Why We Chose Not to Make the Cut
By Heather Dexter
Are you pregnant? Are you
looking for every piece of information on parenting that you can get
your hands on? Are you researching everything?
With every decision you must
face as a parent, make sure you feel good about each one. Do not take
anyone’s word for it. Do not trust your doctor, your mother-in-law, your
best friend or your older sister simply because they did it and their
baby is “OK.”
Look within, seek your truth,
and make a decision that you will feel good about, now and in the
future. Put those nine months to good use . . . Prepare!
You’re having a baby boy?
Congratulations! Well ok then . . .You get the pleasure of deciding
whether you should “Make the Cut” or “Leave it Alone.” Will you
circumcise your son? Do you know what that experience is like?
There’s a reason that more
than sixty percent of baby boys in the USA are now leaving the hospital
intact. And why the majority of the planet is whole.
You can join the movement. You
can choose not to have your sweet baby boy’s most erogenous sexual parts
cut off. Instead you can choose to leave him whole.
Just like every other decision
you will face when becoming a parent, you should have an informed and
educated reason as to why you might want to have this surgical procedure
done. Yes, it should require research, discussion, and contemplation,
just like birth classes, hiring a doula, natural birth, breastfeeding,
cloth diapering, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, vaccines, buying an organic
mattress, buying organic foods, being a stay-at-home-mama, and the list
When addressing this topic with expectant
couples, doula clients, or health clients, there are two common
statements that I often hear:
We want baby boy to “look”
We don’t want baby boy to
be made fun of in the school gym locker room.
When it is all said and done,
you are the parents. I honestly and truly believe every couple is
entitled to their own parenting decisions, doing what they believe is
best for the care of their babe. As long as they understand the process,
and feel good about it, that is all that matters.
With that being said, I am going to share my
honest to goodness opinion with anyone seeking truth-based resources on
Those two reasons? Seriously, they have
absolutely no logical grounds to stand on . . .None . . .Zero . .
.Zilch. And here’s why.
#1 – He is your son. He has your DNA. He may
or may not “look” like you. Think about it realistically, how many
people really get to see his ‘nether’ regions? And will those people
really say to you, “Hey would you mind if I compare the two of you, I
want to see if your son looks like you…ya know… below the belt?”
On the flip side, at some
point your son will reach the inquisitive age that all kiddos do and he
is going to ask about Daddio’s penis regardless. He may inquire about
the shape, the size, the fact that it changes shape, even that there is
hair down there, but it probably isn’t going to be, “Hey Dad, your penis
is missing some skin… where did it go?” But if it is, why shouldn’t you
be able to have an open discussion with your toddler about your penis.
Don’t you want to be able to discuss health, sex, philosophy, history –
everything, with your kiddos? I hope the answer is yes.
#2 – I know firsthand just how
cruel kiddos can be. They will find just about any reason to make fun of
another child; from Four-Eyes to Freckle Face to Metal Mouth to Fatso to
Ugly to Slow Poke to Teacher’s Pet to Smarty Pants . . . I can
personally tell you the list goes on. And, I can honestly say I do not
remember any catch phrases including, “Foreskin Keeper” or “Un-Cut
Peeper?” Do you? Honestly?
16 Reasons to Rethink the
1. Your baby boy is born
perfect, with his foreskin.
The foreskin has multiple
functions. It is very different for a baby versus an adult. It is a
sexual organ that protects the head of the penis from infection due to
the happenings of what can be found in a diaper on a continual basis. It
is supposed to be there. Would you elect for your newborn to have an
appendix or spleen or tonsil/adenoid or gall bladder removal? At day
one? Wait a minute, it isn’t that out of the question . . .If his dad
doesn’t have any of those, why don’t we just get them out of the way
2. The first month with your new babe is
all about family bonding.
It has been established in numerous studies
that circumcision causes changes in infant brain function and behavior.
Marshall el al. (1982) and Howard et al. (1994) have studied the effect
of the pain, stress, and trauma, of male neonatal circumcision upon
subsequent feeding behavior. They each found that male circumcision
disrupts feeding behavior. Sometimes the infant is returned to the
mother in an exhausted and debilitated state in which he is unable to
manage the task of latching-on and feeding. Generally, the post
circumcision infant, who is in pain, traumatized, and exhausted, may be
less available for mother-child interaction for a period of several days
to a week or longer. (
3. His foreskin (DNA) is sold to
pharmaceutical companies for research.
Say What? Yes. That’s because foreskin
fibroblasts are big business. A fibroblast is a piece of human skin that
is used as a culture to grow other skin or cells – like human yogurt
kits. Human foreskin fibroblast is used in all kinds of medical
procedures from growing skin for burn victims and for eyelid
replacement, to growing skin for those with diabetic ulcers that won’t
heal, to making creams and collagens in the cosmetics industry (yes, the
product that is injected into puffy movie-starlet lips). One foreskin
can be used for decades to produce miles of skin and generate as much as
a hundred thousand dollars. (
4. The potential risks outweigh the perceived benefits of the
Complications include but are not limited to; bleeding, infection,
insufficient or excessive foreskin removal, adhesions and skin bridges,
inclusion cysts, abnormal healing, meatitis, meatal stenosis, urinary
retention, phimosis, chordee, hypospadias, epispadias,
urethrocutaneous fistula, necrosis of the penis, amputation of the glans
and even death. Yikes! Really? Is it worth the risk of amputation of his
penis or his death? Not in my book.
5. It’s excruciatingly painful and traumatic.
Yes. Circumcision is extremely painful – and traumatic – for anyone.
Just being strapped down is frightening enough for a baby. The often
repeated statement that babies can’t feel pain is not true. Babies are
as sensitive to pain as anyone else, even more so. Most babies scream
frantically when their foreskin is cut off. Some defecate. Some lapse
into a coma. However, the reason that some babies don’t cry when they
are circumcised, is that they can’t due to being in a state of shock.
Did you know that most babies are circumcised without anesthesia? Even
when anesthetics are injected into the penis, they don’t always work and
they are never one hundred percent effective. Being stuck in the penis
with a needle is painful.
about after the procedure? Babies are rarely given pain medication after
the circumcision or during the week it takes for the wound to heal.
Youch! It is the most erogenous tissue in his body containing between
ten and twenty thousand nerve endings. Enough said.
6. It creates a huge scar directly
on his central meridian.
left on the penis from removing the foreskin frequently tends to sedate
and weaken the main central meridian on the front of the body. It runs
from the perineal tissue up to the center of the lower lip. Some
researchers, acupuncturists, and practitioners of Eastern Medicine,
believe that circumcision may be an unrecognized, contributing factor in
the high rates of impotence in older American men. Could this be due to
the blocking effects of the penile scar tissue? You decide!
7. It isn’t my body. It isn’t my
If you have never had a
foreskin, you cannot possibly know what having one would feel like. You
only know what it feels like to be minus a foreskin. You cannot possibly
know now how your son might feel in twenty or thirty or forty or fifty
years. If you have your son circumcised, he may grow up to regret the
decision you made for him, but your decision is irreversible. (Yes, men
can partially restore their foreskins, but it is a difficult procedure
and the sensitive nerve endings are gone forever.) Leave the decision to
your son. It is his penis. He deserves to decide for himself. This is a
fundamental tenet of international human rights law (UNESCO 2005). As
babies cannot speak for themselves, they need special protection.
Balancing the potential benefits of circumcision with the definite risks
can be a difficult decision, but the only person qualified to make this
decision is the person the penis belongs to, as he is the one who is
going to have to live with the results (or mistakes) of the procedure,
not his parents. (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201109/circumcision-ethics-and-economics)
8. The foreskin is the same tissue
in utero as a clitoris on a baby girl.
I did not cut either of my
daughters’ clitorises off . . . oh, right that’s illegal in my
country. The foreskin isn’t just skin. Think of it as more like an
eyelid for male genitals. Women have a foreskin equivalent, too: the
clitoral hood, which protects the clitoris much as the foreskin covers
the glans of the penis. The foreskin and the clitoral hood, known in
gender-neutral terms as the prepuce, evolve from the same tissue in the
womb. How is it that North Americans are so uncomfortable with female
genital cutting in Africa and the Middle East, yet not an eyelash is
batted at the thousands of day-old baby boys who get separated at birth
in this country? How is this not hypocritical?
9. My job is to protect my son and
keep him safe.
The most sensitive
part of the body has been removed, and the parents are basically told to
ignore the wound and continue on as normal because this procedure is not
really a big deal. This in itself is shocking for me to hear clients
describe, as this is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath (First, Do No
Harm) that every doctor pledges before practicing medicine. The removal
of healthy tissue in the absence of any medical need absolutely harms
10. The piece removed on an infant
is the size of a three-inch by five-inch index card on an adult male.
Yes, ladies it’s a big old bummer: On average, twelve to fifteen square
inches of the penis are removed during circumcision. With it, goes the
man’s contribution to lubrication, in a physical sense. Using K-Y Jelly
or even coconut oil doesn’t really come close to the sensation of
physical lubrication that is removed with the foreskin. Man, do I feel
ripped off! You should too! Being fully lubricated is not the sole
responsibility of the lady. Both the man and woman play a role in
eliminating friction during intercourse.
11. Cutting off the foreskin desensitizes his penis.
It is a sexual organ. As parents, you are deciding your child’s sexual
fate and potentially the fate of his partner. Researchers have found the
specific reason as to why a circumcised man feels less pleasure –
callous. The thin layer of callous forms, causing the penis to lose a bit
of sensitivity and causing slight pain to women during intercourse. This
is because there is no covering on the glans, causing it to rub
continuously, eventually developing a callous.
12. I do not want to be responsible for the process negatively impacting
his sex life.
Morten Firsch of
Statens Serum Institute, stated, “It turns out that women with
circumcised men experience twice the risk that their sexual needs are
not being met. They are three times as likely to frequently struggle to
reach orgasm. And there is an increase of eight times the risk of
painful intercourse — so-called dyspareunia.” With intact men, the
foreskin provides a “gliding movement” mechanism that acts as a natural
lubricator, allowing more ease and pleasure during sexual intercourse.
This specific research finds that there are not just health risks
pertaining to circumcision, but also sexual risks. Did you know that
unsatisfactory sex is the second most abundant reason for divorce in the
13. This is a gruesome modern trend,
which was short lived. Have you considered whether your grandfathers
In the USA in 2010, only forty percent of newborn males were
circumcised, down from an all time high of eighty-five percent in 1975.
The circumcision rate is actually estimated to return to ten percent by
2050. In doing my research, I was impressed to find out that my maternal
grandfather was born at home in 1929 as a first generation American. His
bits and pieces were kept intact. Upon researching my paternal
grandfather, I found he too was born at home in 1922 as a first
generation American. He was also left whole. Somewhere, the tables were
turned. These folks establishing communities in a new world were told
their baby boys should be foreskin-free. Together, my grandfathers had
five sons (my uncles) and they all were cut. Together those sons had
nine sons (my cousins) and all but two became foreskin amputees. After
two short generations of this unnecessary and peer-pressured cutting
procedure, the tables are flipping once again.
14. Serious emotional trauma occurs
from removing the most erogenous body part on the male body.
Research shows that babies remember music, tones, words, mom’s voice,
and more while being in utero; they are conscious before and during
birth; and they remember pain. Why would anyone believe that
circumcision on a sweet new babe is without pain?
15. The majority of the planet is
Few industrialized countries
on the planet do this procedure routinely on day-old infants; the
majority of the planet is intact. It is an elective surgery, not
medically necessary, simply socially accepted in the USA. The British,
New Zealanders, Japanese, Germans, Swedes, French, Italians, South
Americans and most other industrialized countries do not cut their
children. Canadians have also begun to abandon the process.
So why does the USA (and some other countries) continue to do the procedure?
Just follow the money trail, mama. Medicaid spends $198 million each
year on routine infant circumcision in the thirty-three states that
still pay for it. This is a procedure that its own guidelines consider
to be medically unnecessary. In addition, private insurance programs are
reimbursing an additional $677 million, raising prices for us all. In
addition to the cost of circumcision itself, correcting its
complications are said to double the cost, bringing the total bill to
$1.75 billion each year. (
16. Because, unlike previous popular
belief, it does not decrease STD transmission. In fact, the opposite is
The U.S. has the highest
population of circumcised males in the industrialized world. The U.S.
also has one of the highest rates of STDs. A new study published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “circumcision
does not lead to lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases.” In fact:
“Circumcised men appeared ‘slightly more likely’ to contract a sexually
transmitted disease during their lifetime.” In the survey of fourteen
hundred men, “circumcised men reported several cases of the bacterial
infection called chlamydia, while the disease did not occur at all among
the uncircumcised men. Circumcised men “who had twenty or more sex
partners had more than twice the risk of bacterial or viral infections —
most often gonorrhea — compared to uncircumcised (intact) men.”
Yes, this is a controversial topic.
Yes, I want you to think about what this procedure means for your babe.
Yes, I want you to own whatever choice you make.
As you can see, there is an abundance of science-based evidence showing
multiple ways the choice to cut your son can negatively impact his
physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I don’t think it’s a hard
decision but you tell me that you are still not convinced or that you
are having a hard time convincing your partner?
Most parents are misinformed about the procedure, not having a good
reason to do the procedure, not knowing what actually happens to their
own creation, and then they are shocked when their son returns in
extreme discomfort and remains that way for several days.
Take a minute and watch a circumcision video. See how it feels to watch
a baby be cut. Imagine it’s your baby, the one you just birthed, the one
you created from scratch, the one you would do anything to protect. I
bet you can’t watch the whole video with your stomach remaining calm.
In the section below, I have even provided you with two very different
methods of cutting to watch and learn. Or search for one yourself.
Don’t turn a blind eye. Educate yourself and provide your partner with
information as well. You can make a difference in the life of your son.
Together we can change the lives of a whole lot of sweet baby boys.
If you still believe the procedure should be done, remember that each
medical doctor does the procedure a little differently, so ask questions
and choose the method you believe is best for your son.
Heather Dexter is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor with
a passion for all things natural. Although she works with a varied
clientele with a multitude of diagnoses and ailments, she specializes in
working with women during their childbearing years. As a Holistic Doula
and Natural Childbirth instructor, she believes in the body’s ability to
create and birth naturally. Heather is an attachment parenting advocate
and truly believes there is a natural remedy for every ailment. To learn
more about her services (available in-person, Skype or by phone), please
email her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read more of her writing at