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Why more families are choosing not to circumcise

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Cutting no longer the standard

Back when we were babies, circumcision was almost universal in the United States. In recent years, however, the data shows that leaving a baby boy intact is becoming more common. Read on to learn why more and more parents are choosing to not circumcise their infant sons.

Neonatal circumcision, the removal of some or all of the foreskin of the penis, is falling out of favor in the United States. Once touted by many as a necessary medical procedure, it is no longer recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a routine surgery on newborn infants, and decried by many as a barbaric practice that should no longer take place.

The tide swings

Once common enough that it was even covered by state medical programs such as Medicaid, routine infant circumcision is now a decision more parents aren’t making. Research has shown that routine circumcision does not have enough medical benefits for it to be recommended.

While circumcision rates are hard to quantify due to several factors, such as cultural ceremonies that take place outside of the hospital, a researcher from the CDC estimated that in 2009, as few as thirty-two percent of newborn boys went under the knife, compared to fifty-six percent in 2006.

"Do not circumcise your baby because you think there are some medical benefits," writes renowned pediatrician, Dr. William Sears. "A recent review by the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at all the data from the past decades to see if there truly were any medical benefits. Their conclusion — no. There are no significant medical benefits that make circumcision worth doing."

No reason to do it

And still others couldn't find a single reason to go ahead and have it done. "After listening to an adult friend that had never been circumcised, I was more or less convinced," Ty from Louisiana told us. "He said he never had problems, and cleaning was not really an issue."

Not like Dad

Even in families where Dad is circumcised, parents are making a completely separate decision for their sons. "Originally, my plan was to do it, no questions asked," explained Angela from Canada. "Daddy had it done, therefore, so should the son. I basically changed my mind when I realized that our continent is one of the few countries in the world that actually do this."

Even in the face of religious views

Many parents have strong religious reasons for circumcision, but even many of those of a faith, such as Judaism, are choosing to abstain from the big cut. "I had a huge fight with our family over leaving Joshua intact (we are Jewish)," shared Jenna from New Jersey. "I fought hard to preserve him and I won. We had a no-cutting bris and all. I am so thankful that my husband supported me in the end, and my perfect little boy didn't have to endure that crap."

Rebecca, mother of four, agreed. "I figure if God told Abraham to circumcise himself when he was like 100-years-old, my son can do the same if he feels like it," she explained.

Born perfect

Many moms we spoke with felt that their child was born with a foreskin for a reason. "Both of my sons were born perfect and left intact," shared Katie, mother of two. "I think that we are adapted as animals and that foreskin serves a purpose."

Katie is not alone in thinking that the foreskin is supposed to be there. "We now understand that the prepuce (foreskin) is richly innervated, erogenous tissue which enhances sexual pleasure," says Christopher L. Guest MD, FRCPC. "In addition, the prepuce provides a unique linear gliding mechanism during sexual intercourse. As physicians, we have no right to amputate this functional tissue from powerless infants without medical urgency."

More on circumcision

What you need to know about circumcision
To circumcise or not?
The circumcision debate

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