What Motivates Parents to get their
Baby Boy Circumcised?
The reasons for circumcision, at least in a survey carried out as part of a study at Sydney Hospital, were: 3% for religious reasons, 1-2% for medical, with the remainder suggested by the researchers as "to be like dad" or a preference of one or both parents for whatever reason [Donovan et al., 1994].
Australian survey of parents:
A survey in 2007 of parents who were having their sons circumcised in a circumcision clinic in Melbourne found that the most common perceived benefit was hygiene (96%) [Xu & Goldman, 2008]. Other reasons were family tradition (57%), medical (36%) and esthetics, with 14% believing it improved sexual performance/enjoyment as an adult and looked better to women. The most common concern was pain (79%), apparently not realizing that circumcision can be completely pain-free when the Russell method is used (see sections "The Procedure Itself" and "Analgesia"). Many parents (41%) thought more information should be made available to parents prior to the birth so as to help in decision-making. Those who had earlier sons circumcised were more likely to get subsequent sons circumcised earlier (P = 0.02).
A US survey of new mothers:
In a survey of new mothers in the USA, hygiene and appearance were the two major reasons for choosing to have their newborn son circumcised [Williamson & Williamson, 1988]. There was a strong correlation between their son's circumcision status and the woman's ideal male partner's circumcision status for intercourse. Thus by being circumcised they thought that their sons would likewise be more attractive to a future sexual partner (with the implication that they would be at an advantage in passing on their, and therefore the mother's, genes to the subsequent generation). Their own preference thus affected their choice for their sons.
The main reasons are therefore hygiene and appearance. Much more on attitudes is presented in the section on "Socio-sexual Aspects".