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I Don’t Want To Circumcise My Son But My Family Strongly Disagrees

On the Mamas Uncut Facebook page, a woman who recently had a baby boy asked about one of the most controversial topics surrounding male babies: Circumcision. “I don’t want to circumcise my son,” she wrote. “All my friends and family are telling me I’m making a big mistake.” (1) This led to other users weighing in on the debate: Is it right or wrong to circumcise our baby boys?

“I Don’t Want to Circumcise My Son”

The woman asking the question was legitimately concerned. She didn’t want to circumcise her son because she felt it was unnecessary and cruel. Her family and friends, however, disagreed with her. They began telling her all of the reasons why she should have the procedure done. Confused as to whether or not she is doing what’s best for her son, she asked the Mamas Uncut community for their opinion. (1)

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Some Users Agree

Some users were on her side. Many of them stated that it was unnecessary to put her newborn baby boy through that when she could just teach him proper hygiene. 

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“I’m from the UK; the only reason people do it here are for medical reasons or religious reasons. I have a son, I could never ever put my son through something like this for pointless reasons. I have never known any man to have any problems with hygiene or anything, and I don’t know anyone who has been circumcised; it’s mutilation, and it’s wrong…” said one user. (1)

Another agreed:

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“Mom of 3 boys. I don’t see the reasoning for augmenting/mutilating their tiny bodies. And putting a child through a totally unnecessary surgery. Besides, all surgeries have risks and don’t always go correctly… infections and even having to redo it later because it ‘grew back’” (1)

Others Were Pro-Circumcision

That being said, there were plenty of people who were pro-circumcision.

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“My daughter is a CNA, and all the older men keep getting infections because they can no longer properly clean themselves, and by the time the CNA catches it, it’s too late an infection,” wrote one user. “It’s very painful for them. As a young man, their hygiene is not always a number 1 priority which gives his partner a nasty STD or vaginosis. I just had my boy 2 weeks ago, and he got circumcised its been a week, and he’s already healed from it. Yes, it’s traumatizing, but it’s better for him in the long run.” (1)

It’s Your Decision

For many, however, the general stance that it was her decision as to the child’s mom and no one else’s.

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“We chose to circumcise our son. I worked in the children’s hospital & saw too often older boys coming in to get a circumcision done & it was more painful & caused more infections because kids don’t properly clean themselves. If you are confident that you can keep him clean & teach him how to properly clean himself, then don’t circumcise him…” said one commenter. (1)

“It’s up to you, momma. I like my boys being circumcised, but I know plenty of people who don’t and didn’t have their boys done. You do you, momma. No one’s choice or opinion but yours matters.” said another mom. (1)

The Pros and Cons Of Circumcision

Circumcision is common in the United States, parts of Africa, and the Middle East. It is less common in Europe and some other countries. Generally, it is done for either religious or personal reasons. Circumcision is a part of both Judaism and Islam. (2)

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Whether or not there is a benefit to circumcision is debated. Based on current evidence, The American Urological Association (AUA), The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Canadian Pediatric Society state that circumcision is not recommended as a routine procedure for all newborn males. However, if the procedure is conducted, the benefits outweigh the risks, which is why access to the producer is available to families who choose it. When elective circumcision is performed on healthy babies, the risk of complication is extremely low. (3, 4) Naturally, however, there are plenty of parents who are squeamish about putting their brand new baby through such a procedure.

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Benefits of Circumcision

Many pediatricians and urologists point out that the easiest time in a person’s life to be circumcised is as a newborn. They heal within seven to 10 days, and it is easy to mitigate the discomfort that they may feel post-procedure. (5)

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If you wait until the boy is older, even just a couple of years, this becomes much more difficult, and the recovery time impedes upon their life more. According to urologists, there are also plenty of benefits, including:

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  • Decreased risk of urinary tract infections (UTI) in infancy and in elder years (6)
  • Likely less risk of developing penile cancer (7)
  • Lowered risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including female-to-male HIV (8, 9)
  • Decreased risk of cervical cancer and other infections in their future female partner(s) (10)
  • Prevents specific infections and inflammations of the penis (more details below) (11)
  • Easier to maintain proper genital hygiene

Potential Infections

The infections referred to above are infections that can occur in uncircumcised babies, older children, and adults. They are typically the result of improper genital hygiene, though many urologists point out that these infections develop easier than you may think. These include (11):

  • Balanitis: Swelling of the foreskin
  • Balanoposthitis: Inflammation of the tip and foreskin of the penis
  • Paraphimosis: Inability to return a retracted foreskin to its original position
  • Phimosis: Inability to retract the foreskin

All of these conditions are a result of bacterial build-up under the foreskin, which of course, doesn’t happen if the foreskin is not present. This does not mean, however, that circumcision is an excuse for relaxed genital hygiene. 

Cons of Circumcision

Circumcision has been practiced for thousands of years and is a very low-risk surgery. That being said, it is not entirely risk-free. These include (12):

  • May cause pain
  • Has few immediate health benefits
  • Rare complications:
    • Cutting the foreskin too long or short
    • Poor healing
    • Bleeding
    • Infection

Fears About Circumcision

There are many people, as well, who view circumcision as child genital mutilation. (12) There are also many fears surrounding circumcision, such as:

  • Its effect on fertility
  • Making the penis appear smaller
  • Impairing sexual function

Research has proven all of these to be incorrect. Male fertility comes from the sperm in the testes. While the foreskin can make the penis appear bulkier when flaccid, when erect the foreskin retracts almost entirely, so there is no difference in size. (13)

Lastly, the removal of the foreskin does not affect the penis’ ability to “perform.” In many instances, men report higher sexual satisfaction due to increased sensitivity of the head (glans) of the penis. (14) However, whether or not circumcision decreases sensitivity in the glans is not clear cut, and further research is warranted (15).

While there is some risk for complications from the procedure, these risks are extremely rare. In most of the reported instances, unqualified persons performed the procedure, not doctors in a medical setting. (16)

So, Should You Circumcise Your Baby Boys?

After all that, the answer is that it is still up to you. You can forgo the procedure and ensure you teach your son how to properly clean his penis to reduce the risk of complications later on. You can also have your son circumcised to mitigate these risks, while still being sure to educate him on proper genital hygiene. 

Before you make the decision, speak with both your pediatrician and a urologist to determine what’s best for your baby. Finally, it is your decision. Don’t allow anyone else but yourself and co-parent (if you have one) to make it for you. 

Educate yourself first. If you want to go ahead with the procedure, go for it. If you don’t want to circumcise your son, then don’t. Ultimately, this is an elective procedure, and the decision to pursue is done by the parent.

Keep Reading: A therapist shares the 7 biggest parenting mistakes that destroy kids’ mental strength

Sources

  1. My Family Wants Me to Circumcise My Son, But I Don’t Want To: Advice?Mamas Uncut. January 27, 2021.
  2. “Neonatal and child male circumcision: a global review.” WHO.
  3. Circumcision Policy Statement.” Pediatrics.
  4. Circumcision.” Auanet.
  5. Follow-up and recovery.” Health Line. Brian Kras. September 17, 2018.
  6. Circumcision and lifetime risk of urinary tract infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Pub Med. Brian J. Morris, et al. June 2013.
  7. Penile cancer: importance of circumcision, human papillomavirus and smoking in in situ and invasive disease.” Pub Med. Janet R Daling, et al. September 2005.
  8. Male circumcision for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition: a meta-analysis.” Pub Med. Sanjeev C Sharma, et al. April 2018.
  9. Information for providers counseling male patients and parents regarding male circumcision and the prevention of HIV infection, STIs, and other health outcomes.” Stacks.
  10. Effect of male circumcision on risk of sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer in women.” The Lancet. Brian J Morris, Catherine A Hankins. November, 2017.
  11. Penile Inflammatory Skin Disorders and the Preventive Role of Circumcision.” NCBI. Brian J. Morris, John N. Krieger. May 2017.
  12. Pros and cons of circumcision.” Health Line. Brian Krans.September 17, 2018.
  13. The bottom line.” Health Line. Tim Jewell. May 20, 2019.
  14. Does sexual function survey in Denmark offer any support for male circumcision having an adverse effect?NCBI. Brian J. Morris, et al. February 2012.
  15. “Circumcision and Sexual Function: Bad Science Reporting Misleads Parents” Blog: Journal of Medical Ethics – BMJ.  Brian D. Earp. April 22nd, 2016
  16. Rarely seen complications of circumcision, and their management.” NCBI. Bilsev İnce, et al. March 2016.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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