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Circumcision: At Birth or a Rite of Passage?



It all goes back to ancient times when circumcision is routinely done to boys as a rite of passage from childhood and full acceptance to a group or society.


But nowadays, did you ever think that you have the decision to have your son circumcised or not?  You might be contemplating whether to have him circumcised when he’s still a baby or wait until a certain age, or maybe not at all. This article will give you information about circumcision for newborns and what the beliefs are that surround this practice in this modern day.


What is male circumcision?


It is the surgical removal of the foreskin to expose the tip of the penis.


Why do boys have circumcision nowadays?


There are many reasons why boys get circumcised. It might be for hygienic purposes, medical advice, social and community acceptance, or a cultural need.



How is newborn circumcision done?


Baby boys are circumcised one to ten days after birth and this is usually done in the nursery.  The baby is awake and will be positioned to lie on his back with his arms and legs restrained.  After the penis and surrounding area have been prepared for surgery, an aesthetic cream or injected aneasthesia will be applied to the base of the penis. A special clamp or plastic ring will be attached to the penis to remove the foreskin. After the operation, the penis will be covered with petroleum jelly and wrapped loosely with bandage to prevent the wound from sticking to his diaper. This procedure will only take 10 minutes with very minimal bleeding.


Recovery will take seven to 10 days. The tip will be sore and tender at first, as it appears red, swollen, and bruised.  There might be a yellow crust at the tip of the penis but this will soon subside as the penis heals. Newborns are said to heal much quicker and experience minimal pain from the ordeal compared to older boys, which is why circumcision is often decided upon after giving birth.



Should you circumcise your baby?


Many experts believe that circumcision is not necessary anymore. They ascertain that there is no medical reason for “standard” circumcision for all boys. Circumcision is a choice and no medical institution requires routine neonatal circumcision.


They state that foreskin is not a birth defect and can later be retracted in life. The foreskin is not fully separable from the head of the penis in about 96% of newborn boys, but by three years, the foreskin can be retracted in 80% to 90% of uncircumcised boys.    


They also debate that children should be protected from permanent body alteration inflicted to them without their consent in the name of parental preference, religion, culture, and social acceptance.


On the medical side, benefits of circumcision include easier cleaning of the penis, decreased instances of Urinary Tract Infection and other diseases, and prevention of penile problems such as Phimosis, a known condition in which the foreskin is inflamed and causes pain and difficulty during retraction.



Whatever your decision is, remember that you are deciding for you and your child. Culturally, the Philippines still views the practice as a rite of passage, but the notion is slowly shifting as studies and experts educate parents that circumcision is a choice rather than a requirement. You may find yourself debating whether newborn circumcision will save your son from future physical and emotional pain or if waiting for his decision as he grows older is best for his well being. Weigh the facts and consequences with your doctor to help you arrive at a conclusion.


Sura Nualpradid /

arztsamui /

David Castillo Dominici /