Thursday, July 24, 2014

To Circumcise or Not

There are not many topics related to parenting as controversial as the decision to circumcise or not. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the clitoris and part of the labia in a female, or the foreskin in a male. I think most of us in this country would agree that female circumcision is a form of genital mutilation, however it a very common and accepted procedure in other cultures.

What we do not see here in the United States is the same outcry toward the same type of genital mutilation performed on our sons. There are many reasons why parents may choose to have their son undergo this surgery – religion, culture, a desire for him “to look like his father” (perhaps we should consider cosmetic surgery for other parts of his body as well). Currently 54.7% of males are circumcised. Some of the benefits linked to circumcision include a lower risk for contracting HIV and Herpes., however the surgical procedure does not come risk free

If you are considering circumcision for your son, we encourage you to do your research – watch the video, read about the pros and cons, and research the surgeon performing the surgery. There are many reasons why parents chose to circumcise and there are just as many that parents chose not to. It is our position that each couple should make informed choices regarding their baby's health care and the their medical team should respect their decisions.
On a personal note, I believe that nature should not be challenged. Foreskin serves a purpose and nature put it there for a reason. Let's respect the beauty of a natural, intact penis.

Written by Emma Morrison MS, LM, CPM


  1. Even if it's true that circumcision reduces the chances of acquiring HIV and herpes (there are many scientific studies showing they have no effect, and rates of these infections in Europe, where most men are intact, are lower than in the U.S.), again - even if circumcision were to reduce the risk of those diseases, BABIES are not having sex, and are not at risk. To say that it's the parent's choice to remove permanently remove the most sensitive part of their baby boy's penis violates HIS basic human rights, and also violates all principle of a "Beautiful Beginning Birth." How sad, Emma, that despite you giving your personal opinion that circumcision is unnecessary, you essentially legitimate the opposite. Midwives and other health care professionals need to stand by their beliefs, and respect basic bioethics.

  2. Thank you for this thoughtful and sensitive article. I am sharing the link here to my own website (which also has links to many others.) Birth should be beautiful and unhampered. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you for the link to your website! My intent in creating a blog was to empower women by giving them resources to find information to make informed choices instead of being "bullied" by mainstream medical advice that is antiquated. Your website is a great contribution to building women's awareness and understanding!

  3. Thank you for your insight, Georganne. Please remember that we are not here to judge others for having different opinions from our own. You obviously are very opposed to circumcision, but others feel just as strongly in favor of circumcision. Our center is not set up to tell someone that chooses circumcision that they are wrong, especially if it is based on religious grounds, or their own independent research and intuition. What is right for one family is not necessarily right for every family.

  4. Thanks BBB, I agree that Nature Knows Best. You didn't mention the right of the child to Genital Autonomy, the right to grow up as G*d made him until he can choose for himself. Check out Babies Are People.

  5. Once we understand the physical and psychological harm of circumcision, we realize that no excuse is good enough to excuse the pain and trauma inflicted upon an infant who will have to live with the consequences of parental choice. After all, it is the baby's body, his right to genital integrity, and his freedom of choice that are being denied when his parents think they have a right to cut a normal part of his body off. Personal preference, cultural norms, and religious bias of the parents do not trump the rights of the child!