Circumcision - what to consider?

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MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3212
Circumcision - what to consider?

Question for the Answer Box (i.e. responses from YOU!): We are having a baby boy and weighing options in the debate to circ or not. What information swayed your decision?

ChristaM's picture
Joined: 01/11/04
Posts: 713

That is a very personal decision. This is a list of questions/things to consider that I compiled and talked over with my DH and doctor. Hope that helps!

General Check List:

  • Is Daddy and/or brothers circumcised? Is it important that your son grow up looking the same?
  • Have you discussed the issue with your doctor?
  • Have you made sure that the right doctor will perform the surgery? If you are unhappy with your doctor's answers to your questions about the surgery or pain relief, or if you don't think he has enough experience with circumcision, find another doctor to do the surgery. You are your child's advocate.
  • Have you checked with your insurance company as to whether it will cover the surgery (any stipulations on coverage)? Have you asked about the cost of the procedure?
  • Have you written your wishes in a birth plan and read the consent form very carefully?
  • Have you talked to your doctor so that you know what to expect as the circumcision wound heals?

If we choose not to circumcise:

  • How do we care for the baby’s penis?

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Circumcision

  • What is your view about circumcision?
  • Who (typically) will be perform the procedure? OB, Pediatrician, Urologist, other?
  • Can we decide which professional we would prefer to perform the procedure? (Important in case you aren't comfortable with who is on call, or their experience level/results, etc.)
  • Can we (parents) or at least one of us be present during the procedure?
  • When is the procedure performed? During hospital stay or in the office?
  • If we elect to choose our professional for the procedure and it's not performed during the hospital stay, at what point in time do you recommend it be scheduled?

Questions to ask the professional who typically performs the procedures

  • How many circumcisions have you preformed? What has the complication rate been? What types of complications have you experienced?
  • Please explain, in detail, how a circumcision is performed? Which method(s) are used?
  • Can we decide which method we would like to use?
  • What are the pros-cons of each method?
  • What are the potential risks of the procedure? Do the risk vary by the method selected/used?
  • What types of pain relief/control do you use during the procedure? Do you use anesthesia. If not, why? If so, what kind? What are the potential side effects of the anesthesia and/or pain relief method used?
  • What happens if the circumcision is unsuccessful? Can it be repeated?
  • How often does the circumcision/skin folds reattach to the penis? What do you do in this situation? How can you / we help prevent it?
  • Will an unsuccessful circumcision cause permanent dysfunction (i.e., difficulty urinating, infections, sexual dysfunction)?
  • Will you do a follow up visit to make sure the procedure is healing ok?
  • What is the circumcision rate in the area (i.e., what will be my son’s peers)?

After Care

  • After the circumcision, what is the best care approach while it heals? What should we expect?
  • After the circumcision, what should be looked for in terms of possible infections?
  • Does any type of medicine need to be applied to the penis after the circumcision?

Insurance Questions / Costs of the procedure?

  • What is the cost of the procedure?
  • Research / find out any insurance stipulations. Does the procedure have to be performed by a certain professional, within a certain time frame, etc?
Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

What swayed us most was the idea that it's not our body and, quite simply, we do not have the right to make that decision. Our son was born with a fully intact & perfect body and the only permanent changes we are allowed to make to his body are those that are medically necessary for his well-being. Circumcision is absolutely *not* medically necessary for his well-being. If it becomes medically necessary for some reason in the future, then we will have it done with the proper anesthesia and pain medications. And, more importantly, he would be old enough to understand what is being done and why it is necessary, and be part of the decision-making. This is also why we didn't pierce our daughter's ears as a baby. When she was old enough to make the decision, she made it for herself.

There is a permanent loss of a good deal of sensation, and a build-up of scar tissue, in a circumcised penis. My husband, who unlike myself actually owns a penis, has often wondered what sex would be like with an intact penis. Most men don't know the difference because they were circ'd as babies, but those are circ'd in later life report that their sex lives take a depressing turn. He didn't want to deny our son the opportunity to experience the fullest enjoyment of sharing his body with his future partner.

indianajones's picture
Joined: 01/21/07
Posts: 1486

I'm no help, as both my kids are girls, but I'm glad this question was posed. With our first baby boy arriving soon, we're having the same conversations!