Considering that my wife and I had our first baby, a boy back in Sept. So we had to face this very question not too long ago.
I can tell you it wasn't an easy decision to make.
As a parent you want to do whats best for your children to make them happy and healthy.
You also don't want to be impossing your own will on your child. You basicly want them to have the freedom to choose to live thier life the way they want.
However the reality is that a little baby can't communicate to you how it wants to live it's life beyond eating and pooping. It certainly can't give you it's take on major decisions like circumcision and won't be able to do that for a very long time.
The reality is that your going to have to make alot of major life decisions for your child before thier mature enough to make choices for themselves. You don't have the luxury of avoiding those decisions... it's part of your job and responsibilty as a parent. Certain decisions just can't be put off until the child gets old enough to make a choice themself. Circumcision is one of those decisions. If you're going to do it at all, you really do want to do it within the first few days of your childs birth. If you wait till later on it really does become a much bigger ordeal.
So as I said my wife and I were faced with this decision and it was a very difficult one for us. We did alot of thinking and talking and reading about it. We wanted to do what was best for our son.
Probably one of the reasons it was such a difficult decision was that it's one of the first major ones you face as a new parent. If you're a first time parent like we both were, you're probably not feeling particulary confident or used to the idea of parenthood in the first place....and boom here is this big, life altering decision that you've got to make right away.
Anyways, the first thing we did was research the medical aspect of it. My wife works in a health related field so she was pretty confident that there wasn't any overriding medical reason to have it done. Myself, the eternal skeptic, I wanted to make sure that was the case.
After doing quite a bit of research on the subject. We pretty much came to the conclusion that my wife (as usual) was right and there was no overriding medical reason to have it done.
There was some evidence that it did provide some benefit for certain types of problems but those are rare enough to start with and the benefit was questionable enough that it didn't really make sense to do it as a general procedure.
Tossing aside the medical question, the only other aspect we felt we needed to consider, and it was a very valid concern, was the psychological one.
The first part of that being that young children really do have a very strong need to identify with thier parents. I'm circumcised (I'm old enough that it was pretty standard medical practice when I was born) would my son feel insecure or uncomfortable if he looked differently then I do?
The second part of that equation was that it's still a very common practice here in the NorthEastern U.S. Would my son feel insecure or uncomfortable if he looked different from all the rest of his peers? Would he be teased? Would he feel odd about it? Acceptence among your peer group can be a very important thing, especialy for young boys.
Those were very important concerns for us. My wife was also concerned about the pain and stress our son would go through during the procedure if we had it done.
Frankly, that wasn't as important a consideration for me. I used to get in fights occasionaly as a kid, my attitude about that was always...
"A broken nose and a bloody lip isn't going to kill you... they'll hurt for a few weeks then go away... but letting some-one push you around, man that can eat at you for the rest of your life."
I pretty much stand by that today. Physical pain is really a pretty minor and ephemoral thing compared to what goes on inside your head. For me the real issue was whether it would cause my son any pschological issues not to look like me and not to look like most of his peers? That's what the issue hung on as far as I was concerned.
So I went out and did some research on exactly what percentage of boys in this area (i.e. my sons future peers) were having it done these days. As it turned out, it wasn't nearly as high as I had assumed it was. I think it was something like only 70-75% of boys born in my area were circumcised. That pretty much decided it for me.
If at least some of my son's classmates were also uncircumcised I figured he wouldn't be feeling so out of place. I can explain to him why he doesn't look like me.... and it'll be easy enough to explain to him how people are different if he at least knows that some of his classmates look like him.
My wife concurred, so we decided not to have him circumcised. We don't regret it. If it was something like 95% of his classmates were, then we probably would have had it done.
The only real thing I take issue with is the authors assumption that some-how he has the right to dictate to me what decisions I must make for my son. When you are willing to make ALL the decisions I have to make for my son... AND take responsiblty for dealing with consequences of all those decisions.... AND do all the hard work and emotional investment of raising my son. THEN you can come into my home and tell me what I must decide. UNTIL you are willing to do that, keep your dictates to yourself.