The Circumcision Decision: To Circumcise or Not To Circumcise?


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From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was certain that I was having another girl. It was my second pregnancy, and my first girl was still in diapers. My kiddos would be almost exactly two years apart. My sleep deprived, overwhelmed pregnant self immediately dreamed up visions of my two adorable little girls wearing matching frilly outfits and dimpled smiles.

Needless to say, when I found out I was having a boy, it was a struggle to be excited because he was going to be, well, a boy. I immediately felt like a horrible mother. I mean, who on earth is actually disappointed about the gender of their baby?!

It took me awhile to figure out the source of my distress, but once I did, I didn’t feel quite so horrible. (Only a little bit ridiculous. Honestly, the gender of the kid isn’t a big deal. All us moms really want is a happy, healthy baby!)

So here’s the deal with having a boy, especially after having a girl first. Boys are hard. There are so many things to worry about when having and raising a boy that I hadn’t had to even think about when I was pregnant with my first baby. Out of all of the new things to worry about, which included buying all new baby gear so that he would not be decked out in hot pink his whole life, there was one glaring question that, frankly, scared the crap out of me.

 To circumcise or not to circumcise?

Such a terrifying question! For some parents, it is an incredibly easy decision, and there are no “what-if’s” involved. Unfortunately, I overthink things, and by “things” I mean everything! This dilemma was no exception, and I agonized over it for months.

My husband didn’t have very strong feelings on it one way or the other, so I resorted to asking everyone who had boys what they had decided and why. My mom, his mom, the neighbor, co-workers, you name it. If I knew them, I asked them. There is nothing as awkward as having a conversation that goes like this,“Hi! Can I ask you a personal question? Did you circumcise your son? Can you explain why or why not to me?”

My scavenger hunt for advice was actually really helpful, so if you’re having a boy anytime soon, it doesn’t hurt to ask everyone you know what their decision was. However, I’m assuming that most moms-to-be might not want to ask everyone they know in order to make a decision. In all honesty, there is nothing so terribly embarrassing to talk about as whether or not to circumcise your son’s private parts. It’s kind of private, you know?

When I finally exhausted my supply of people willing to discuss their kids’ intact or not so intact penises, I turned to the internet and discovered that circumcision is actually a very divisive, controversial topic. All of the opinions I found online were very passionate, but all of the nonbiased information is very unhelpful. There is no concrete medical opinion on what is best for the health of the child, so it is solely up to parents to make this decision. We simply have to weight the pros and cons and decide, and that can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.

In the end, I let my husband decide whether or not to circumcise our son, and everything turned out just fine. However, for all of you moms-to-be who, like me, need a little more information before making the circumcision decision, here are a few of the websites that I found to be the most helpful!

1. is a great, non-biased site that offers valuable information to parents:

2. The American Association of Pediatrics is another great resource:

As you and your partner ponder the difficult task of making this decision for your baby boy, always remember that your pediatrician is your best resource! Friends, family, and informational articles are always welcome advice, but the doctor is, as always, the expert!

How about it moms of boys? How did you make this decision?


  1. Everywhere but the US, with its pro-circumcision culture and for-profit health care, routine infant circumcision is seen solely as a cosmetic surgery with no medical benefit to the infant large enough to warrant the risks. In Canada, our medical body came out recently advising parents not to do it. In the UK it’s virtually unheard of. Even in the US, rates are falling fast and are around 50%. The locker room argument is of the past and no little boy looks like his dad (or compares).

    Even in an uncomplicated recovery, something precious to the infant is lost — their whole body and the choice they might have made as an adult.

  2. For me, it all changed when I learned about the functions of the foreskin. Before that, I hadn’t ever wondered what the foreskin does or what role it plays in human sexuality. A Google search for “functions of the foreskin” was truly eye-opening. The foreskin is an erogenous zone with thousands of specialized nerve endings that produce pleasure. It also facilitates comfortable intercourse by providing a gliding action. Finally, in children it protects the glans and urethra from the dirty diaper environment. Learning that the foreskin is an important and integral part of male anatomy changes the discussion entirely.

    It’s interesting that you let your husband decide for your son. Personally, I think the decision is best left to the person who owns the foreskin, once he is old enough to decide for himself of course.

    I volunteer for the Colorado chapter of the National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers. On our website, we have free educational videos and informational handouts regarding every aspect of circumcision and the foreskin.

  3. Gee, should I do absolutely nothing, leave my perfect baby be, have no after-care and very easy cleaning, so that he can grow up enjoy the remarkable structure with its unique action and many thousands of specialised nerves that 2/3 of the men in the world enjoy, with very few problems (and those readily fixable)?
    should I have the best part of my perfect son’s penis cut off, risking inevitable extreme pain and complications that go all the way to death, and quite possibly have him reproach me for the rest of my life?
    Tough decision!

    It helps to know how infant male genital cutting came to be customary in the USA, when it’s not done outside partciular religions or tribal cultures anywhere else in the world.

  4. 38 top paediatricians (heads and spokespeople for the paediatric associations of Austria, Britain, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and senior paediatricians in Canada, the Czech Republic, France and Poland) replied to the AAP’s policy:

    “There is growing consensus among physicians, including those in the United States, that physicians should discourage parents from circumcising their healthy infant boys because non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys in Western societies has no compelling health benefits, causes postoperative pain, can have serious long-term consequences, constitutes a violation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and conflicts with the Hippocratic oath: primum non nocere: First, do no harm”

  5. All children, regardless of gender, culture or parental religion, have a fundamental right to keep all their healthy, functional genitalia. Since an infant is incapable of religious beliefs, imposing an irreversible body alteration on him violates the freedom to choose his own religion as an adult. It differs from education, which can be changed. My body belongs to me!

  6. I appreciate the response and conversation that has been generated as a result of my post. My intention is to give new moms two non-biased informational resources to use when making this decision because, like it or not, it’s a decision that is presented to every new parent that has a boy. I don’t feel the need to comment on the decision that we made for our kiddo, but we took every single argument and viewpoint into consideration! If you have more resources (biased or not) for new moms of boys please leave links in the comments; moms need every resource they can get when presented with this choice!

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