, American parents will view circumcision in the same way as do parents in Europe and East Asia (you know, the most civilized, healthiest parts of the world where no one is circumcised) and less like parents in the Middle East and African tribal communities (you know, the most barbaric parts of the world with the lowest life expectancies where most men and many women are circumcised).

anono... anonomyssy

Just to share, when pregnant with my oldest son I saw a video of female circumcision being done in Africa, and thought, how could I do something similar to my son.  Who is now grown.  When he was old enough to understand I explained why his penis was different, and that any time he wanted, if he chose, I would take him to the doc to have it cut, if he decided....he looked at me in horror!  I simply explained that there is extra skin that some people cut off and since he was so little and perfect I didnt' want to change him.

Now that he's an adult, I've asked some questions...apparently when he is erect the foreskin retracts, so you can't see any difference between circumcised and un.  He's never had a hard time finding girlfriends.

I really think it's a barbaric act.  And if a man chooses to do so, like any other body modification, piercings, tatoo, etc...he can go have it done at any time as an adult.  I've also heard scar tissue can shorten the length of the penis...another sad thing.

anono... anonomyssy

BTW I have to disagree with reason 1 to do it...Prostate cancer is at an all time high...and the men who are in their 50's now, are probably the most circumcised generation ever.  My mother told me when my older brothers were done, they didn't even ask consent...just did it and gave her the bill!  (men that would be in their 60's now)

ilove... ilovemy4kiddies

Both my sons are intact! One is 25 and the other 17! Neither have ever ever had any problems. I think its barbaric!
Also I'm pretty sure that piercing ears and circumcision don't even compare! Earrings you can remove and the holes repair themselves if the child decides she doesn't want earrings when she's older! Unfortunately boys can't grow back foreskin. 

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