My wife and I are expecting our first son in a couple of months, and I was wondering if anyone had any pertinent advice/experience regarding circumcising a newborn.
I grew up in the States and am circumcised, as it seems were most of my peers growing up. My wife is from South America, where we are currently living and where circumcision is not the norm.
Some of the factors weighing on my mind are:
-the lack of circumcising experience of the surgeon, being as it's not a standard procedure here;
-possible effects of our son being the only guy who's circumcised (in S.America) or the weird uncircumcised guy (if we're in the States);
-possible effects of him being different than me (if we choose not to circumcise);
-the cost (circumcision is not covered by our health insurance);
-possible health benefits of circumcision;
-possible psychological damage from circumcision (there are lots of fear-mongering anti-circumcision sites on the internet which purport this; I'm not sure how much credit they deserve).
I realize it's probably not that big of a deal either way, but if there are any fathers out there who would offer some sound advice, I'd be grateful to hear your opinion.
Will wrote a very good answer, it's elective surgery, and it's your son's penis. If he wants to cut the foreskin off when he's older, that's his choice.
Otherwise, as for the being the weird kid who is/isn't circumcised, this article mentions falling rates of circumcision, so it may be best to leave it on as he won't stand out in South America, and if this article is correct, he'll be fine in the US as well.
Also, on a more personal note, a good friend of mine had an adult circumcision at the age of 20 owing to a too-tight foreskin. He said that there was more pleasure with the foreskin still attached.
It's much easier on a boy to have the procedure done as an infant than later on...not to mention less risk of any health issues if not...
I have a cousin who never was...and it led him to needing 2 separate surgeries that were caused, according to the Dr's, almost exclusively from lack of being circumcised...
It's much cleaner, and easier to maintain cleanliness there also if it is done. Trust me, do not put it off 'til later...
Hard to keep clean? It is really hard to pull back the foreskin to clean the areas? The boy needed to masturbate more to stretch out the skin to make cleaning easier.
I've never understood the concern about fitting in or not. Am I the only guy who was actively trying not to see penises growing up?
My father was, I am not and we chose to not have my son circumcised. On the father son thing growing up it was really was not anything I thought of. I grew up in the USA where “everyone” was and it was not an issue ever. I don’t buy the argument that you need to do this to fit in. It will not cause social harm.
Health wise if you properly wash yourself, you don’t get yeast infections. As part of the "talk" you may need to include that masturbation helps keeps the skin stretched out better enjoy sex. I don’t know of any real health benefits to circumcision that holds for first world countries.
I could argue that it enhances making love because your nerves are shielded most of the time, but I can’t really say that with certainty because I have not been circumcised so I really don’t know.
If it is not for religious reasons I would not do it. I have a hard time thinking god / nature did not intend for us to have a foreskin.
Don't do it. I'm uncut and couldn't be happier. I've never had anyone bother me about it. I've never had any sexual problems because of it. It's mutilation and reduces the sensitivity of the area. We survived for millions of years with it. I think it's okay to leave it in place.
Think of it this way: it isn't your body, so it shouldn't be your choice. If he wants to do it when he grows up, by all means. But, I think that the number of grown men who are like me (i.e. all natural man), who would WANT to get cut is very small indeed.
We decided not. In the absence of compelling medical evidence for low risk populations with access to modern sanitation and western medicine - we decided there is no need for unnecessary medical procedures.
There is data to suggest moderate health benefits in certain high risk populations, and especially those without easy access to healthcare (e.g. as a preventive measure in sub saharan africa). But doctors and scientists are otherwise torn and do not have a conclusive stand one way or the other.
Don't worry about "psychological damage" from the procedure ... just a bunch of whining nonsense from ideologues. A two-day-old won't remember anything. I'm fine. My son's fine. All is well. There may be reasons not to, but that isn't one of them.
We elected the circumcision for my son, and will for my second son as well (in October). Our reasons are mostly traditional and cultural, I suppose. The "look like everybody else"/ "look like Dad & Big Brother" thing makes a little sense, I guess -- but, mostly, its just that most American Christians are circumcized, and we're both. There may be benefits with regard to health and cleanliness -- having never been uncircumcized, I wouldn't know.
I won't pretend there aren't worries, though. There is a risk, however slight, that something could go wrong. I'll breathe easier after its over. My wife gets diaper duty until its all healed-up, though ... it looks more painful than it is.