Circumcising Your Son: Why Timing Is Everything

baby feetStill don't know if you want to circumcise your son? Better decide fast! A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics says complications with circumcisions are very low in infant boys, but increase greatly after their first birthday! 

Researchers found that less than .5 percent of boys had complications with their circumcisions when it was performed within their first year. Good news, right? But get this -- the risk was 20 times greater when the procedure was done after they turned 1.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 55 percent of boys in the U.S. are circumcised, but the decision to snip or not to snip is relevant to all parents of baby boys. It's one of the first decisions they must make after their little one's birth. And this new study shows us that the choice must be made sooner, rather than later.

More from The Stir: The Circumcision Decision: 24 Parents on How They Made the Choice

The lead study of the author, suspects that the reason why chances of risk increase as boys get older is because the recovery time and caring after the procedure becomes more complicated.

Making the circumcision decision brings along plenty of debates, especially among parents-to-be. There are plenty of pro and con arguments to sift through and dozens of risks and benefits to weigh, but it ultimately rests with mom and dad. But it is important to note that coming to a conclusion is best done as soon as possible.

The longer parents wait to decide, the higher the risks if you do snip. So moms and dads, whether you're "pro-intact" or "pro-snip," it's best to decide soon.

Did you choose to circumcise your son? If so, how soon after his birth?


Image via Nate Smith/Flickr

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nonmember avatar H'smom

Or maybe it's because people doing it later are doing it to correct an existing or developed problem, thus making it a more complicated procedure? I think most people who don't do it at birth don't *plan* to ever do it.

nonmember avatar H'smom

Moreover, this study looked at only 41 cases, and included correcting botched infant circumcisions in its tally for adverse outcomes in older children. So you know, there's that.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

I sooooooo came here for the comments! *gets popcorn*

craft... craftycatVT

Was going to say what H'smom said.

nonmember avatar Steven

I'm circumcised but I will not be circumcising any future sons. It should be a personal choice when a person is old enough to decide for themselves.

loves... lovesouldoula

Woohooooo go Steven!!! You are an amazing father and I applaud you for acknowledging your future sons body autonomy!! As a mom of one circ'd son and two intact, i know that had I had all the facts and been more sure of myself my one son would still have his foreskin.

ABCMo... ABCMomma0211

If i ever have a son he will be intact.



And i dont buy this shit for a second

Gary Harryman

Since circumcision destroys all of the mobile part and all of The Ridged Band - the most sensitive organ on a man's body - the complication rate is 100%; and it leaves the victim subnormal for life.  Just like slavery and rape, forced circumcision is a violation of human rights.

nonmember avatar Petrina

The complication rate for NOT having a child undergo a medically unnecessary circumcision is ZERO percent, lower than the complication rate for subjecting a child to a medically unnecessary circumcision.



Complications and deaths from circumcision are numerous and tragic. To see a long and growing list of circumcision tragedies, updated in the comments section, go to: http://wisewomanwayofbirth.com/circumcision-dirty-little-secrets-exposed/



Mark Lyndon

Studies like this never seem to include meatal stenosis (seen almost exclusively in males circumcised shortly after birth) as a complication, or possible sexual difficulties later in life, or just the fact that some men won't be happy about having irreversible genital surgery performed on them before they were old enough to decide for themselves.


Given the figures they're talking about it, looks like they didn't include revisions or lyses of penile adhesions (both involving a second procedure) as "adverse events" either (eg pubmed 23820002).  Why not?


and they won't have looked at the correlation between circumcision and autism (pubmed 23656698)


It's also worth noting that only around 10% of the world's circumcised men were circumcised as infants, and that in countries where neonatal circumcision is rare, medically-required circumcision later in life is also very rare - less than 1% in some countries.


I doubt they've accounted for the fact that children circumcised later in life may have been too sick to be circumcised earlier, and they don't seem to have distinguished between "adverse events".  There are lots of cases of babies dying after circumcision, but I've never heard of an adult dying after clinical circumcision.

Look at it a different way.  If a bunch of doctors found that cutting parts off a girl down there had fewer complications in the first year of life, female genital cutting still wouldn't be right.

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