When I was pregnant with Arbor, I started learning all about infant care and researching things I was unfamiliar with. Until we hit the 20 week mark and discovered she was a girl, the topic of routine infant circumcision (RIC) was of particular interest to me. I shelved my research after her anatomy scan but simply had to learn more after she was born. Because we are expecting again and won’t be learning the gender until delivery day, I felt it would be appropriate for me to share some of my findings with you all.
The foreskin is a highly specialized organ that serves a multitude of purposes; it is not merely a flap of extra skin. It contains about 50,000 nerve endings and is a normal part of male sexual anatomy. The mutilation of the female analogous region has been outlawed in the U.S. since 1996 for these reasons and more. RIC is most frequently performed in the U.S. and is rare in other countries. Some nations, like Germany, have even began questioning the morality and legality of performing a permanent medical procedure like circumcision on an un-consenting minor.
We believe all people have a right to bodily integrity and autonomy. It is not my body and therefore not my right to choose what cosmetic alterations to perform on either of my children’s bodies. That’s why we also will not pierce or tattoo our children. That’s a decision for them to make about their bodies when they are old enough to do so. I would personally be really irritated if my parents or anyone else made any permanent alterations to my body and will extend that same respect to my own child.
The circumcision surgery itself is exceptionally brutal. Most doctors use little to no anesthetic because babies “won’t remember it anyway.” All surgeries come with a certain amount of risk including infection and death. In the U.S., 115 boys die from circumcision each year, usually as a result of uncontrollable blood loss. Other complications, like scar tissue healing wrong or too tight can cause serious sexual dysfunction later in life. While this was once a desirable side effect, as non-religious circumcision originated as a cure for masturbation, we believe a healthy sex life is an important aspect of adult life and we strive to protect all aspects of our child’s life. For these reasons and more, we have made the firm decision not to circumcise our next baby.
Stay tuned for my next post on how to care for and clean an intact penis.
Did you research circumcision while pregnant? Were you at all shocked by the information you found? I know I was!