Baby Circumcision Debate: Parents Weigh In

Earlier this week I posted a video about baby circumcision and shared my own experience with deciding to circumcise my three boys. The post generated a lot of talk in our CloudMom community and the comments really got me thinking about the circumcision question in a new light, so I wanted to share some of the responses here.

Circumcision pros and consPin for later!

A few moms echoed two sentiments that were part of our decision to circumcise: a belief that it’s healthier and easier to clean and a desire for their boys to look like their husbands.

“Although we don’t have boys (yet), my husband and I have discussed the topic and came to an agreement,” Amanda wrote. “We will circumcise our boys mainly because my husband is! It’s also more sanitary and easier to clean. Hopefully we’ll have a boy someday!”

“Much healthier and I wanted my boys to look like my husband,” wrote Lisa.

Intactivists Explain Decision Not to Circumcise

The rate of circumcision has fallen in the U.S. from 90 percent in 1970 to 55 percent today, and many commenters also shared their reasons for keeping their boys uncircumcised or “intact.”

“No way would I get it done for my boys,” wrote Stephanie.  “They can have it done later in adulthood if their foreskin is a problem.”

“My husband is uncircumcised,” wrote Mrs. Coney. “He wonders what it would be like to be ‘cut,’ but I’m glad he isn’t. He’s NEVER had an infection down there. …If you properly care for a natural penis, you won’t have problems. I actually left the decision to cut up to my husband. We’re expecting our first son in April. As a male, my hubby can far better understand this issue than I can.”

One viewer from New Zealand with the screen name “alnot” posted a lengthy comment about his reasons for being an “intactivist” who opposes routine infant circumcision (RIC).

He said he is uncircumcised and expressed concern about “ineffective anesthesia” causing pain for the infant, and shared his belief that “Circumcision is a material alteration of the most sexual part of the male body. …There is ample anecdotal evidence that RIC can have adverse sexual consequences, for one of both of an adult man and his spouse.”

He also cited low circumcision rates in other countries including New Zealand, Australia, Canada and across Europe, adding “There is no evidence in any of these countries that the natural penis is prone to medical problems.”

“Most parents will base their decision on perceived cosmetic conformity, and on sexual urban myths,” he wrote. “Circumcision is not healthier if boys and men bathe daily, and abstain from grossly irresponsible sexual acts. The way forward is to add condoms, not subtract foreskins.”

“We intactivists are not against circumcision freely chosen by an informed adult, for reasons religious, medical or sexual. We are against circumcision imposed on a child by his parents, and performed by a medical profession that is insufficiently informed and reflective, and that fails to employ adequate pain management.”

“I had my first son circumcised without much thought put into it,” wrote Marlene, a mother and grandmother.  “Then when I was in nursing school, I saw circumcisions; like you said, it was horrendous! So, since then, I have done much soul and internet searching. …There is no way I could do that to another son, now that I was fully informed of both sides. I did have two more sons. We left them intact. When they were old enough to ask why they looked different from their big brother, I told them as simply and straightforward as I could.”

I don’t plan on having any more babies, but these comments really gave me a lot to think about! So what about you? Circumcision – yes or no?

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