An Introduction to Circumcision

When it comes down to circumcision there are mixed opinions. Normally if a person has an opinion on the subject, then they feel very strongly about it. Natural birthing professionals are often very against circumcision on baby boys, while some parents-to-be or medical doctors are very pro-circumcision. I am not an exception from other natural professionals. I do believe in keeping the foreskin intact on a male until he is old enough to consent.

In my research I noticed that there is no obvious target male age range. Yes, it is implied that these posts are discussing circumcision on baby boys, but there are few conversations that come up about older boys or men. However, there are certain circumstances when a young or older male may need to become circumcised which should be addressed. Parents will defend the removal of their son’s foreskin by saying that it will prevent future diseases, but do they know the specifics of these diseases? It is possible that a male may develop Phimosis, which is the tightening/narrowing of the foreskin so that it is difficult for retraction. There is also Acute Balanoposthitis, which causes swelling to the foreskin. Both of these conditions can be uncomfortable and may require a man to become circumcised to fix the problem. However, these conditions are only present in about 1 – 3% of men today. So the alteration of a baby’s penis before they are diagnosed with any problems is quite unnecessary.

It is a natural instinct for a parent to try to protect their children from future harm; but there are better ways to provide protection than by physically removing a piece of your baby’s body. There have been multiple studies on the correlations of foreskin and STDS, which seem to be an increasing concern among today’s youth. Dr. Chris Dawson, a Urological Surgeon, states that:

“[f]ar more effective and reliable methods than circumcision exist to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, such as the use of condoms and adoption of safer sexual practices.”

It is perfectly normal to worry about these issues with your child. However, there is no need to worry about possible future diseases until they become an existing present problem.

Now it comes down to the main reason why so many Midwives and Doulas – myself included – are opposed to infant circumcision. Parents and doctors circumcise baby boys without their consent. We are presently living in a conscious society focussed on people’s feelings and rights. If we have to legally consent to sex, why is it alright for parents and doctors to modify their son’s bodies without the owner’s permission? Our bodies belong to us, not our parents or our doctors. It is better to educate a male when he is old enough to make his own informed decision than make a decision for him while he is too young to consent.

Each individual should feel comfortable with making their own decisions with what they do with their bodies. This is one of the universal goals of each natural birth professional: to educate people about their rights, starting from birth.

For more knowledge on circumcision, Dr. Chris Dawson discusses the subject here: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/menshealth/facts/circumcision.htm