If you are the new mother (or soon to be) of a beautiful baby boy, there’s an important choice you need to make before you even take your little guy home. Sure, the name is important and all. But the question you need to answer is: should you circumcise your newborn son? About 55% or newborn boys are circumcised in the United States, although that number is decreasing in later years. While the practice has a religious origin, nowadays most parents who choose to circumcise do so citing¬†reasons beyond religion. So, what are the things you need to consider before you circumcise?

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Potential risks

As routine as the process might be, it is still a surgical procedure performed on a newborn (sometimes even less than a week old!). This means that there is a lot of potential for infection and bleeding in the local area. Besides, there is the issue with pain, as this procedure involves surgically cutting off the foreskin, this is painful for the baby. recently, some hospitals have started using anesthesia for newborns undergoing circumcision, but this carries it’s own risk. Them once the procedure is done, there is always the potential for bad scarring that might bring complications in the future.

Potential benefits

Some of the benefits of circumcision cited by parents who choose to do it include a decreased risk of suffering from an UTI. However, UTIs are already pretty rare in both circumcised and uncircumcised men: less than 1% of uncut males will suffer from one in their lifetime. Another potential benefit is reduced risk for certain rare forms of penile cancer, but there are no conclusive studies about this. One study might indicate that circumcised males might have a slightly lower risk of contracting certain STIs, but the only study done was in some areas of Africa, and there are no similar studies done in the US or Europe.

Is it really your choice?

Parents all across the US cite a myriad of reasons for their decision to circumcise their child. Some cite religious or cultural reasons, some go for tradition and “wanting the boy to look like his father”. There are some mentions of subjective standards of beauty or circumcised penises being slightly easier to keep clean. In the end, none of these reasons really matter. It all comes down to the fact that parents are making a decision about their newborn’s body. An irreversible procedure with lifelong consequences, without the boy in question having a say in it. At this point, it really becomes an issue of consent. Is it ethical to make a permanent change on somebody’s body without considering their wants and needs? There’s nothing wrong with circumcision per se, but it should really be a personal choice made by every man about his own body.