Should You Circumcise Your Infant Son?

Medical experts say the procedure can prevent STD transmission, but many families still oppose it.To snip or not to snip? That is the question in regards to circumcision.

For some, especially those who practice Judaism, it's a religious ritual. For others, it's a preference. For those who choose to make the cut, however, there may be substantial health benefits.

As per a recent New York Times article, the American Academy for Pediatrics recently released new information regarding the controversial topic of circumcision. Prominent experts say that the benefits outweigh the risks of the procedure, as male infant circumcision can prevent urinary tract infections in the first year of life and prevent the acquisition and transmission of STDs, including HIV, as an adult, as recently shown in a study in Africa. For the women with whom circumcised men become sexually active, this means a chance of preventing infections that could lead to cervical cancer.

Seems like enough of a push to call for male circumcision all around, yes? Not yet. While some parents have their infants circumcised without question, others still consider it a form of genital mutilation and vehemently protest the procedure. In the United States, slightly more than half of infant boys are circumcised; 20 years ago, about 80 percent were.

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Why has the trend inched toward not circumcising? There are several reasons not to circumcise - aside from the whole genital mutilation question - including cost (many insurance companies don't cover the procedure). Plus, there is a man's future pleasure to consider; I don't speak from experience, but I'm sure there is a difference between having a foreskin and not having one when it comes to sex, and it would be interesting to compare how a circumcised and uncircumcised man feel about the debate. Of course, previous studies have shown that circumcision has no effect on sexual sensitivity. For example, a 2008 study from Johns Hopkins University found that, of 5,000 Ugandan men, 98.4 percent of circumcised men and 99.5 percent of circumcised men said they enjoyed sex. But that's all subjective - of course a man is going to say he enjoys sex. Furthermore, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported the head of the penis is just as sensitive on a man who has had the procedure, as compared to one who hasn't.

But that doesn't stop the first-hand accounts of criticism; I have friends who say being with a circumcised man is cleaner because dirt gets trapped in the foreskin, although many (including me) simply say they don't have a preference.

I don't yet know how I feel about circumcising a future son. Judging by all of my single and childless friends' "Future Family" Pinterest accounts, our generation makes many decisions about our babies before we even get married - what color their nursery walls will be, what games we'll play with them, their names. But circumcision is an oft-taboo topic that, unless you're Jewish, usually doesn't come into play until it's time to make a decision. When the time comes, I know it will evolve into a serious discussion with my future husband and I, and I look forward to weighing all of the pros and cons. This new American Academy for Pediatrics report is definitely food for thought, and provides good reasons to be "pro-snipping."

How do you feel about male infant circumcision? Do you prefer circumcised or uncircumcised men as sexual partners? What are your experiences with men who have/haven't had the procedure? Sound off!

Written by Kait Smith for

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