The Pros and Cons of Infant Circumcision: A Comprehensive Guide for New Parents

November 10th, 2023
The Pros and Cons of Infant Circumcision: A Comprehensive Guide for New Parents

Infant circumcision is a surgical procedure involving the removal of the foreskin of the penis. The execution of this practice has been a controversy for many years, thus, leading to varying views.

As a new parent, obtaining accurate information is crucial to determine whether or not to undergo the procedure. Gain extensive knowledge about the pros and cons of conducting circumcision on infants from this comprehensive guide.

This guide hopes to provide useful information that will equip you with the ability to make a well-informed choice about subjecting your newborn to the procedure.

Understanding Infant Circumcision

The topic of infant circumcision has sparked arguments since it involves the surgical removal of the foreskin that encloses the end of the penis. Its necessity has been questioned by medical professionals, parents, and ethicists.

Despite its longstanding tradition, many are beginning to question whether it should be performed on male infants. This translates to deeply analyzing its medical, historical, cultural, and ethical dimensions which is essential to our understanding of the issue.

Cultural and Religious Perspective


Circumcision has been a custom among various cultures and religions for centuries when viewed from a historical context. It has been associated with symbolic meanings, comprising religious identity, cultural tradition, and hygiene.

In some cultures, infant circumcision is considered a rite of passage or a way to conform to societal norms.

Medical Perspective

Medical justifications for infant circumcision involve potential health benefits. Studies have shown that it reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and sexually transmitted infections which include HIV.

However, the overall health benefits are debated. Several people argue that the risks and benefits should be weighed carefully before making a decision.

The procedure itself involves a trained healthcare professional using various techniques to remove the foreskin. Local anesthesia is typically used to minimize pain and discomfort. Though complications are rare, they can still occur after surgery.

Taking the necessary measures after surgery is indispensable for a smooth recovery.  To mitigate any possibility of complications, it is vital to implement the required after-circumcision care.


Ethical considerations arise when discussing infant circumcision. Some argue that it violates a baby's right to bodily autonomy and consent since it’s an irreversible procedure performed without the child's consent.

Others argue that parents have the right to make decisions about their child's health and well-being. This takes into account cultural and religious beliefs.

Circumcision newborn-Infant Circumcision

Pros of Infant Circumcision

Infant circumcision is a topic that elicits varied opinions and discussions. Advocates contend that the procedure offers various possible advantages. Here are a few of the benefits related to infant circumcision:


Circumcision is often supported by the argument that it enhances genital hygiene. By removing the foreskin, it becomes easier to maintain penis hygiene. Reducing the risk of hygiene concerns such as smegma accumulation.

Reduced Risk of UTI

Research indicates that it lessens the possibility of urinary tract infections. These infections may result in kidney-related complications. Circumcision acts as a preemptive step in protecting against such infections.

Decreased Risk of STDs

Studies reveals that circumcision reduces the likelihood of obtaining sexually transmitted infections. While safe sex practices and vaccinations remain crucial, circumcision offers an extra layer of protection.

Prevention of Phimosis and Balanoposthitis

Circumcision prevents conditions like phimosis, where the foreskin is too tight and can’t  be properly retracted which causes discomfort and potential complications. It also reduces the risk of balanoposthitis, an inflammation of the foreskin and glans.

Lower Incidence of Penile Cancer

Studies indicates that circumcised males have a lower incidence of penile cancer. The removal of the foreskin eliminates the environment that fosters the growth of cancer-causing agents.

Potential Psychological Benefits

Some proponents argue that circumcision may have psychological benefits, such as increased confidence or a sense of conformity within certain cultural or social contexts.

Cultural and Religious Reasons

Several families find circumcision an important cultural or religious practice. It may symbolize identity, tradition, or adherence to religious beliefs. Respecting cultural diversity and religious freedom is a crucial aspect of societal acceptance.


Cons of Infant Circumcision

Pain and Trauma

Infant circumcision is a painful procedure that causes distress to the baby. While anesthesia is often used, it can’t completely eliminate pain. Also, the long-term psychological effects of the procedure aren’t fully understood.

Decreased Sensitivity

The foreskin contains numerous nerve endings, which are believed to enhance sexual pleasure later in life. Removing the foreskin through circumcision can potentially reduce sensitivity, leading to decreased sexual satisfaction for the individual as an adult.

Potential for Complications

Infant circumcision carries the risk of complications which include bleeding, infection, scarring, and damage to the penis. While these risks are generally low, they still exist and have lasting effects on the child's health.

Limited Health Benefits

While proponents of circumcision argue that it provides health benefits, the evidence supporting these claims is mixed. Other preventive measures achieve similar results without the need for surgery.

Violation of Bodily Autonomy

Infant circumcision comes under scrutiny for its potential violation of an infant's bodily autonomy. Several individuals consider it a violation of a child's rights to remove a part of their body without their consent.


Infant circumcision has raised ethical issues, as many believe it’s carried out without medical justification. But rather, the decision is largely tied to cultural or religious beliefs. This raises questions about imposing personal beliefs on an infant without their consent.

Cultural Bias

The prevalence of infant circumcision varies across different cultures and regions. Performing the procedure based on cultural norms rather than medical necessity perpetuates a bias that might not align with the individual's personal beliefs.

Deciding Infant Circumcision: New Parents Guide

It's important to gather relevant information to make an informed decision if you're a new parent and considering circumcision for your son.

The Arguments

  • Cultural or religious tradition is one of the most common reasons. Many cultures and religions have long-standing practices as a rite of passage or for religious significance. If you’re part of such a group, comprehending this perspective is crucial.
  • Some parents consider the enormous health advantages. Nonetheless, it should be highlighted that these benefits aren’t substantial. Practicing good hygiene and safe sexual behaviors can also substantially minimize the risk of illnesses.
  • Those who are against circumcision claim that such isn’t needed since it could just lead to harm. They believe that getting rid of the foreskin results in pain, hardship, and probable issues like blood loss, infection, as well as scars.
  • It’s also brought out by some individuals that allowing a child's gender to be established without their consent is a violation of their bodily autonomy. They recommend postponing circumcision until the child is older.

How to Decide

As a parent, your views on whether or not to circumcise your son are the factors that matter. Your views could be influenced by your culture, religion, or personal values.

  • Nonetheless, it's wise to assess the advantages and disadvantages of infant circumcision before making a decision.
  • Also, seek advice from a medical expert to acquire updated and applicable insights that are tailored to your personal situation.

Should you decide, ensure that only a qualified healthcare professional is legitimate to perform the procedure. They’re the experts in sterile techniques and pain management strategies to minimize any discomfort for the baby.

Ethical Considerations

Bodily Autonomy

One ethical concern surrounding infant circumcision is the issue of bodily autonomy. Critics argue that infants should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies when they are old enough to understand the implications.

By performing circumcision on infants, their ability to choose is taken away without their consent. It raises questions about the ethical justification for subjecting infants to a permanent alteration of their bodies without medical necessity.

Surgical Risks

Another ethical consideration is the potential for physical and psychological harm. Like any surgical procedure, circumcision carries risks. While complications are rare, they can lead to adverse effects on the infant.

Mental Effects

Moreover, various research indicates that circumcision results in enduring mental effects, such as sexual dysfunction or post-traumatic stress. The potential harm associated with circumcision prompts a critical examination of the benefits versus risks.

Religion and Culture

For many societies and cultures, circumcision is deeply rooted in their beliefs and traditions. Ethical considerations in this context call for balancing the rights of the child with the religious and cultural freedoms of the parents.

It becomes a delicate balance between respecting religious and cultural practices while ensuring the welfare and freedom of the child.

Health Advantages

Medical institutions advocate that circumcision offers health advantages, However, there are others who believe that the advantages aren’t substantial to make infant circumcision a customary practice.

Ethical concerns arise when medical recommendations are based on uncertain evidence or when cultural practices overshadow medical necessity.

Should You Decide on Infant Circumcision?

The decision to circumcise an infant is a complex and personal one. While there are potential health benefits. it also raises ethical concerns and probable risks. Before deciding, new parents ought to research, seek medical advice, and reflect upon their beliefs.

Ultimately, when making decisions for their children, parents must prioritize their well-being and weigh the potential benefits against the disadvantages.