This can be one of the most hotly debated issues for new parents. Should you circumcise your newborn? In the US, a large percentage of boys are circumcised within a few days of being born. However, this might not be the best course of action.
Commonly cited reasons to circumcise
Parents who decide baby circumcision is right for their sons often do it out of tradition. The father is circumcised, so the baby should too, according to this logic. Other reasons include religious practices or even arbitrary “beauty” standards. Some parents say they do it to “prevent infections” or for “easier cleaning”.
Reasons not to circumcise
Baby circumcision might be considered a fairly routine procedure, but it still involves minor surgery on a newborn, This means that it carries risks of infection, hemorrhage, pain, a negative reaction to the sedatives, gangrene, bad scarring and even a botched procedure. Other side effects include loss of sensibility and hardening of the glans. This is a lot for a newborn baby to go through. Especially when most of the cited reasons to do it are not really relevant or outright lies. Sure, removing the foreskin might prevent it from getting infected, in the same way removing an earlobe will prevent it from getting infected. Cleaning an uncut penis is not much harder to do either, simply water and soap rinsing.
Is it bad to be circumcised?
In a word, no, of course not. But we might want to think again as a society if removing a newborn’s body part is a decision we can take for them. Babies cannot consent and tell us what they want, and for many doctors the risks really outweigh the supposed benefits of this practice when done at such an early age. Maybe we should let boys grow up and decide what they want to do with their own bodies.