Deciding whether or not to circumcise your baby boy can be a painstaking decision for some parents. For others it’s really a non-event with the answer having been written on the wall since way before conception.
The Chook Whisperer and I were on the middle ground. Whilst we would have preferred to put our heads in the sand; producing three little boys within a short space of time pretty much forced our hand.
We had to make a decision.
We had no religious reasons for circumcising our boys nor did we have any particular opinion or view either way. We actually hadn’t really thought about it. Yet here we were, making a determination on whether or not to ‘alter’ our boy(s) and why. .
So as is always the case in our world, we researched. We educated ourselves as best we could on the positives and negatives of chopped versus unchopped versions of the phallus. And I have to say the information out there is varied, polar and overwhelmingly emotive.
On one hand parents are advised that un-circumcised boys are likely to end up with unhygienic willies and are more likely to pass on insipid viruses to their bed-buddies later (hopefully much later) on in life. Professor Brian Morris, a passionate advocate for circumcision claims it to be a preventative for numerous serious viral infections and penile cancer. He advises that the foreskin has a weak point which makes the penis more susceptible viruses to enter. Professor Morris likens circumcision to routine vaccination of children.
Some articles we read indicated that uncircumcised children probably wouldn’t clean themselves properly anyway and were consequently likely to need are more painful circumcision later on childhood. Oh and apparently circumcised schlongs are far prettier, more sexually useful and women are more attracted to a ‘helmet head’ versus the ‘ant-eater’ version of a member (no seriously – it’s in the brochure). I muse why that’s even a consideration advocated for parents when making a decision for their beautiful innocents. If that’s such a strong determining factor, does that mean that parents of girls should consider breast augmentation at an early age because men are likely to like ‘that look’ when they get older……
On the other side of the fence we also read that if we did have our boys circumcised they would be inflicted with extreme pain during and after the procedure that could affect their mood and personality not just immediately after but potentially throughout their lifetime. The procedure would put them at risk of bleeding, excessive skin removal, loss of penis or even death……hmm….
Interestingly the Royal Australian College of Physicians subsequently issued a statement in 2010 outlining that the level of protection offered by circumcision and the complication rates of the procedure does not warrant routine infant circumcision in Australia and New Zealand. In fact the Australian College of Paediatrics in 1996 expressed concern that infant circumcision may in fact violate their human rights. (Reference) Pretty heavy stuff.
But what about the argument of wanting our sons to look like their fathers? And considering 30years ago more than 90% of the Australian population of boys were circumcised (Reference) , that’s a LOT of Dads out there parading a ‘naked’ version of the wiener.
But if you think about it, the fact is that little Johnny’s ‘Johnson’ isn’t going to look anything like in my 3 year old’s words (that may have been put there by his father) “Dad’s enormous penis” for quite some time. By the time a little boy is old enough to have a pecker like his Pa’s’ he’s probably less likely to be concerned with wanting to be ‘just like Dad’ and more concerned with wanting Dad’s car keys and contents of his wallet! Not to mention he’s more likely to be spending his childhood peeing beside his peers than weeing next to his old man.
So that takes us to our next point, what is everyone else doing?
Around 15% of the Australian male population is being circumcised. So technically only 1 to 2 out of 10 of your son’s friends will be circumcised nowadays……
The following statistics are the rates of circumcision for each state in Australia for 2002:
In the time we did our research we spoke with other parents of boys. Some who had and some who hadn’t circumcised them and their reasons for their decision. We heard a lot of the ‘my friend’s/sister’s/colleagues boy’ wasn’t circumcised and because of reoccurring infections he had to be circumcised when he was older. The description of the pain little boys go through post circumcision isn’t nice let me tell you. But if you do a little reading, the pain an infant experiences during and post circumcision isn’t nice either, it’s just their less vocal about it (reference).
Of the parents we’ve spoken to who have circumcised their boys, the general consensus was that the small amount of time their boys experienced pain and discomfort outweighed their concern for their child experiencing reoccurring painful and potentially embarrassing penis infections throughout childhood.
But it seems that most of the parents we spoke to (and I emphasise most) made their decision for their boys with their hand on their hearts and their fingers crossed hoping it was the right one. It’s a high pressure decision when one of the options is irreversible.
When we eventually based our decision on the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ kind-of logic. We decided that we weren’t going to remove the boys’ tonsils, adenoids and appendix at birth so why would we remove another piece of their anatomy that wasn’t problematic as a ‘just in case’ measure. As it turns out we’ve since had to remove one of our boy’s tonsils and adenoids – make of that what you will but we still stand by our decision and hope we don’t live to regret it.
There is so much literature and research out there supporting both sides of the argument. Some provide compelling, highly emotive information. Some articles are just plain distressing. As parents all we can do is educate ourselves and make a decision either way with the interests and health of our boys at heart and hope to God we’ve made the right one. No pressure…..