Circumcision Pros and Cons

To Circumcise or not?

Like so many questions facing parents of a newborn baby, the decision whether to circumcise requires some careful thought and weighing the pros and cons of the procedure and then making a decision that you feel good about. It is not easy decision for sure, but definitely an important one that will affect your baby into adulthood and for the rest of his life, no matter which way you decide. One of the most common arguments I hear for deciding to circumcise is that the father of the baby is circumcised and the mother /father wants the son and father to both look the same. I also hear that it is just plain easier to clean and that there is less infection with circumcision. Let's think about these important points and feel free to click below for more information on the subject.

History of circumcision

As you may have heard, circumcision, the cutting of adhesions and retraction of the foreskin covering the glans of the penis has been done for centuries in many different cultures and religious traditions: from Ancient Egypt to mark the passage from childhood to adulthood, in the Bible in Genesis God told Abraham to circumcise himself, Ouch!, as well as all of his household and slaves as an everlasting covenant , in Africa as a rite of passage from a man into a warrior; in Judaism as a testament of faith. Interestingly, until 1870 or so circumcision was fading out of style and not many people thought it necessary anymore. From 1870-1910 there was a trend to prevent boys from masturbating and therefore circumcision since it produced long lasting pain and punishment in this area and was thought a good way to stop it. In the early 1900's one of the leading advocates of circumcision was John Harvey Kellogg, of Kelloggs Corn Flakes. He encouraged boys to eat Kelloggs corn flakes to prevent masturbation and also thought circumcision was helpful with this too.

The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not endorse circumcision as a routine procedure for newborn male infants and wish for health care providers to help parents to understand the potential risks and benefits of the procedure.

The potential benefits:
May protect against penile cancer later in life, prevents inability to retract foreskin by cutting it away, may decrease urinary tract infections later, may decrease sexually transmitted diseases later, may lower cervical cancer in sexual partners later, easier to clean however when child is mature foreskin can be retracted and cleaned easily if not circumcised.

Potential harms:
Meatitis or inflammation of opening of penis from procedure, painful and traumatic procedure can make baby irritable and interfere with bonding, 38% rate of complications including hemorrhage, infection, surgical injury and death rarely, the evidence for reduction in sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections is weak and has been disputed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, interferes with function of foreskin which is to protect the glans penis and heighten sexual pleasure and sensitivity.