Parenthood requires many big decisions to be made, from children’s names, all the way down to what school they will attend when of age. Among the various choices, new parents are presented with is the option to have their baby boys circumcised.
Circumcision is a procedure that removes the foreskin from the human penis, which is done to help prevent complications down the line, like various infections and penile cancer. However, the process itself can be gruesome, which is why some parents may be on the fence about if they want this done to their children.
Though it’s origin dates back to biblical times, it wasn’t until the late 1900s that circumcision became as normalized as it is today in America. Now, between 80 and 90 percent of men in the United States are circumcised, and essentially every American hospital participates in the practice.
Beginning as a passage for religious and social acceptance, it has since been found that circumcision may provide many health benefits for the individual undergoing it, which is why it is so heavily practiced today. The process of circumcision takes about 10 minutes to complete on a baby, and 1 hour to complete on a grown male.
Likewise, for a newborn, it takes a week to heal, and two to three weeks for someone older. This is one of the reasons why circumcision is typically done as a baby because when done older, it can be more painful, take longer to heal, and have a higher risk of complications than it does when done on a baby.
The main reason why circumcision is such a common practice today is because of the medical benefits that it provides. Not only do those circumcised have a lower chance of obtaining sexually transmitted diseases, but their risk of penile cancers, urinary tract infections, and just illnesses in general decreases significantly.
The foreskin of the male anatomy, when intact, enables a breeding area for a lot of bacteria and other germs, which allows for infections to arise. Getting rid of the skin, in the beginning, decreases this risk in totality.
While penile cancer is already rare, to begin with, research supports that those who are circumcised have a lower chance of falling victim to it by twenty percent. In regards to sexually transmitted diseases, HIV rates among those who are circumcised are 60% lower than those who are not.
This is a staggering number, because on average, about one million new cases of HIV are diagnosed a year, and about 500,000 people die from the disease each year as well. With this fact, circumcision can prove to be very beneficial, as it can help prevent deadly diseases later down the line.
While circumcision does provide many medical benefits, there are a few chances of risks as well. The main risks that pose a threat are simply the child being irritated at the site of the procedure. This can be seen in bleeding, pain, and in some cases, a higher risk of mastitis, or inflammation at the opening of the male anatomy.
Although all these possible outcomes should be taken into account, there are about 2-6 cases of complications out of every 1000 circumcisions performed. Meaning that the chances of anything bad happening as a result of circumcision are very low, and the medical benefits outweigh the risks significantly.
Another reason why so many people are pro-circumcision is because of the benefits that it has just in general, not in a medical setting. As mentioned above, uncircumcised males have skin that enables bacteria to breed. Because of this, hygiene looks very different for them than it does for circumcised males.
In general, it is a lot easier to clean and take care of the penis without the extra foreskin. In terms of making things easier and more functional for the child, circumcision would be a good idea as well.
A lot of parents seem to be skeptical about circumcision because of the pain that it can cause the baby directly when it happens. While there are different methods to perform the act, circumcision in all cases requires doctors to cut off and remove a piece of skin on the male penis. Because of this, it can hurt and result in the baby crying for a bit.
This can be alarming for the child to go through right after being born, raising concerns of a lot of parents. However, the process of circumcising a baby typically takes five to ten minutes, so it isn’t very long at all and is over fairly quickly.
The Morality Aspect
Another reason why some parents are against circumcision is because of the moral aspect of it all. The fact of the matter is, they are making this decision for their child, meaning the kid does not get to make it for themselves.
Some parents simply think that something like this should be decided by the individual, not their parents, and since they are not of age to consent or agree to it, they won’t allow it. It should be noted that while older men can be circumcised, more risks are at hand when they wait, versus getting the procedure done at one or two days old, how most circumcisions are performed.
Overall, while the practice of male circumcision is accepted by most, there are both pros and cons that parents should consider before deciding for their children specifically. There are, however, many health benefits to getting circumcised, and while there are a few risks, chances of them happening are minuscule.
Speaking to a doctor regarding any other questions or areas of uncertainty is a great idea for any parents on the fence about whether or not this procedure should be a reality for their children.