- Advice & Education
- Community Support
- International Family Equality
- Legal & Financial
- News & Politics
- Travel & Vacations
My wife and I are at the point in our pregnancy where we need to let our OB/GYN know if we are planning to have our son circumcised. Making this decision has been very difficult for us and we have been seeking the guidance of as many resources as possible. We’re not religious and don’t have any cultural reasons to do it. We’re a lesbian couple, so there’s no need to emulate the father figure.
So far, we have consulted our What to Expect When You’re Expecting book, Medline Plus, FamilyDoctor.org, KidsHealth.org, various male friends and several other resources in both print on and on the Web. Here’s the gist of what we’ve found:
Circumcision is performed for health reasons. We’ve heard the advantages, including statements from the American Urological Association of slightly lower risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and cancer of the penis (which is very rare) in circumcised men. And we’ve also heard about the disadvantages, like the unnecessary risk of an elective surgery.
Circumcision prevents STDs. KidsHealth.org posts that “Some studies indicate that the procedure might offer an additional line of defense against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV.” Talking to our son about sex and teaching him the importance of using protection is a top priority for us. Although circumcision is an “additional line of defense,” the condom should be the first-line.
Circumcision is the norm. As one of our male friends joked, “He has two moms, do you want him to get made fun for his penis too?” Research says, though, that our son may not be the only boy in the locker room with foreskin. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, within the Western region of the United States (where we live), “newborn circumcisions dropped from 62 percent in 1980 to 37 percent in 1999.” Similarly stated on KidsHealth.org, “Approximately 55% to 65% of all newborn boys are circumcised in the United States each year, though this rate varies by region (western states have the lowest rates and the north central region has the highest).”
With all that said, we’re leaning towards not circumcising our son. As stated on FamilyDoctor.org, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the benefits of circumcision are not significant enough to recommend circumcision as a routine procedure and that circumcision is not medically necessary.”
Ultimately, we’d like to leave the decision up to him. I know, I know…what man wants to get their foreskin cut off later in life? See, even though we're responsible for making decisions on our son’s behalf until he is old enough to do so, we feel that those decisions should be based on reason and supporting evidence. From what we have gathered, there isn't sufficient evidence to make a strong case for circumcism, so we feel comfortable leaving it up to our son later in life.