parenting

Should you circumcise your newborn?

Should you? Shouldn't you? Here's what you need to know.

Should you circumcise your newborn?

Should you? Shouldn't you? Here's what you need to know.
  • What once used to be a common practice in America has become quite the hot topic. In 2010, 53 percent of newborn baby boys were circumcised, (a 10 percent decline from 1979) but a not-so-scientific Buzzfeed poll of over 400,000 people discovered that 71 percent of those who took the poll do not think it is appropriate to circumcise a newborn. Those votes came with lots of heated debate.

  • So should you circumcise your precious newborn baby boy? Here are some things to consider before making this choice.

  • Science says yes … maybe?

  • If you choose to have your little guy undergo the procedure, a study by Mayo Health Clinic is on your side. "This analysis shows that over the lifetime, benefits exceed risks by at least 100 to 1," the study reads. "If one considers the seriousness of some conditions that circumcision protects against, the benefit would actually be much greater."

  • However, this is a hugely disputed area. The classic reasons of improved health are debated in most articles against circumcision.

  • Enjoying sex

  • There's a lot of debate about this, and studies proving both sides; but advocates of not circumcising your baby claim those who are circumcised don't enjoy sex as much.

  • Will he need circumcision in the future?

  • Three percent of boys who are not circumcised as children will need circumcision as they get older because of infection or a condition that doesn't allow the foreskin to retract properly.

  • The cost

  • Many insurance plans still cover the cost of circumcision; but some are starting to exclude it. Costs tend to range from $150 to $400, according to Cost Helper Health.

  • Doctors recommend …

  • This is actually completely up to you. The American Academy of Pediatrics is mostly neutral about circumcision.

  • The emotional toll

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  • Most places will give a local anesthetic, and as a two-day-old baby he won't remember it, but the recovery is still a painful process for your sweet babe.

  • It could reduce some nasty diseases and cancer

  • Boys who are circumcised are less likely to have urinary tract infections in their early years, less likely to have some STDs like herpes and HPV, and have a lower chance of penile cancer, according to the Mayo Health Clinic study.

  • Although this is disputed (as pointed out above), those who oppose circumcision, as shown in this Oxford Journal article, don't claim uncircumcised boys have a lower rate of STDs, just that circumcision may not necessarily lower the chances.

  • Should it be his decision?

  • How do you feel about making a permanent body decision for this little body that can't even sit up alone? Some parents have issues making a permanent choice when the baby has no say in it.

  • What are the risks?

  • Complications are extremely rare. It's not a dangerous procedure, however some short-term problems could include oozing or slight bleeding from where the surgery was performed, infection at the opening of the urethra, and irritation of the tip of the penis, according to WebMD.

  • Who will be teaching him about his body?

  • If his Dad is circumcised, do you want their bodies to look the same? Children usually see their parents naked at some point, and notice differences. Will this create insecurity in your little boy?

  • Does your religion chime in?

  • Jews, Muslims and some Christians still follow the guidelines given in Genesis and circumcise their boys because of religious beliefs.

  • It's almost illegal in some places

  • Circumcision is common in the United States, but much less common in other countries. In 2012 Germany voted on a law that would make circumcision illegal, but several other countries – especially Nordic countries – have strongly considered making it illegal.

  • So, what do you think?

Amberlee is the content manager for Famifi.com and earned a degree in journalism. She loves her family, the outdoors, baby foxes and podcasts.

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