Will You Circumcise Your Son?

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circumcisonIf you're having a boy, the question of circumcision (surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis) is going to come up. If you already know what your decision will be because of religious, cultural, or other reasons, then you're set. But if you don't know whether or not to circumcise, how will you decide?

My first child was a boy and we really weren't sure what to do. Moms in Pregnancy are talking about it, too. Here's what a few of them have to say.

Terasasmom is expecting a baby in a couple of months and is on the fence about whether or not to circumcise. Her DH doesn't have a preference, so she asked moms who are expecting a boy if they are planning on circumcising or, if they've already given birth to a son, if they did and were happy with their decision.

Moms were careful to stress that it's a personal choice; here's a compilation of what they had to say in general on the topic:

"I haven't found out the sex yet, but *if* he's a boy, we'll definitely get him circumcised. My SO is and I'm glad. To me, it's the norm."

"My son is not circumcised. He'll be one year old soon and we've had no problems with it."

"If we have a boy, he will not be circumcised. His dad isn't, his brother isn't, and our insurance won't cover it because it's considered cosmetic."

"My son is circumcised and if this baby is a boy, he will be, too. My DH wants it done and it never entered my mind not to."

"My sons are both circumcised -- we had it done by a urologist. DH wanted to do it because he is, and I agreed. My friend has two sons that are not circumcised, though, and she's never had any problems from that choice, either."

Moms agreeing it was a "personal decision" aside, it was a controversial post, with the subjects of what's considered "the norm," cleanliness and infection, is it unnecessary surgery, and causing the baby pain all coming up.

What do you think? To circumcise or not, and why?

3rd trimester, boy or girl, labor & delivery

46 Comments

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Lin27 Lin27

I'm expecting my first baby boy in 2 months and I will definitely not traumatize my baby.  As parents we are supposed to protect our babies.  The American Academy Of Pediatrics doesn't recommend circumcision... my husband and I have done our research and there's nothing that back up the parents who have this done to their babies.  We find it useless.   Circumcision is really cruel...if you are thinking about it, see the videos.  My husband is circumcised, and he disagrees with mutilating our baby.   And I'm sorry but it is BS to have your baby go through this horrible pain just to make him look like his "daddy".   Let your son make his own decision once he's old enough...after all it is his body.     

rachelo rachelo

my husband is. . . so we were going to. we went to get it done (i think if husband had left the choice up to me. . . i'd let him stay un- ) and the doc couldn't because of a slight birth defect called hypospadia. it's where the urethral opening isn't at the tip where it's supposed to be. . . but on the underside. there are severe and mild cases. we luckily have the mild case. . .  my son is 12 months old and we're taking him in april to have an outpatient surgical procedure done to correct it. they'll actually circumsize him there and use the foreskin to help in the repair. so we end up with no choice. i'm just glad we live in a day and age where they can spot and correct this sort of thing when they're babies.
my overall opinion. . . go with whatever dad is. that's probably best.

Chris... Christine_T

I will not. (all links open in new window)


Firstly, most developed countries have never circumcised.   It was only English speaking countries which took up circumcision in the late 1800's.  This was for stupid reasons like curing insanity or epilepsy.  Then it took hold as a way of discouraging masturbation.  Medicine was not very advanced back then! Now we know better.  Those countries that used to do it like Britain, Canada and Australia, have abandoned the practice.  The USA is a little late catching on.  Though it does seem to be declining.   The current rate is about 60% - though it is about 20% on the more enlightened West coast.


More on history of circ:


http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=5&id=70&Itemid=48


The biggest reason not to do it is because it is easier to leave him intact.  An intact baby requires no care.  The foreskin is attached to the glans (head of the penis) at birth (they have to painfully seperate it to circumcise).  It sepera\tes naturally and should never be forced back.  By aged 10, most boy's foreskins are retractable.  Some don't retract until the teenage years though, which is completely normal.  There is no great effort to clean, you just wash under it in the shower - it takes less time than washing under the armpits. 


http://www.cirp.org/library/hygiene/

Chris... Christine_T

Circumcision carries risks.  Here is a list of complications that could occur, some serious, some not serious, some common, some uncommon:

http://www.circumstitions.com/Complic.html

Caring for a circumcised baby is harder than if he is intact.  Firstly, he will be in pain and discomfort.  This could effect your ability to bond with your child.  It could also cause difficulty in breastfeeding.

Then you have to make sure the severed skin does not re-attach.  This can lead to an adhesion, also known as a 'skin-bridge'.  This is not very pretty (penis pictures):

http://www.circumstitions.com/Restric/Botched1sb.html

Chris... Christine_T

Then there is the damage done to the sensitivity and function of the penis.

The penis is supposed to be a double-layered structure.  The foreskin contains thousands of nerves.  In an intact man, these nerves are stimulated as the skin is moved up and down.  You can see a demonstration on this page (penis pic):

http://geocities.com/painfulquestioning/naturalresources


Cirumcised men have difficulty masturbating and often have to use artificial lubrication.  It is also less fun in foreplay as there is not as much to play with.

With a circumcised man, because the foreskin no longer protects the glans (the head of the penis), it dries out.  It also rubs on clothes.  This rubbing causes the skin to become tough and hard.  Both these things further reduce sensitivity.  This page shows the damage done (penis pic):

http://www.noharmm.org/IDcirc.htm

Because the shape and movement of the penis has changed, it will obviously have an effect on sex.  Intercourse is more painful.  The man will have to thrist harder due to the loss in sensitivity.  the vagina will lose moisture too as the foreskin traps the mositure inside.  This page tells you why women enjoy sex more if their partner is intact -  go through the ten reasons (pics of penis and sexual intercourse):

http://www.sexasnatureintendedit.com/10F/doctor_northrup.html

Chris... Christine_T

As for the supposed protective effects.  Well consider this recent headline:

"Sexually transmitted diseases sore says CDC"

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE50C5XV20090113?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0


This is in the USA, a circumcising country.  So it obviously has no big effect at all. 


If you don't wear a conddom you are likely to catch an infectious disease anyway, as the headline above can testify to.  The only way to be sure is to choose your partner - and wear a condom.  Countries that do not circumcise like Britain, Germany and France have lower rates of STD's.


See here for more info:

http://www.circumstitions.com/STDs.html

http://cirp.org/library/disease/

Krystal8 Krystal8

I have one son and the second son on the way. I do believe that circ. is the way to go. I had my first sons done and will not hesitate with the second. My insurance doesn't cover it, but if you have it done while your in the hospital it's usually between 200 and 300 dollars. I know how much kids get teased in school about that sort of thing. It may sound like a shallow reason, but kids are mean these days and I want the locker room to be the least of my childrens worries.

Curllyq Curllyq

We had our first circ'ed because I didn't know any better and basically left it up to my husband and figured "everyone does it, there's no reason not to".  He's done and wanted his son(s) to be like him.  I also believed all those assumptions that it's more hygenic and healthier.  At our hospital, the OB does it, not a pediatrician.  We did ask that he was numbed and my doc said she won't do it otherwise, she doesn't believe they can't feel it.  From the beginning we had trouble.  She didn't take off enough skin which has led to adheasions and constant redness and puffiness.  Most of the adhesions have let go and I'm told that the others may or may not.  If not, I will have to decide if we want them cut or left and if they are left, they could cause him pain later on then have to be cut, or they could aid him in regrowing his foreskin if he wanted to (yes, I guess this is possible!).

Curllyq Curllyq

It wasn't until I met other moms who don't circ and I got pregnant again that I really looked in to it and found that there is no reason to circ and that there is no medical association on earth that recomends it!  Some insurance companies won't even pay for it because it's considered cosmetic.  I wish I had known that.  I also didn't know that 1/3 of sexual pleasure is stolen with that skin:(  I now agree with most non-circ activists and consider it genital mutilation.  It doesn't matter that it's common, it's no different than cutting a clitoris off just because it's common in a tribe.  If there is no reason to do it, and we force it on babies, it's' mutilation.  If my second son decides he doesn't like his non-circ'ed penis later on, he can always have it done, but it takes a lot of time and effort to regrow the foreskin (I will be getting all the info I can in case my first son wants to rectify our mistake).  People claim that it's "cleaner" or "more hygenic" and that they do it "just in case".  That's like taking out every baby's appendix at birth just so it doesn't have to be done later in case they get appendicidis.

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