Should we circumcise boys?

This is a topic of great debate. For centuries, people of certain religions have been circumcising their baby boys. The reason is that it reduces the risk of infections that can lead to life changing medical problems.

However, many people argue that circumcision is against the human rights of the child and that circumcision should be a personal choice made by an adult male (i.e. one who is over the age of 16 years). Also, circumcision is itself a life changing piece of surgery that many people regret having inflicted upon them.

In 2014 Brian D. Earp from the University of Oxford published a paper that tackled this question. His conclusion supported the idea that circumcision should never be carried out without the consent of an individual.

The research paper was: “Do the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks? A critique of the proposed CDC guidelines” and was published in Frontiers in Pediatrics.


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The paper concluded:

It is not altogether clear that a minor reduction in the (absolute) risk of certain infections or diseases—whose prevalence in developed nations is generally low, and whose occurrence can typically be avoided by other, less injurious means—is worth the “trade-off” of losing a part of one’s penis. What is certain, however, is that the answer to this question is likely to be highly subjective, and to depend upon numerous, unpredictable, and ultimately personal factors. Therefore, it should be up to the affected individual himself (or indeed herself,
in analogous circumstances) to decide about permanent genital-modification surgeries at such a time as he or she can meaningfully factor in his or her own preferences and values. Circumcision before an age of consent is not a desirable health-promotion strategy, given more effective—and less ethically problematic—alternatives.

 

Circumcisions is a relic of old religions – Jews and Muslims both circumcise their baby boys and parents feel that it is their right to do this.

However, Christian religions also support the idea that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) so it really makes no sense that people wish to mutilate baby boys. Did God get the design wrong? Is God imperfect? If the answer is no, then humans should not be modifying His creations!

This coupled with the fact that circumcision does not lead to any significant health benefit and poses serious risks (infection, post-operative complications and losing a penis). The cases of David Reimer and Mike Moore should really act as a stark reminder that circumcision is not natural and can be very dangerous. Although few people lose their penis you really do not want to be that statistic.

For both the physical and mental well-being of boys and men, circumcision should only be carried out by an impartial doctor at the request of a consenting adult male and ideally only for medical reasons.


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If you do decide to circumcise your son, be warned – they will scream and cry (*warning, graphic video of a baby being circumcised*) like nothing you have heard before during and after the process. Unfortunately, by this time it will be too late for you to change your mind.

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