As the mother of a son, deciding whether to circumcise your baby boy is a very heartfelt decision. One which my husband and I researched and debated between ourselves before our baby was even born. Should we circumcise our child if we have a son? After all, this is my perfect, newborn baby and this is how he was created, why mess with that. However, after much consideration, we decided to circumcise our baby boy.
To give you an educated view of our findings, you must first understand what is involved in circumcising a baby.
Although there are times where circumcision may be required due to injury or infection, this is a voluntary procedure in Australia. Some parents follow tradition and may choose to circumcise their baby boy so that he looks like his father. While others base their decision around cultural traditions. The most common reason for circumcision though is because it is believed to be healthier and more hygienic.
When we were researching this, we discovered that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. We learnt that circumcision may reduce
- The risk of urinary tract infections
- Some STDs
- Even penile cancers
- Circumcision can also reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 60% when having sex with an infected female partner.
- With as many as 1 in 8, Australian adults infected with this Genital herpes, knowing the circumcision would help our son possibly avoid this risk later in life encouraged us, so we embraced a reduced risk of up to 45% of him contracting genital herpes.
- The risk of infections such as bacterial vaginosis, HPV and trichomoniasis are also lower in female partners of circumcised men.
Most of these benefits can be attributed to the foreskin being at risk of tears during sex which allows for germs to enter the body easier. The foreskin also traps viruses and bacteria and allows them to flourish in a moist environment.
Go in educated as there are some risks involved?
Swelling and minor bleeding may be experienced. Other issues include the foreskin stick slightly to the glands while healing. This is easily remedied in most cases. There is also a risk of scar tissue around the penis causing problems with sexual function, urination and hygiene. As with most surgery, there is a small risk of infection. This is usually treatable with antibiotics and is generally mild. Most complications, however, are minor and quite rare with only around 1 in 500 circumcisions resulting in complications of any kind and we were one of the uncomplicated.
Some parents choose to circumcise in order to avoid a tight foreskin?
Children and adults may experience phimosis (tightness) for different reasons.
In young boys, a tight foreskin is considered congenital, which means it’s something they have at birth. When this happens, it’s categorized as physiologic phimosis. The foreskin usually becomes more pliable over the next few years, with phimosis completely resolving by age 7. If a boy is circumcised, then phimosis can never occur.
The other category is the pathologic phimosis. This means that phimosis is due to an infection, inflammation, or scarring from an underlying condition. We were encouraged to circumcise our son by someone we know who had this condition at age 20, and though it passed in time, he heavily encouraged us to circumcise our son, saying he would not wish the pain of a tight foreskin on his worst enemy.
Why was I so comfortable allowing my son to be Circumcised?
I felt assured going into our procedure due to another child we met at the surgery. This little boy was five years old. After chatting with his parents, we felt assured we were doing the right thing for our little boy. When the Mother admitted to us that they regretted not circumcising their son when he was an infant, I really felt for her. She felt guilty that she was having him circumcised at age 5 and was concerned that he might feel more paid at age 5. You see her son had experienced repeated infections as he was not able to keep the area clean himself. I am happy to report that this concern was unwarrented, as if the experience was unpleasant, he did not let on. Calmly strolling towards us in the waiting room , he simply said: " Are we going to McDonald's now".
So what actually happens during a Circumcision?
This is a surgical procedure which is performed on babies around 4 weeks of age where the foreskin, covering the end of the penis is surgically removed. These days they often use a bell (plastic ring). In our case, we covered our sons' penis with numbing gel and cling wrap with a hole in the end. This gel, available from any chemist meant that when they gave our son the numbing needle, he did not cry or feel a thing. We waited patiently outside and after a while, they brought our baby back to us and I gave him some milk and my son was his happy self and the ring and skin fell off on its own within a week.
It is up to you as a parent to balance up the benefits and risks and make an informed decision on behalf of your baby boy. Discuss the matter with the men in your life and more than one doctor.
Our son is now 9 years old and though we are aware of some of his friends'having urinary tract infections, he has never had one. Our experience was really pleasant and our baby seemed happy at all times, for this reason, we are happy to we chose to circumcise our baby boy.
If you still have questions this little video may assist you.