Is Circumcision Right for Your Family?

A Personal Decision

Whether your baby is circumcised comes down to what is right for you and your family. "We decided that things would be simpler for us to explain to our son later if his parts looked more like his father's," wrote one mom who had been on the fence but ultimately went ahead with the procedure. However, if you're leaning toward circumcision so your boy's penis will eventually match the others in the locker room at school, consider this: If the current trend continues, at least a few other boys in his class will be unsnipped.

It can be tempting to put off the decision until later. Some parents argue that circumcision isn't their call to make. Still, the AAP points out that the risk for complications is much greater for older boys than for infants, so it's better to do it when your child is a baby. "Plus, if he waits to make the decision as an adult, he will have missed out on the protective benefits during any previously sexually active years," Dr. Diekema says.

In some cases, though, the choice not to circumcise (or at least to wait) is a medical one: Baby boys with hypospadias (a condition where the opening of the urethra, the tube that empties urine, is in the wrong place) should not be circumcised, because a surgeon may eventually use the boy's foreskin for a reconstructive procedure. If you have a family history of bleeding disorders, consult your pediatrician before getting your son circumcised. And if your baby is born prematurely, he will need to wait until he is healthy enough to leave the hospital before having the surgery.

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