Originally Posted by Tamera
In my opinion, the closest thing to a compromise is to leave your son intact and let him decide for himself. It's really a non-decision.
Leaving him intact= no decision to be made!
There is no risk to leaving him intact, as long as you know not to ever pull back (retract) his foreskin which is painful and damaging. The foreskin is fused to the head of the penis in infants and young children, and it has a sphincter at the end that keeps it closed around the penis when the boy is not urinating. This keeps the meatus and the uretal opening closed off and protected from icky diapers and uncomfortable rubbing against diapers/underwear. Later on, the foreskin serves an irreplaceable sexual function: first with the tens of thousands of fine-touch receptor nerve endings it contains, and secondly as a shaft that allows the penis to smoothly glide through which makes things more enjoyable for both partners.
There are significant risks to circumcision, including severe pain (many to most are still done with NO anesthesia, and the anesthesia that some boys get is not sufficient for such a painful procedure), infection, blood loss, cutting too much skin off (which results in a lifetime of pain), cutting too little skin off (which leads to adhesions and the potential for the "need" to re-circumcise), and a high risk of meatal stenosis later in life. During the recovery period, the open circumcision wound is daily being exposed to urine (which stings!) and poo (which is an infection risk).
You will only have to care for your son's penis for a short while. But it will be an important part of his body for his entire life. Leave the decision up to him! It's super easy to care for an intact penis. If he wants to be circumcised as an adult it will be less painful and much less risky. First, his foreskin will already be retractable. Because a newborn's foreskin is fused to the penis, much in the same way that a fingernail is fused to a finger, the foreskin must be ripped away before it can be crushed and cut. This is VERY painful. An adult skips that "step." An adult will also get full anesthesia (too risky to give to newborns) and sufficient post-op pain medication. An adult knows what will happen when he chooses to be circumcised. A newborn is being subjected to a painful surgery and recovery in his first days of life and does not understand why. An adult's penis is obviously much bigger, and it is easier for the doctor to be precise when cutting. A newborn's penis is tiny, and there is much more risk of cutting too little/too much or even cutting into the head of the penis itself. An adult can stand to loose a lot more blood before his health/life is at risk. A newborn is at risk for critical health complications after losing as little as 1 oz of blood (two tablespoons full).
Do check out the Case Against Circumcision forum here at MDC. Obviously you will encounter many there who are "against circumcision," but there is a wealth of information there about the risks of circumcision and the benefits of leaving babies intact. Post your question there, and you'll get dozens of recommendations for websites and books to begin your research.