I dont know how many parents these days are considering circumcising their baby boys…. For me and my family, this is a decision we made as soon as i found out I was pregnant with a boy. Before Kody was even born we had discussed circumcision with my OBGYN and was told that it would not be an easy matter given the current backlash by many doctors to the procedure in our home state NSW.
I come from a background where circumcising baby boys is not uncommon and my husband is Ni-Vanuatu, and in his culture boys get circumcised at age 7-8 years with a bamboo knife in a coming-of-age ceremony. Thus, we decided that our baby should be circumcised as soon after his birth as we could organise it to minimise the psychological and physical trauma my husband faced as a young boy after his circumcision. I was told by my doctor before his birth that they could not perform the procedure in the hospital until he was at least 12 months old to minimise any risk from the need for general anaesthetic. This was backed up by my GP before and shortly after our boy, Kody was born in May 2011.
In the mean time my step-sister gave birth to a baby boy and had found a doctor who performed a circumcision at 3 weeks of age. By this time Kody was 8 months old and keenly discovering his penis every time he was nappy free. I called the doctor my sister had seen to see if he would perform a circumcision on our boy, alas, i was told that he and most other doctors would only perform the procedure on boys up to 5 weeks. I was a bit taken a back given the information I had been given months earlier. I must have made contact with at least a dozen practices in search of a doctor who could help us out. Each time i was given one of two answers:
1) We only circumcise boys up to the age of 5-6 weeks; or,
2) Pay an extraordinary amount of money (ranging from $800 to $2500) have to procedure performed in a hospital under general anaesthetic
I researched the internet extensively and found that if we lived in QLD or VIC, we could have the procedure done at any time up to the age of 2 years with minimal fuss and for a fraction of the cost here in NSW.
I know that not everyone agrees with the practice of circumcision, but it is our choice. I just wish that I would have been give accurate information in the first place about the matter. Now Kody is 20 months old and still uncircumcised while we try to save the money to have the procedure. In the meantime he continues to play with him self, and as he is getting older i am worried about the possibility of him getting infections from dirty hands as he has a habit of taking off his nappies just to get to his penis and as an active toddler i cannot keep his hands clean all the time. I have already had to take him to the doctor to check the tip as it has been getting red. Even given this, there is still a reluctance to have him referred to a paediatric urologist to see if in his case a circumcision would be medically warranted, and not just our preference.
The whole experience has been bewildering to my family and me. At this point in time I feel very disappointed by the medical community when it comes to respecting our wishes in regard to this matter. I wonder how many other parents of boys have faced the same issues.
Posted by karina.nowak, 1st March 2013