When my doula clients find out they are having boys, I sometimes get asked “When do I get my son circumcised?”
My answer is generally fairly simple: You Don’t!
Although circumcision may have been fairly common among men in your peer age-group, more and more parents are choosing not to circumcise. Every year, the percentage of infant boys being circumcised is decreasing. This is because, as we learn more about the impact of circumcision, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is an unnecessary prophylactic procedure that does not have enough potential medical benefits to justify the harm it does to male genitalia.
Since I’m currently taking clients in Vancouver, Canada, let’s look at what the official associations applicable to us recommend in terms of routine infant male circumcision:
Canadian Paediatric Society On Circumcision
The Canadian Paediatric Society’s position statement on circumcision says there is “no medical indication for circumcision” and “circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”
The College Of Physicians And Surgeons Of British Columbia On Circumcision
“Circumcision is painful, and puts the patient at risk for complications ranging from minor, as in mild local infections, to more serious such as injury to the penis, meatal stenosis, urinary retention, urinary tract infection and, rarely, even hemorrhage leading to death. The benefits of infant male circumcision that have been promoted over time include the prevention of urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, and the reduction in risk of penile and cervical cancer. Current consensus of medical opinion… is that there is insufficient evidence that these benefits outweigh the potential risks. That is, routine infant male circumcision, i.e. routine removal of normal tissue in a healthy infant, is not recommended.”
I believe choosing to circumcise your child is an important decision. You can read more about my opinion in Why Circumcision Debates Matter.
Something that we often forget about in the discussion on circumcision is the fact that foreskin does have a purpose. You can read one of my previous articles, The Function of Foreskin for an overview of the benefits of keeping male foreskin intact.
If your newborn’s father is circumcised, the two of you as parents may not be familiar with how to care for an intact penis. Please see Caring For The Intact Penis for information.