Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin, the layer of skin that covers the penis. If your baby is healthy, you may have him circumcised before you leave the hospital or wait until after.  This procedure is performed by a pediatrician or a family physician at the hospital after the baby is at least 24 hours old.  The circumcision takes only a few minutes, and the doctor uses a safe analgesic to reduce the pain your baby feels from the procedure.

Reasons to Have Your Son Circumcised

It is your choice whether to have your son circumcised or not. Reasons parents choose this procedure include:

  • Health Benefits – including decreased risk of urinary tract infections and, in adults, decreased risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections
  • Appearance – you may not want his penis to look different from his father’s or other boys’
  • Religious or cultural reasons

Reasons to Not Have Your Son Circumcised

Some parents decide not to have their son circumcised for reasons including:

  • They worry about the pain he will feel or the risks involved
  • They believe it is a decision a boy should make for himself

Risks Involved with Circumcision

Circumcision is a minor surgical procedure. Complications are rare, especially if the procedure is completed in a medical facility by someone who is well trained in the procedure, but they can occur. They include:

  • Bleeding, infection, or scarring
  • Too much or not enough of the foreskin being removed

The risk of complications increases when circumcision is done on an older boy or an adult.

It is a good idea to talk with your partner ahead of time about circumcision to make a decision before your son is born. Your doctor can answer any questions about the procedure that you may have.

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