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.

"There are no significant medical benefits that make circumcision worth doing"

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

Tags: circumcision

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Comments on "Why more families are choosing not to circumcise"

Don March 02, 2014 | 3:45 AM

@LHS I don't believe that claim whatsoever. Looks like a weak attempt to support your horrible decision. If they wished they had it done they would have gotten it done already. The majority of the world is intact and prefers it that way. Even you yourself refer to it as a trauma, yet you would do that to your boys? I'm intact and I would never have my mutilated via circumcision, let alone force it onto an unconsenting individual, who has a higher risk of death, and to prevent what exactly? Don't breed.

Kat March 01, 2014 | 8:00 PM

@LHS How is there nothing wrong with it? You're having someones genitals cut without their consent, and with no benefit? What the holy ----? Most men in the world are uncut and prefer their genitals intact. Anecdotes are worthless; men loose feeling over time after circumcision, not instantly, letting a male choose what they want to do with their own bodies is their decision, not some moms who decided their opinion is the best.

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Maria August 09, 2012 | 5:20 PM

So good to see this mainstream! We left our son intact & the more I know, the more solidified I am in that decision. I am unconcerned about social implications nor that he will experience negative social repercussions from that decision, and we already have many many friends with intact sons. I fear for the cut sons who will know many intact boys, and will wonder why & perhaps really resent the fact their parents cut their penis. after all, cutting one's penis is a personal decision for the penis owner himself, not for a parent to impose on a defenseless child.

Sarah August 08, 2012 | 1:36 PM

Despite the fact that my husband, and all of the men and boys in both of our families are circumcised, I have not once regretted the decision to keep my (now 2 year old) son intact. We did the research and weighed the pros and cons, and really, I could see absolutely no reason to put him through that (watching a video of a newborn boy being circumcised cemented my decision!). My husband was against circumcising as well as he still has scarring from his own circumcision that has caused some erectile dysfunction. I've never really understood the argument about cleanliness. Girls learn how to keep their privates clean just fine, so can boys!

LHS August 08, 2012 | 1:17 PM

Personally - I still circumcise my sons and see nothing wrong with it when done in the right way involving pain medication. I might be out of the norm on this article, but there you have it. It's a personal decision we made based upon the experiences of relatives who didn't and wished they had before the child could remember the trauma.

Elizabeth August 05, 2012 | 5:59 PM

Thank goodness for the spread of information to parents! Some criticize the intactivist movement for misinformation/exageration, but I support the overall goal - to inform the public of the strange history, brutal nature, and conflict with human rights, of infant circumcision. Add in the profits now made from infant foreskins (by hospitals), and now we have a trade in body parts going on ...oh wait, no, they are called "donations"!

Patrick Smyth August 04, 2012 | 1:06 PM

Great to hear that the message is getting heard by more and more people that neonatal circumcision is a massive deception on the part of the medical fraternity. Millions of men have been denied the full life that they could have otherwise enjoyed. The damage that this has surely caused to countless relationships is incalculable.

Lo August 03, 2012 | 7:37 PM

barbaric, cruel, inhumane and done for financial gain. the sadists who call themselves doctors should be ashamed. ual abuse!!!

Julie August 03, 2012 | 5:08 PM

Thank you for bringing this issue more to the mainstream! Parents need to hear this information because doctors usually aren't sharing it!

JDP August 03, 2012 | 5:01 PM

What an awesome article! Can't believe people still even think about doing this to their perfect sons.

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