Natural Birth

circumcising (To cut or not to Cut?)

This is my first child; I am planning a natural, home water birth.  I am 15 weeks in so I still have some time. We are not even sure what the sex of our baby is; however I want to get in as much research as I can.  My midwife does not do circumcisions and I am not sure how I feel about having it done or not.  Are they any good books or recommended sites I could take a look at to make a better informed decision?  What are your opinions on this subject? 

* And please be civil about this?  I asked a question on another board about some sex issues I was having and received nothing but ridicule and rudeness about it.  I have not bothered to ask much of anything since, simply because I did not want to deal with it.  I am looking for pure honest opinions about this topic. 

*Thank you in advance for any advice that can be offered.* 

Re: circumcising (To cut or not to Cut?)

  • This is a controversial topic. I think it is best that you do research and make a decision that works well for you and your family. What anyone else's opinion is on the matter shouldn't really have any bearing on what you decide to do.
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  • *LrCg**LrCg*
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    With my first (who was a homebirth & we didn't find out the sex) we decided to circumcise but I refused to use a doctor, we went with a Mohel (generally they are Rabbis & we are not jewish).  There were many reasons I preferred a Mohel over a doctor- most important ones: I feel they are more qualified and I prefer their care and bedside manner over it.  I could go in more detail if requested but I'm not here to bash people that used a physician.  Anyways, I did it for all the uneducated reasons.  I was already "out there" with homebirth and cloth diapering and was getting so much slack from everyone I just never educated myself properly on it nor did I want to push the envelope of being so different.  Its been 4 years and I have to say, I regretted the decision within months of my son's birth and decided never again would I do it.  The ONLY comfort I have in it is that a Mohel did it vs. a physician.  

    I personally feel that this is not a decision that I should make- its not my body, it belongs to my son.  In further research I found that only in the US is it so common and when people talk about UTIs, STDs, or having to get it done later and it being so painful are just those 1 in a million stories.  If you talk to people from other countries those complications are unheard of.  I personally think the US has more reported problems because parents were/are educated to retract the foreskin to clean which you don't need to do.  A vagina is self cleaning which is why you don't clean all up in there in your daughter, its the same for a son.  Also the UTI studies was based on premature infants which most premature infants are more inclined to get UTIs whether they are cut or not.  I was also worried my son would be different but honestly, all kids are different and again it was just an uneducation on my part because I never saw one but after seeing one, I realized that it looks the same errected as a circumcised penis so its really no big deal.  There's a reason for the foreskin (sexual plessure being just one) that's why its there and I took it away from my son.  I am sorry for that.  Thank goodness, there was never a complication but I still feel guilty about it.  

    I liked the websites Doctors Against Circumcision and nocirc.org

    Best of luck in your choice. 

     P.S. I also wanted to add that some people do it so their son will look like their Dad, well for us, that was never an issue.  DH's dad was not cut and DH is (his mother insisted), it was never an issue for him growing up.  Frankly, no one will ever look exactly like their parents so I never used that as a reason to do it.  It won't bother your son if he has blonde hair and his dad has brown.  

  • Unfortunately, I don't remember the resources that we used to reach out decision.

    We opted to leave DS intact.  We decided that we didn't want him to have a medically unnecessary procedure.  We don't have any regrets and I'm thankful that we feel like we made the right decision for us.  It was also before the AAP made their statement about it.  I'm not sure how that would have played a role in our decision making.  

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  • I am hesitant to offer an opinion because this is such a touchy subject. However, since you specifically asked for honest opinions, I will share mine.

    When I got pregnant I never even imagined we wouldn't circumcise. I knew about the benefits of circumcision and if we had a boy he would definitely be circumcised. It wasn't until I read an article written by someone who regretted circumcising their son that I started to question our decision.

    The woman who wrote the article debunked many of the benefits. I first sought out to prove her wrong. I gathered as much information as I could so that I could prove to myself without a doubt that circumcising was the right choice for our family. I couldn't find one benefit that was great enough to remove a part of my son's body without his consent. It was then that I brought the information to my husband and we decided it wasn't for us.

    There are not a lot of parenting decisions that I make that I can say with 100 percent certainty that I made the right choice. Choosing not to circumcise is definitely one of them. My son can choose later in life to be circumcised. He can not choose to regrow his foreskin. That was the biggest weighing factor in our decision.

    With that being said, you need to do what is right for you and for your family. Do your own research and come to your own conclusion. Good parents circumcise. Good parents don't circumcise. It's one decision in a million you will have to make for your family and it will not make or break you as a parent.

    As for research, there are not a lot of resources that are not biased. We looked at both sides and drew our own conclusions. One of the tipping factors for us was the fact that even the AAP does not recommend routine infant circumcision.

    Eta: I just wanted to add... The AAP still does not recommend routine infant circumcision if you read the full text of their position statement.

    Also, a close friend of mine and his brother decided to be circumcised as adults because they wanted to be like everyone else. When I asked his opinion he said he regrets it and will not circumcise his children. He said the surgery itself was not a big deal but now, seven years layer, he has lost quite a but of sensitivity. That was also a deciding factor for us.

    Again, this is all my opinion. No disrespect to anyone who chooses to circumcise. I mean what I say when I say we all have to make our own choices for our children and our families and either choice does not make anyone less of a parent in my eyes. Congrats on the pregnancy and good luck with your decision.
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  • We looked at the pros and cons and didn't see a compelling reason to circ so we didn't. To me, there would have to be very strong evidence in favour of cutting a body part off a newborn, and I don't really feel it's there. We have no religious motivation to do so. It costs money out of pocket here, and must be arranged separately from the birth hospital stay. Rates are fairly low here - around 30%.
  • Aside from the lack of (pertinent) health benefits to circumcision, we decided not to circ because it's my son's body. I don't feel that I have the right to amputate part of his body for cosmetic reasons without his consent.
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  • No we don't circumcise, its not necessary, its painful and your baby wouldn't choose it for  himself

    There was just a discussion on this if you want to read the replies
    http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/forums/1/72921955/ShowThread.aspx

    If you are wondering about complications and things that can go wrong, there's no shortage of those  http://community.babycenter.com/post/a10051525/re-circumcision_and_penile_adhesion_surgery

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  • What does the baby's father think?

    I did not want to circumcise. My husband did. It was a huge, huge, emotional argument when I was pregnant. The pediatrician we selected held a meet and greet for expectant parents and she told the group "We use a local anesthestic but you'll want to do it in the first two weeks of life when baby is still pretty sleepy. There are pros and cons to the procedure and I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. It's not a big deal whatever you decide and should not be a source of stress in your marriage at this time."

    So, I agreed to circumcise because it was clearly very important to my husband and I truly believed he should have some input on how we raise our son - up to that point I had been calling a lot of shots on parenting decisions (cloth diapers, breastfeeding). In the end, the circumcision was no big deal. It was done in the ped's office when he was two weeks old. It healed quickly, didn't interfere with nursing, and in the end I regret that my husband and I fought about it when I was pregnant. I would have no hesitation in circumcising another son in the future.

  • We will not be circumcising our son. We have no religious protocol to follow on this, it's not medically necessary or beneficial, and we don't believe that we should decide to alter our son's body without his ability to consent or decline. My inlaws circumcised my husband but chose not to do the same for his younger brother when he came along 6 years later. My husband is resentful of being circumcised because of the aforementioned loss of sensitivity and there being no need for the procedure, and will absolutely not do it to his son...luckily we are on the same page.
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  • I have a little girl and but before we found out she was a she I did a ton of research on circumcision because I was against it and my family thought I was nuts. I watched a video on YouTube of the actual procedure and it was really hard to watch.  It is a very personal decision and you should do what is right for you and your baby.
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  • Since you ask for personal opinion, here's mine: I agree will all PP who didn't circumcised because they believe it's not their call to take away a part of someone else's body, even if that someone is your child. 

    It's medically necessary in only around 1% of men which is not enough for us (as engineers) to consider as a relevant proportion. I have to say that DH is cc'd and it was due to those complications, it was painful and horrible because he was already 14. However, we decided not to do it at birth because there's still a 99% chance that he will never need it :) it is his perfect new body and we don't want to change anything on it for 'fear'

     


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  • My husband is uncut and so is my son, and my next son will be as well.

    I feel that uncut is the biological norm. I also feel that it's a personal decision that should be made as an adult, not my someone's parents. Adults can be circumcised. Most wouldn't choose to. It cannot be undone.

    Before I met my husband, I had only seen circumcised penises and was put off by the idea of uncut ones. Now I know better and prefer the uncut look! Also:

    - Uncut = better sex. The foreskin acts as lubrication for both parties, adds friction for the woman, and because the foreskin usually covers the head of the penis, sex is better for the man as well.

    - Uncut = just as clean. In fact, it's cleaner than a wound when you're caring for a baby. You don't have to do anything special. My son's just started retracting not too long ago and he can clean it himself in the bath (he's 2).

    - There are real risks to circumcision. A small but real number of babies die during the procedure. It is painful and unlike adults, babies can't have proper pain meds. The pain/shock can interfere with breastfeeding.

    If still in doubt, watch a video of the procedure being done. It is mutilation.

    Like I said, I started out believing that circumcision was totally normal and better, but I've learned since then. :)  

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  • I was in the "we'll cut" camp until I watched Penn and Teller's Bullsh*t episode on circ.  Actually seeing as much of one as they could put on the show was enough for me.  If you do decide you want to cut DO NOT WATCH ONE!  It traumatized me and I couldn't imagine doing anything like that to my newborn baby.  I think if more people saw what really goes on during these fewer people wouldn't do it.  I also saw a video during my child care classes that showed how to care for a circ'd penis and the visuals from that were horrifying, too. 

    But, it's a personal decision.  I really don't think your child will be ruined for life either way.  The old reasoning of "but he'll look weird if he doesn't get cut!" isn't really that true anymore, though.  In my nephews kindergarten class I guess more than half of the boys are uncut.  We were having a long talk with the parents about this changing trend and how by the time my child gets into high school (and at the point where other kids will really start to see it in the showers, which aparently many parents worry about) it'll probably be 50/50 anyway.

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  • image jess9802:

    What does the baby's father think?

    I did not want to circumcise. My husband did. It was a huge, huge, emotional argument when I was pregnant. The pediatrician we selected held a meet and greet for expectant parents and she told the group "We use a local anesthestic but you'll want to do it in the first two weeks of life when baby is still pretty sleepy. There are pros and cons to the procedure and I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. It's not a big deal whatever you decide and should not be a source of stress in your marriage at this time."

    So, I agreed to circumcise because it was clearly very important to my husband and I truly believed he should have some input on how we raise our son - up to that point I had been calling a lot of shots on parenting decisions (cloth diapers, breastfeeding). In the end, the circumcision was no big deal. It was done in the ped's office when he was two weeks old. It healed quickly, didn't interfere with nursing, and in the end I regret that my husband and I fought about it when I was pregnant. I would have no hesitation in circumcising another son in the future.

    This is pretty much my story too (though I was on the fence, not anti, and my husband was pro), but we had it done while were were still in the hospital by one of the OBs that is associated with my midwife office. I talked with him a long time about the method he uses because there are multiple ones and I was comfortable with how he was trained and how he does it. My biggest complaint was that we couldn't start cloth diapers for the 4 days that it needed vasoline. If we have any other sons, we will do it again.

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  • April!April!
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    I am really glad you asked this question. Thank you for all of your answers, ladies!

    I am expecting our baby boy any day now. My husband and I originally planned on circumcising our son, mainly because he is circ'd, I have never encountered an uncut penis and am kind of squicked out by them, and it just seemed "cleaner." As my pregnancy progressed I started getting less and less comfortable with the idea of deliberately doing something so painful to my brand new, fresh and tiny baby. I wanted to be sure if we did go through with it, it would be for very good reason. I found a lot of the online anti-circ websites very inflammatory and upsetting, and I wasn't sure how balanced they are, so I also looked at possible complications from not circumcising. I read a lot of questions on Ask Metafilter too! I found some statistics about infection and cancer, and some about phimosis or other problems, but nothing compelling enough to make it clear that we should do it. I had my husband read some of what I read, and also the section on circumcision in the Dr. Sears book, and he became less certain too. Ultimately we decided not to do it, and if the baby has problems when he is older we can revisit it.

    Good luck. It's not an easy decision.  

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  • Just wanted to throw in my two cents. :) I come from a family that is very pro-circumcision. I never questioned it. So when I found out I was pregnant with my first boy, I wanted to do it. My DH is uncut and he was very much against doing it to his son. We argued about it so much that I asked EVERYONE for their opinion. And everyone had very strong opinions on the matter. Some people got downright angry just talking about it. This is going to seem a bit random, but what swayed me was when one mom told me that baby should match dad. She said "when you two are potty training your son, he will want to know why his looks different from dad's." Perhaps not a very compelling reason, but for some reason it made sense to me. I agreed with DH to not circumcise. Then I saw the table they strap baby boys into to perform the circ (after I delivered) and nearly fainted. At that moment I was so glad we chose not to do it.  And my feelings were only reinforced when the new moms in my family kept hovering over me wondering why I wasn't putting ointment on my son every 30 min. So I told them we didn't circ. I got the eye roll from them, but they went on to talk about infection horror stories with their newborn boys. Well it does make sense that a freshly cut baby would get tons of infections since they pee and poop so much. So glad we did not do it. We never had any sort of issues in that dept and my eldest is about to turn 5. I'm expecting my 3rd boy and all 3 will be uncut. It is one decision I have NEVER regretted. But if I'm being completely honest I've never run across a mom that regretted doing it. And the boys in my family that are cut are just fine with the decision that was made for them. Don't know about any sites though as most are very biased.

  • image tokenhoser:
    We looked at the pros and cons and didn't see a compelling reason to circ so we didn't. To me, there would have to be very strong evidence in favour of cutting a body part off a newborn, and I don't really feel it's there. We have no religious motivation to do so.

    Same. And also, I was worried about keeping the area clean and free from infection. 

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  • Not my penis, not my decision.  
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  • I'll keep it simple and just say that none of my 3 boys are circumcised.
    • Adopted DS #1- '05 
    • Adopted DS #2- '07
    • DS born August 1, 2011
    • DD born August 27, 2013

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  • We won't be cutting our son.
  • I regretted it from the minute my husband walked out of the room with my baby. DH didn't regret it until all the way up to 9 months he was still struggling with it reattaching. I would absolutely never ever do that again. We are team green this time and DH could still probably go either way but there's just no way. I absolutely regret that decision.
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  • DS is not circumcised (so glad!), and I second a lot of what PPs have said about risks, etc. But I'll just add that the one and only reason I was ever nervous about not circumcising was that I didn't want DS to feel different or weird growing up. In our generation almost all boys were circumcised, so that's what I'm accustomed to, and I didn't want my son to be made fun of or feel uncomfortable because we didn't circumcise him. But then my OB and midwives told me that these days only around 1 in 3 boys is circumcised. So, for our kids' generation, the uncut boys will actually be in the majority.
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  • My two boys are not circ'd.
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  • I already gave my 2 cents - and it sounds like most of you on here are against circ, Yay!

    But here is a longer post I did about it: http://alternativehousewife.com/circumcision/ 

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  • I pay attention to my own statistics, as 'public' ones tend to favor whoever is promoting them.

    I don't know a single male who has ever had a complication from having one done.

    I know 3 men who've had to have it done as an adult because of health reasons, not cosmetic reasons.

    I care for 10 middle aged to elderly men. The circed ones don't have issues. The uncirced ones get UTI's and skin lesions all the time. It is not a cleanliness issue, as WE are the ones who shower them, and we have to pull the skin back and clean them. But, the ammonia level in their urine is high, and they are little old men with bladder control issues... those two combined cause issues when the urine is trapped in the skin folds.

    So, for us, if we ever have a boy, we definitely will.

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  • Definitely research and think about it, but personally, if I ever have a boy, I won't. Most men born in countries outside the US are not cut and they manage to remain healthy. Only about 20% of men in the world are circumcised, and while it was once the majority of the population that was circumcised in the US, that number has dropped off a lot. 
  • kdv77kdv77
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    We are not circumsicing for many of the reasons listed above. 
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