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The Circumcision Decision

Allison Hutton


Until recently, it was a routine, common practice to circumcise an infant male. Whether done in the hospital, at a religious ceremony, or through other means it was widely held that the vast majority of males were, at some point, circumcised. However, today's families are not so quick to have the procedure done, and many question the effects of the procedure on an infant. In fact, North America has the highest circumcision rate in the world.

When you talk to women, most will admit that circumcision is their partner's decision. I will admit that I am one of these women. Although I do not have a son, should the baby I am carrying now be a boy, I will leave this decision up to my husband. He has already stated that, should we have a son, he will want him circumcised. Why, I do not know. Not that I mind, other than the fact that I find it hard to bear when I think of the amount of pain a child must go through during this procedure. In fact, studies have shown that, during circumcision, an infants' blood pressure rises so high that it could be considered dangerous. I don't find it all that unbelievable, when I consider what is being done. This is why many hospitals offer (and many parents demand) some sort of sedative or anesthetic be administered during the procedure. I can clearly remember lying in my hospital bed, the day after Hannah was born. My room was right across from the nursery, so I could hear the babies at all times. I remember hearing the most horrific screaming from a child that I've ever heard, and was told by a nurse that it was an infant boy being circumcised. I thought that if that were my child, I would not be able handle listening to him in such terrible pain. She assured me that it only lasts a short time, and that they don't remember it later in life. I can't forget that, though. I've forgotten what it was like to actually be in labor, have a needle plunged into my back, and deliver a child.but the sounds of that baby boy have never left my head.

Many parents who choose to have their son's circumcised cite generally the same reasons for wanting the procedure done. These include wanting their child to "look" like their father, or most other males, religious issues, sensitivity issues, and beliefs that a circumcised penis is somehow "cleaner" than one with foreskin (although this isn't true). Many people also believe that circumcision is "just one of those things" that is done, when a baby boy is born.

I am neither for nor against the practice of circumcision. Like many issues, I feel that it is entirely up to the family, and is very personal. However, there are people out there who are very much against circumcision, and have strong beliefs as to why it should not be performed. These reasons can include subjecting an infant to unnecessary pain and discomfort for mere cosmetic purposes, having the procedure done because "everyone else does," an idea that removing the foreskin may desensitize the tip of the penis, and any risks that accompany a surgical procedure.

Regardless of your stance on circumcision, make an informed choice by doing research, talking to other parents, discussing your decision with your pediatrician and with your partner. Do not feel pressured in any way, by anyone who is overly for or against the procedure. Obviously you want what you feel is best for your child, and you have every right to use your best judgment to make that decision. Good luck!

My name is Allison Hutton. I was recently introduced to the Baby Corner by Elizabeth Geiger, and have found it to be a wonderful resource for those trying to conceive, those who are expecting, and those who are already parents. I am a stay at home Mom to my beautiful daughter, Hannah, and wife to my wonderful husband, Daniel. After a long journey battling recurrent pregnancy loss, we welcomed our daughter into the world on St. Patrick's Day, 1999. Motherhood has been the most challenging, exhausting, and rewarding job I have ever had! In my "spare" time, I enjoy freelance writing about issues dealing with pregnancy, parenting, infertility, and women's health. I hope to provide some insight to pregnancy, as well as information that can be difficult to find on the web. I look forward to becoming a part of the Baby Corner, and hope to make a difference, no matter how small.

Allison is a contributing editor for The Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.

Visit her webpage at

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