You just found out you’re having a boy! Now comes a tough decision. There are more circumcised men in the U.S. than most (if not all) Western European countries though those numbers are falling. Regarding newborn circumcision, a 2014 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings stated, “…the percentage had declined from 83% in the 1960s to 77% by 2010. They also reported that, “The latest data on male circumcision in the United States show a 2.5% overall increase in prevalence in males aged 14 to 59 years between 2000 and 2010. In contrast, there has been a downward trend in neonatal circumcisions, with the present analyses finding that the true extent of this decline is 6 percentage points.”
The decision about whether to circumcise your baby boy is sometimes controversial, often confusing and extremely personal. And lots of people are going to ask you what you’re going to do — and offer their opinions on the subject — so start working on your deflection strategy stat. The good news is that circumcision can be done at any age so take your time and don’t make yourself crazy if you’re unsure.
For over 3,000 years, Jewish parents have circumcised men in a religious ceremony called a Bris. According to the Torah, God commanded Abraham to circumcise himself and all of the males in his household. For most non-Jews, other issues, like health and aesthetics come in to play and naturally, men tend to have stronger feelings about the state of their sons’ manhood than women.
Read Related: 10 Reasons Circumcision is So Controversial
The medical community is somewhat divided about the pros and cons. Data shows that circumcised babies are less prone to UTIs, penile cancer and — as they get older — sexually transmitted diseases. However, it’s not clear exactly how much of a difference circumcision makes. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “…the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.” There’s also not a lot of factual evidence about whether having a foreskin increases or lessens sexual pleasure.
Many circumcised men worry about their little boys feeling confused or self-conscious if they look different from Dad. Interestingly, elective adult circumcision has been on the rise so that problem could be fixed if Dad’s intact.
A recent YouGov survey on the subject found that only 10% of circumcised adult males wish they hadn’t been, though only 30% of people under 30 are in favor of routine circumcision compared to 43% of 30 to 44-year-olds.
If you are conflicted about which way to go, do plenty of research so you can make an informed decision. The Circumcision Decision is a book and website devoted to providing unbiased fact-based info about the practice. Intact America is an organization dedicated to stamping out routine circumcision. Take your time. Ultimately you will do whatever is best for you and your family.