When I was thinking about how to start out a “should you circumcise” article, the mental image of a wheat field came to mind. In my vision, I’m standing in the middle…with a massive flame thrower.
That’s what this topic feels like. Like I’m about to ignite a 40-mile-radius wheat field with liquid petrol.
Should You Circumcise? Let Me Help You Think it Through
I may be standing in the middle of the infernal and explosive topic of “should you circumcise,” but I am completely unafraid.
I have a fireproof suit.
It’s called daughters. Three of them. I can safely stand in the middle of this firestorm because I have never had to actually make the circumcision decision.
I’m 100% neutral. I can blandly state the arguments because I will never have to commit to a side. In other words, I’ve got no skin in the game. (Ha!Pun totally intended.)
I’m going to state the sides, and then sit back and let you ponder out your own convictions. But before I flip the “on” switch, we need to get a few things firmly in mind.
Step One: How Do You Feel about Doctors?
Do you tend to agree with and rely on traditional medicine? Or prefer to look at homeopathic paths instead?
This is important to think about because knowing your own personal natural bent will help you sort through the information ahead.
Like most medical topics, it often comes down to “whom do you trust.” Knowing ahead of time which direction you lean can help you wade through the arguments.
Step Two: What Role Will Your Emotions Play?
Do you want to make this decision solely based on research and data from both side’s arguments? Or is this more of an emotional decision?
Decide now, together as a couple, where on the emotional spectrum you want to be as you make this decision. If you are on opposite sides, try to find an emotional middle ground, being willing to listen and respect each other on that line.
Step Three: Who is Making the Decision?
Is Mom going to step aside and let Dad make the decision (or vice versa)? Or are you going to decide together?
Circumcision should not be something that breaks a marriage apart. Does one parent feel more strongly about this than the other? Allow that parent to guide the decision.
If you’re both passionate about it (on different sides), commit to working through the decision together, laying aside emotional trigger words and accusations until you can reach consensus. Be careful to look beyond the front arguments and find the heart of why your spouse feels the way they do.
Did they have a bad experience related to this subject? Do they feel this is a moral question? Seek to understand each other, and not just to be understood.
Should You Circumcise?
People Who Decided YES!
Medical Experts Who Lean Towards Yes
- American Academy of Pediatrics ~ They encourage hospitals to provide it and for insurance companies to cover it, but think the decision should be up to the parents.
- Center for Disease Control
- American College of Obstetricians & Gynocologists
Why Other Parents May Choose Circumcision
- “There is a drop in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life by up to 90 percent,” ~ Dr. Susan Blank, AAP
- “It drops the risk of heterosexual HIV acquisition by about 60 percent. It also reduces the chances that men will spread HPV to their wives and girlfriends, protecting them from getting cervical cancer.”” ~ Dr. Susan Blank, AAP
- For religious reasons. (Muslims and Jews both have circumcision requirements.)
- Fear of the child being mocked later in life, for looking different than the rest of the locker room. (This could also be a reason against circumcision, based on where you live.)
- Desire for baby to grow up looking like Dad. (Also a reason against, if Dad is uncircumcised.)
Three Families Who Decided to Circumcise
If you do decide to circumcise your son, this article on Medic 8 can help. It suggests different questions you can ask your clinic and doctor to make sure they are qualified. (After all, a botched circumcision is not something you want to deal with!)
Should You Circumcise?
People Who Decided NO!
Medical Experts Who Lean Towards No
Main Arguments Against Circumcision
- “The penis — like the vagina — is self-cleaning. The penis is bathed daily with sterile urine, which often balloons around the intact foreskin. The foreskin retracts when it’s time,” ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup (on why she believes removing the foreskin isn’t necessary for good hygiene)
- Fear of risk involved with surgery.
- Parents are concerned about the pain baby will feel. (Many doctors now use local anesthetics, but it’s worth asking about.)
- Fear that circumcision will make the tip of the penis less sensitive, causing a decrease in sexual pleasure later in life.
Three Families Who Chose NOT to Circumcise
Should You Circumcise?
It’s Your Turn
Like I said above, I don’t have a son. My helpfulness in the “should you circumcise” question can only go so far.
That’s where my awesome readers come in. Those of you with sons, I’m counting on you to fill in the gaps. Add your comment below and share how you came to your circumcision decision!
Let’s keep this dialog going, helping other parents who are trying to wade through this firestorm without triggering an inferno!
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Besides the citations already linked in the article above, here are a few other resources I used in writing this article. You may find them helpful!
- NPR: “Pediatricians Decide Boys are Better Off Circumcised Than Not“
- Healthy Children: “Circumcision”
- Babble: “4 Reasons the Circumcision Rate Has Dropped Over 30 Years”
- Kid’s Health: “Circumcision”
- American Academy of Pediatrics: “Newborn Male Circumcision”
- The Huffington Post: “The Circumcision Controversy: The Risks and Benefits of Circumcision for Babies”
- WebMD: “CDC Endorses Circumcision for Health Reasons”
Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.