If you're expecting a new baby, there are a host of important decisions that you'll be faced with-and if your baby is a boy, you'll need to decide whether or not to circumcise. To help you weigh the facts, we've reviewed the pros and cons of this sometimes controversial procedure.

The Basics

If you don't know the logistics of a circumcision, it's relatively simple. Circumcision is a common surgical procedure that removes the layer skin that covers to the tip of the penis. This is typically done on newborn males before they leave the hospital, but deciding whether to have it done is left up to the parents' preferences.

Having male babies circumcised is a tradition in the Jewish and Islamic faiths, though, so if you belong to either of these groups, it's likely you will want to have this done.

Circumcision Pros and Cons: The Positives

If you don't follow any religion that advocates for circumcision, deciding to go this route will be a very personal decision. Many people of a variety of faiths do have this done, in part because there are some documented medical health benefits that come along with saying yes. However, it's important to note that these benefits aren't enough for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to make a widespread recommendation that all boys should be having this done at this point.

If you're considering circumcision, please review the following list of overall advantages it could have for your child.

Circumcised infants:

  • Have a lower risk of getting urinary tract infections in their first twelve months or so.
  • Have a reduced risk of penis cancer, although this is a rare type of cancer anyway overall.
  • Are at reduced risk for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Have easier self-hygiene and social acceptance.

Circumcision Pros and Cons: The Risks

While the risks associated with being circumcised are rare, the fact is that they do exist. Here are some of the concerns and negative affects that exist with this process, which are worth factoring into the equation so you can make an educated decision.

Circumcised newborns run the slight risk of:

  • Minor bleeding or infection
  • Healing complications
  • Improperly cut foreskin
  • Irritation on the tip of the penis that can cause problems urinating.

Caring for a Circumcision

Some new parents who are considering circumcision pros and cons may also be concerned about the responsibility involved in caring for this sensitive area. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to handle. Remember to not to touch or clean the area where the procedure has been performed.  Instead, focus on cleaning only the outside of the foreskin until it stretches on its own, which usually occurs by the time a little boy is several years old. After that point, he should be able to clean it himself, either with or without your help.




American Academy of Pediatrics


The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists