Friday, January 10, 2014

Are you going to or did you already circumcise your baby boy?

Like many parenting and health topics, circumcision is a very personal decision. Once it is done it will affect your boy for the rest of his life.

Kenyan boy taking part in is circumcision ceremony.
image: BBC

This is a non-judgemental page.

Researching circumcision is entertaining! It is traditionally a religious or cultural decision where the historical reasoning is conflicting. Some circumcised to increase sexual pleasure (now known as a myth) while others circumcised to decrease sexual pleasure and decrease masturbation.

The world is very polarized on this topic. Even within Kenya where I witnessed the circumcision ceremony of teenaged boys, the decision is tribal. Some tribes do it and some don't. In the United States, the rate of circumcision changes based on where you live. The west coast has low instances while the east coast has high instances of circumcision. My town is very divided. Most of the moms that I know chose not to circumcise but I know that there are many others that did.

Of the many moms that I know, I have met several with sons who have had botched circumcisions requiring pain and follow-up surgery months later. Some of these moms even told me that they didn't know that circumcision was optional at the hospital. 

How common is circumcision?
"The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that globally 30% of males aged 15 and over are circumcised, with almost 70% of these being Muslim. 
Male circumcision is most prevalent in the Muslim world (near-universal), parts of Southeast Asia and of Africa, the United States, the Philippines, Israel, and South Korea. In contrast, it is rare in Europe, parts of Southern Africa, and most of Asia and Oceania. In Latin America, prevalence is universally low. The WHO states that "there is generally little non-religious circumcision in Asia, with the exceptions of the Republic of Korea and the Philippines". Estimates for individual countries include less than 2% in Spain, Colombia and Denmark; between 0% and 7% in Finland; 3% in Cambodia; 7% in Brazil; 9% in Taiwan; and 13% in Australia....Citing three different data sources, most recent rates for the U.S. were 56.9% in 2008 (NHDS), 56.3% in 2008 (NIS), and 54.7% in 2010 (CDM)."  []
Why circumcise?
The reasons I found are for religious reasons, or to "look like dad".

Why skip circumcision?
It is medically known that the foreskin is a nerve and that removing it decreases sexual pleasure. Despite conflicting claims Dr. Sears points out how there is no medical evidence of circumcision being helpful. The foreskin acts as a protective barrier like our eyelid. There are also the ethical questions of doing such a procedure without the child's consent.

History of Male Circumcision:

Myth vs. Fact:

What was your #1 reason to circumcise or not circumcise?


  1. I am so happy to see this topic. I am currently pregnant and doing a natural pregnancy/birth. The topic of circumcision came up recently and my husband and I both agree we don't want to circumcise our baby if it's a boy. I got a lot of grief from my family about this. Thanks for some solid facts and a good article to show our side :)

    1. Hi Molly, congrats on your pregnancy. I am sorry to hear that your family was giving you grief about your educated decision. It is great to share and to learn.

  2. After months of research we decided to circumcise our son. My husband had several reasons for wanting to do it but I chose to for medical reasons. There is less than 1% of complications when circumcising a baby and these cases can be easily rectified by the circumcision doctor. But if a child is not circumcised there is up to a 6% chance that the penis will be infected later on in life at which point the adult male will have to get an emergency circumcision, a very costly and painful procedure when done later on in life. When our son was circumcised he was still a baby so it was a simple procedure and because the area was numbed, basically pain free. He had no discomfort on the days following the circumcision.