To Circumcise Or Not To Circumcise

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If you’re about to have a baby, no doubt the subject of circumcision for a boy baby has entered your mind. Circumcision is a personal choice – but, of course, it’s one that you’re making for another person- so you tend to feel a fair amount of pressure to make a good decision. Here are some things to think about that might make your choice easier.

In the US, the majority of boys are circumcised, though the numbers are declining somewhat. In other parts of the world, most non-Jewish boys are not circumcised. The difference seems to be almost entirely cultural. There is really no right or wrong answer here, but I think one good guideline is “like father, like son”. The father is most likely the person who will teach the boy how to handle his personal hygiene in this area, so taking Dad’s personal situation into account might be a good way to make the decision. My husband is circumcised, as is our oldest son, but our younger son is not. He was not circumcised when we adopted him at ten months, and we chose not to add the trauma of circumcision to his life, considering all the other adjustments he had at the time. My husband had to do some research on the subject to feel prepared to teach our son the proper care of an uncircumcised penis. Our son is six, and at this point, has never asked about the difference between his penis and his older brother’s and Dad’s.

One thing to consider about circumcision – it is a decision you need to make early on. Part of the reason we chose not to have our younger son circumcised was the fact that, at ten months old, it would have been much more physically painful than if he had been circumcised as a newborn. I’m sure it’s no walk in the park at any age, but do realize that if you don’t have your son circumcised right away, it might not be wise to change your mind a few months down the road.

A final note about circumcision- not all penises are the same. Some boys have much more foreskin than others. If your son has only a small amount of foreskin, your doctor may refer to this as a “natural circumcision”, and recommend that you not have a circumcision performed, unless it is for religious reasons. This means that your son’s foreskin is not likely to cause hygiene issues, nor will it be prone to infection, as are some uncircumcised penises.

It’s wise to talk to your doctor before you make a decision about circumcision. It’s a decision that you need to feel good about, and worth the time it takes to sort out the facts.

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