Northfield Parents Talk: To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise?

The topic, tied to religious beliefs, hygiene issues, health, and even sexual pleasure, is emotionally charged.

This week's topic:

To circumcise or not to circumcise?

New York Magazine posted a series of articles exploring the pros and cons of circumcision. Trends in recent years have caused parents to reconsider circumcision for their sons. The topic, tied to religious beliefs, hygiene issues, health, and even sexual pleasure, is emotionally charged.  

In "Would You Circumcise This Baby?," author Michael Idov writes, "Circumcision is still, as it has been for decades, one of the most routinely performed surgical procedures in the United States—a million of the operations are performed every year. Yet more Americans are beginning to ask themselves the same question the Moreas did: Why, exactly, are we doing this? Having peaked at a staggering 85 percent in the sixties and seventies, the U.S. newborn-circumcision rate dropped to 65 percent in 1999 and to 56 percent in 2006. Give or take a hiccup here and there, the trend is remarkably clear: Over the past 30 years, the circumcision rate has fallen 30 percent. All evidence suggests that we are nearing the moment (2014?) when the year’s crop of circumcised newborns will be in the minority."

About Parents Talk:

Each week in Parents Talk, our Parents Council—a group of parents who work with us to share what matters to them and in turn to other local parents—will take your questions, offer advice and provide solutions. The parents, who have graciously given their time and thoughts, and who you'll see posting their comments on our Parents Talk discussions, are: , , and .

Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thomas Tobin October 15, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Mr. Basinger, I have some more questions for you. Why is removing the foreskin "medicinal" or "religious" for a boy, and a felony and mutilation for a girl? What part of removing half the genital skin from an unconsenting person is not evil? How many times have you said to yourself, "Gee, I think I would like to have less genitalia"? "Life would be better, I would have less effort needed for hygiene, I would be less prone to disease, and I would be more religious,"
Thomas Tobin October 16, 2011 at 01:10 AM
From the nurse who started another Patch discussion elsewhere: Marilyn Kontrafouris-Eleftheriou RN,MN commented on the article Should You Circumcise Your Son? "Dear Readers, I would like to thank you all for your participation in a very unscientific poll but telling none the less. As a nurse, I have always known that I could learn from my patients no matter how young. I have learned from all of you. I will retract my line from my article that circumcision does not detract from the male sexual experience. I will add that NMC detracts from not only from the male sexual experience but the female experience. After all, it takes 2 to tango. I have received private email regarding the plight of men who have endured a lot from botched NMC (Non-Medical Circumcision). I have always felt that children have little rights in this great nation of ours. I will site examples of little rights such as foster care problems, lack of medical services that are starting to change and now circumcision. This article has generated great discussion and on a national level with comments from all around the US. i am glad I was a part of this. thank You." My point being, you know many people who have been damaged by circumcision. You simply don't know it, because men don't openly speak of such things. Estimates of meatal stenosis (narrowing of the pee hole from scarring from uric acid) run up to 11% to 30% of circumcised men. There is no other operation with so many unintended consequences.
Thomas Tobin October 17, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Here's an article, published in the American Association of Pediatrics, stating that increasingly, a second circumcision is being performed on a previously circumcised boy, to fix the first circumcision. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AAP/29075#rate This, and the surgery for penile adhesions (where the remnant of the foreskin heals to the wound on the head), could all be avoided, by not circumcising in the first place, with no ill effects...which is just what is done in almost every other country.
Thomas Tobin October 17, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Another study, this time from Canada's Journal of Men's Health If the doctor is circumcised, he tends to advise parents that the child should be circumcised, even if there is no medical basis for doing so. http://www.jmhjournal.org/article/S1875-6867(10)00050-3/abstract
Bill J August 16, 2012 at 09:36 AM
I am curious about how a boy could sleep through such a thing. When my daughter was an infant she would scream with a nappy change. There are cases of nurses (in the US) stating they were told to tell parents that the boy slept through it when in actuality they screamed their heads off. Were you present at the surgery?


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