Circumcision – Medical And Ethical Aspects To Consider

Circumcision can be a sensitive subject, which raises issues of religion, custom and tradition – which causes a quandary in the mind of parents – whether or not Circumcision should be performed on their new born baby.

circumcisionThere are arguments in favor of the procedure, such as improved hygiene and decreased risk of certain infections – also, there are sometimes medical reasons why circumcision needs to be performed:

  • Phimosis in new born babies when the glans and foreskin develop as this can result in inelastic or tight foreskin.
  • When there is Inflammation of the glans and / or the foreskin called Balanitis.
  • Later in life if tight foreskin makes the act of sex painful.

In the first scenario, Phimosis, the conjoined glans and foreskin usually separates during childhood, so this is not a real reason for performing the surgery. The other two scenarios are not an argument for routine circumcision of a new born.

Consider the ethical implications of removing healthy, live, functioning genital tissue from a baby – there is the view that holds this as an infringement upon a person’s individual autonomy; even a violation of human rights.

The point is that this is a procedure that may have long term implications for a person, particularly when it is performed in infancy – without consent of the child. Not circumcising a child in infancy does leave more options for a male later in life. Circumcised as a baby, those options are no longer available to him.

There have been studies to show that circumcision can help to prevent AIDS and that circumcision is best performed in early childhood by parents acting in their child’s best interest. However this reduced risk is not as significant as to justify routine circumcision – there are other methods of preventing AIDS that are far more effective.

As for preventing other sexual diseases, circumcision appears to increase risk in certain cases and to reduce risk in other. Risk of penile warts increases and symptoms of certain other disease may be less visible so that there is more risk of passing on the disease.

There are mixed views about the way in which circumcision may or may not impact sensitivity and sexual pleasure – while there is one view that sensitivity is greatly reduced others argue against this.

There is one view that the infant brain perceives circumcision as violence and that bonding and trust can be negatively impacted. There is even the view that psychological harm such as post traumatic stress disorder could be caused by the procedure.

If this sounds farfetched then consider the simple fact that by not circumcising a child you are preventing considerable physical pain and offering your child more options for the future.


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