Should Baby Boys Be Circumcised at Birth or Later On?

All over the world, the percentage of circumcised males is 30%. In the Philippines, 93% of our male population are circumcised.

It does not come as a surprise then, that to a Filipino couple, it is no longer an issue as to whether their little baby boy has to circumcised or not, but, actually, WHEN is the best time to circumcise him.

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When I found out that I was having a little boy, 12 years ago, I went into an extensive research on whether I would have my baby circumcised at birth or wait at a later age. This is the same problem that many of my patients face on the last few weeks before they give birth…only if they are expecting a boy, of course!

The first question I ask the parents is addressed to the Dad. Very often, the decision when to circumcise is based on whether Daddy was circumcised at birth or not. He usually wants his son either: (a) not to go through the trauma as he did OR (b) to go through the “rite of passage” as he did…Like father, like son, they always say.

Next, Mommy will ask me…”What is your opinion, Doc? Ano ba talaga ang dapat?”

Here is my answer. Readers are welcome to add to my knowledge since I am not a boy and I have never gone through the experience myself.

 

Circumcision at birth:

Pros:

  1. Cheaper (additional Php 10,000 to the Total Delivery Bill based on Asian Hospital rates 2011)
  2. “Less traumatic” for the child since he will not remember it (I think this is more accurately said as: less traumatic for the parents because they will not witness it happening, but nonetheless, it is still painful for a newborn, he just cannot complain or run away)
  3. No worries of being teased in school because he did it early
  4. Less bloody

Cons:

  1. “Traumatic” for the newborn (even if we give a local anesthetic, there is no way for us to find out if he feels numb because he cries just the same. In fact, doctors are more afraid of overdosing in anesthetic because it has more serious complications. So, sometimes we tend to give less.)
  2. Prone to infection since the urine and the feces may contaminate the wound especially if the diaper is not changed often

Circumcision at a Later Age:

Pros:

  1. Easier to clean and less prone to infection since the child is older and more responsible

Cons:

  1. More expensive (under General Anesthesia Php 30,000 or Local Anesthesia Php 15,000)
  2. Traumatic for the child because of the psychological fear of the procedure (but according to my husband, it builds character)
  3. Possibility of being teased in school if done too late

If you will notice, with these answers, the couple might leave my clinic more confused than ever. Because in all honesty, there is no definite right or wrong answer. The decision when to circumcise will still depend on both parents. The important thing is that they both agree to it. Walang sisihan!

This VERY IMPORTANT piece of information might help you decide whether to circumcise your teeny-tiny bundle of joy at birth or not … My two sons were NOT circumcised at birth. So there!

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4 Comments

  1. Beth Dabu says:

    Hi Dra. Sarmiento,

    I so like your articles! Interesting not only for moms-to-be but for moms “already” :-)

    Thank you so much for these blogs..and more power to your site, http://www.filipinamd.com

    Kind regards,
    Beth Dabu

    • filipinamd says:

      Dear Beth,

      I’m glad you liked the articles. I will try my very best to provide complete and easy-to-understand explanations for common health concerns of women. Thank you.

      Doc D

  2. Devon Osel says:

    Why do it at all, especially for reasons of peer pressure, when as you have written here, http://ph.she.yahoo.com/women-have-better-sex-with-an-uncircumcised-partne.html, that:

    “Overall, circumcision seems to reduce sexual satisfaction in both male and the female. This suggests that the removal of the foreskin may have something to do with reduced penile sensitivity. It is this excess skin that contains all the sensory nerve endings that contributes to arousal and excitement.

    This decreased sexual pleasure seems to be deliberate, the result which the rabbis, datus, and high priests of yesteryears were trying to achieve by having men circumcised.

    Moses Maimonides a philosopher in the early 12th century said that “circumcision was required to cause man to be moderate, because it weakens the power of sexual excitement and lessens the natural enjoyment’.”

    Well, this bit of information might come a little too late for many of us, since almost all of our Filipino men have already lost their caps.”

    Isn’t it time to stop dooming boys [and their future partners] to less fulfilling sex lives? It’s no coincidence that this is also a problem, when circumcision keratinizes and dries the penis: http://www.filipinamd.com/2011/08/vaginal-dryness-a-silent-concern/

    • filipinamd says:

      I most certainly agree with you.
      I have stopped performing routine circumcisions of newborn babies. I let the parents do their research first and decide whether they still want to go through with the circumcision or delay it till he is much older to decide for himself.