Did you circumcise your son?

Two interesting stories about circumcision have caught my eye in the last few days. I wanted to share them with you because they give parents a lot to think about before choosing whether to circumcise or not to circumcise their brand-new son.

The first is a story about a large new study out of Africa that suggests that circumcision can protect against HIV and two other sexually transmitted diseases in heterosexual men.

The Associated Press reports that “Circumcised males reduced their risk of infection with HPV, or human papillomavirus, by 35 percent and herpes by 28 percent. However, researchers found circumcision had no effect on the transmission of syphilis.”

“Landmark studies from three African countries including Uganda previously found circumcision lowered men’s chance of catching the AIDS virus by up to 60 percent. The new study stems from the Uganda research and looked at protection against three other STDs. The findings are reported in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.”

“Evidence now strongly suggests that circumcision offers an important prevention opportunity and should be widely available,” Drs. Matthew Golden and Judith Wasserheit of the University of Washington wrote in an accompanying editorial.”

“Worldwide, only about 30 percent of men are circumcised. The figure is higher in the United States, where about 79 percent of men are circumcised, according to surveys by the National Center for Health Statistics.”

In past years the American of Pediatrics said there was not enough evidence to recommend routine circumcision of infants. The doctor’s group is reviewing its position based on recent studies.

The second story is about a family that was awarded a $2.3 million settlement after their baby boy’s circumcision was botched and the tip of his penis was removed!

According the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story: “The case involves a child, identified only as D.P. Jr., who was born at South Fulton Medical Center in 2004. In a suit filed two years later, his mother contended that the doctor who circumcised him removed too much tissue and that his pediatrician failed to respond when a nurse complained of excessive bleeding.”

“The tip of the penis was placed in a biohazard bag and might have been reattached if a urologist had attended to the boy within eight hours, one of the mother’s lawyers, David J. Llewellyn of Atlanta, said.”

“The jury found that both the pediatrician, Dr. Cheryl Kendall, and the physician who performed the circumcision, Dr. Haiba Sonyika, were negligent. South Fulton Medical Center was absolved of liability.”

“ ‘This case does point out one of the dangers of circumcision that every parent must seriously consider when having the procedure done,’ Llewellyn said. He contended that parents are not told of the risks of the procedure.”

So having a circumcision may help protect your child from contracting a terrible disease, but a doctor could totally screw up and damage his penis. It’s a lot for new parents to think about!

Did you circumcise your son? What did you take into account making the decision? Would you change your decision if you didn’t circumcise based on these new studies? Does the story about the little boy’s penis being damaged affect your opinion?

144 comments Add your comment

fred

March 31st, 2009
9:24 am

I am not circumcised, I would not circumcise my son. Would you circumcise your daughter? Is one any more cruel than the other. In my opinion (not medical by any means, so I can not speak to that) the practice of circumcision is barbaric and needless. I wouldn’t subject myself to that at this age, so there is no way I could justify doing it to an infant.

JATL

March 31st, 2009
10:05 am

I am not totally opposed or for it. I had both of my sons circumcised because the men and most of the boys they will grow up around are circumcised, and the info about the health benefits had already come out to some extent. I was worried the morning they did it in the hospital and relieved when it was over and nothing bad had happened. Botched circumcisions RARELY happen, but even one is horrible.

Fred, there is a HUGE difference between male and female circumcision!!!! A girl’s entire clitoris is cut off so she cannot “enjoy sex” and therefore won’t cheat on her husband. That’s the thinking behind that one. It’s brutal and nasty, and yes, greatly impairs a grown woman’s sexual enjoyment. It is usually done to girls when they’re elementary school age with no anesthesia. It’s disgusting! While I know it must be painful for a newborn boy, they do use lidocane to deaden the area, and it’s over FAST. My two sons didn’t even cry. AND circumcised men have no problems enjoying sex.

I think it’s fine if you don’t circumcise boys, and I think it’s fine if you do. My deciding factor was what he would grow up seeing the most and not wanting him to feel different or weird about his penis or have kids make fun of him -although in our area there are enough non-circumcised kids that I don’t think that would be a problem.

fred

March 31st, 2009
11:31 am

JATL, I know that there is a huge difference between the circumcision of a male and a female, and i did not mean to imply that they were in any way similar. Female circumcision (or more aptly named genital mutilation) would never be acceptable to me. However in both cases, you are performing what amounts to an unnecessary operation on the genitals of a child. The fact that with males it is done earlier and with lidocaine, is barely justification let alone a reason. Would you accept or even feel slightly better about female circumcision if it were performed under the same circumstances? I wouldn’t. I personally feel that any kind of body modification to young children for the reasons given, too fit in, religion, not to be made fun of are not reason enough. If there is a medical reason for the operation, then maybe I would change my mind, but from the sound of the study, and I have not read it, the cost of not circumcising could be offset with the use of condoms. Would any other operation on a child as young as this be as accepted solely for the purpose of image be acceptable? what about the Chinese custom of foot binding, the Thai practice of neck stretching with rings, the ancient practice of cranial binding? Yes these are all extreme examples, but they were done for many of the same reasons that we circumcise male children, aesthetics. Not reason enough for me.

Claire

March 31st, 2009
1:27 pm

I am 21. My boyfriend is not circumcised. Growing up, being teenage girls, my friends and I thought it was gross for a boy not to be circumcised. Judge as you want, but teenage girls do talk about these things, and experience them younger and younger. I never really cared, but friends of mine think it is strange and unattractive for a boy to be uncircumcised. Curious, I asked my boyfriend about this- he never faced any ridicule growing up. I think today it is more and more usual for a boy to be uncircumcised, so perhaps people will be less judgemental about it.

Penguinmom

March 31st, 2009
1:33 pm

We had both our sons circumcised. One of our main reasons was health related. After circumcision, the genitals are much easier to clean. Also, I knew of a case where a man in the Army had to have cicumcision as an adult because of potential health issues in the environment where he was being deployed. I definitely did not want either of my sons to have to endure that type of surgery as adults.

It is not nearly as involved as any of the other procedures Fred mentioned. It is removing a minor piece of unnecessary skin. It is over in seconds unlike those other customs that take years.

As far as replacing circumcision with condoms, if I’m not mistaken many men think condoms reduce their pleasure and therefore do not use them. So, in those countries where AIDS is rampant if a short operation could reduce the risk of disease, it is certainly worth it.

I really thought is was a no-brainer for us. They don’t remember it, it is easier to take care of and there are no adverse side effects. The risk of a botched surgery is a bit scary but I trusted our pediatrician. Botched ones are rare and it sounds like, in the case mentioned, could have been reversed if it had been attended to promptly.

test

March 31st, 2009
2:04 pm

birak

March 31st, 2009
2:30 pm

Circumcision issues suffer from fuzzy thinking.

To make him look like his daddy. Because most of the men I know had it done. To make it look “better.” These are not legitimate, clear headed reasons to perform surgery on a child’s penis, and force him to accept the risks.

A little lower rate of this disease or that? Supposedly easier to clean? Put into context, these arguments don’t hold up. It’s well established that any small benefits to disease transmission are offset by risks of the procedure, which include disfigurement (beyond what was intended) and death. Just imagine how many screw-ups there are which are not as bad as this one with the $2.3Million verdict, or which we simply don’t hear about because it’s settled out of court.

And even if evidence emerged that the clinically measurable medical benefits outweighed the clinically measured risks… that is demonstrably insufficient justification. Just run it through the female test. Would these potential benefits justify removing any genital tissue from a female? There cannot be two standards when the same potential benefits and risks are at issue. If there is, then there’s a cultural bias to be rectified.

motherjanegoose

March 31st, 2009
3:02 pm

We did have our son circumcised. Honestly, I grew up with sisters and really had no inkling about it either way. I did not consider not having the procedure, as it was something my husband had had done too and it was explained to us that most men in the US have been circumcised. While I am certain there was some pain, it was over quick.
I had a polyp on my cervix when I was barely pregnant with my daughter. My OB/GYN noticed it at the exam and told me it needed to be removed or it would cause irritation and possibly bleeding later ( that could be confused with pregnancy problems). I asked her if we needed to make another appt. and was told we could take care of it with a quick snip NOW. Let’s just say that was something I will NEVER forget. OUCH.

momtoAlex&Max

March 31st, 2009
3:44 pm

I had both of them circumcised, but because my husband insisted. I did not care for it. Around most of the world this is not done with the exception of Jewish people, but here in the US is common.

I guess I am kinda glad we did it after reading these articles, but it still seems a bit of a barbaric practice to me.

Penguinmom

March 31st, 2009
3:51 pm

There isn’t any comparable genital tissue on a female. So the gender comparision breaks down pretty quickly. A man’s foreskin is not missed if it is removed and its removal does not disfigure the man in Any way. Any tissue you removed from a female would disfigure her and possibly leave scars.

Again, the article is talking about countries where the percentage of the population with AIDS is significant. So, if you could do a fairly simple procedure that would save the lives of many of the children, why wouldn’t you?. This is saving boys and girls because the women get the disease from the men. I think it is wrong headed to allow supposed gender biases to stop you from saving the lives of both genders.

Lets say there were a million people who were going to get AIDS under the current situation. If we can reduce that number by even 10%, then we’ve saved 100,000 people from suffering with this disease. We’ve saved their families the trauma of losing a spouse or parent. And, eventually, the country might be able to stem the tide against new cases. Well worth the momentary fogotten pain as an infant in my opinion.

birak

March 31st, 2009
4:11 pm

No Penguinmom, you are indulging in a culturally popular falsehood. Some genital tissue is comparable between male and female. Clearly, whether the parts removed are missed is also a cultural perception, and not shared by all in a culture.

As to HIV, it’s nonsense to consider circumcision in Africa. This is a place where people can’t even get clean water or $1.00 worth of antibiotics to save a life from a curable disease. The huge sums of money spent studying and implementing mass circumcisions would be much better spent on these basic things, but American researchers are more interested in justifying their cultural obsession with mutilating the penis. Saving countless lives by constructing a system of sanitation, or providing a basic level of healthcare will not help re-ignite the lunacy of circumcising American boys which has been so fortunately waning.

Every person circumcised without an immediate medical necessity should be able to get damages from the doctor, because losing any part of boy’s penis is harmful and a violation of basic rights.

J.D.

March 31st, 2009
4:22 pm

I was circumcised, and at 20, I hardly have any feeling in my penis, on top of if being crooked! And there is a subconscious memory, at least for me. When I became aware of what happened, I finally understood why I’ve never been comfortable around doctors. No son of mine will ever have to suffer through what I have.

There is comparable female tissue. The clitoral hood is like the male foreskin. I’d love to see a lawsuit to declare the FGM law discriminatory, so a law to protect everybody would have to be made. I’d like to see studies on female circumcision and HIV done, since circ is supposedly harmless. I think if you’re too dumb to use a condom, you deserve AIDS. Also, those studies had major flaws. How many lives will be ruined to allegedly prevent a few AIDS cases? I’ll take my chances with the AIDS, if given the chance.

All of the reasons you “need” circumcision are garbage. The doctors want their money, and are probably cut themselves, and want people to be just like them.

If your child died or was maimed (more than usual) as a result of circumcision, would you ever be able to live with yourself?

J.D.

March 31st, 2009
4:24 pm

Birak, your mention of a lack of clean water brings up another major flaw with the pro-circ argument. How many Africans will die from infections from their circumcisions? It could end up being worse than taking their chances with AIDS.

Anita

March 31st, 2009
7:07 pm

Absolutely not!!! It’s a barbaric old religious tradition – just like female circumcision. Outlaw it, and let adults make that decision for themselves (I know no adult who would do it!). Poor idiot parents and their pitiful children.

Anita

March 31st, 2009
7:10 pm

Regarding the “looking like daddy” comment, I know of NO child who has a thingy that looks like daddy’s – with all that hair. lol

mystery poster

March 31st, 2009
7:28 pm

I did not have my son circumcised. I never even considered it. As for keeping it clean, we live in a country where that’s easy to do. Just bathe. He’s 19 now and very grateful that we chose not to mutilate him.

mystery poster

March 31st, 2009
7:42 pm

A couple more comments:
The looking like daddy thing is not a valid argument. What if the child has blue eyes and dad has brown? Children do NOT look exactly like their parents.

When I was pregnant for my first child, I heard a circumcision being done (My OB was Jewish). I was in the waiting room and saw them carrying in the circ board. Then, I heard the screaming. There is NO WAY that this procedure is not excruciating for a newborn baby.

aly

March 31st, 2009
7:51 pm

Circumcision of baby boys is genital mutilation on nonconsenting individuals. And it’s not over in seconds as one commenter mentioned. Have you ever seen a baby boy’s penis in the week following the procedure? It’s red and inflamed and the fact that he pees on it constantly inside his diaper causes much distress. Those who choose to circumcise don’t feel as bad about it b/c their babies can’t verbalize just how much pain they are in.

I’m pregnant with a little boy right now and we would never circumcise. It doesn’t make any sense to me that I would spend 9 months gestating a baby and doing everything in my ability to keep him protected and healthy. And then, a few days after he’s born, I would suddenly believe that skinning his most sensitive part–the foreskin is completely attached to the penis at birth so it really is like skinning an animal–would make perfect sense… If my son decides that he wants to be circumcised, he has the right to make that decision for himself when he can consent to it.

spooky

March 31st, 2009
7:57 pm

WOW big bunch of crazy out here today!

cheshire cat

March 31st, 2009
8:05 pm

As a gay men let me just tell you…a circumcised penis is just better looking.

Mark Lyndon

March 31st, 2009
8:14 pm

Apparently we can’t post links, but you can find all these medical society quotes at their own websites:

Canadian Paediatric Society
“Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”
“Circumcision is a ‘non-therapeutic’ procedure, which means it is not medically necessary.”
“After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions.”

Royal Australasian College of Physicians
“After extensive review of the literature the Royal Australasian College of Physicians reaffirms that there is no medical indication for routine neonatal circumcision.”
(those last nine words are in bold on their website, and almost all the men responsible for this statement will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%. “Routine” circumcision is now *banned* in public hospitals in Australia in all states except one.)

British Medical Association
“to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate.”

Mark Lyndon

March 31st, 2009
8:15 pm

Canadian Children’s Rights Council
“It is the position of the Canadian Children’s Rights Council that ‘circumcision’ of male or female children is genital mutilation of children.”

drops in male circumcision:
USA: from 90% to 57%
Canada: from 47% to 9.2%
UK: from 35% to about 5% (less than 1% among non-Muslims)
Australia: 90% to 12.6% (”routine” circumcision has recently been *banned* in public hospitals in all states except one, so the rate will now be a lot lower)
New Zealand: 95% to below 3% (mostly Samoans and Tongans)
South America and Europe: never above 5%

Mark Lyndon

March 31st, 2009
8:16 pm

The record payout for a botched circumcision is $22.8 million. It was said at the time that the victim “will never be able to function sexually as a normal male and will require extensive reconstructive surgery and psychological counseling as well as lifelong urological care and treatment by infectious disease specialists.”
Sure, cases like that are very rare, but why should they happen at all? If you look up the galleries of botched jobs, one thing that may surprise you is just how many jobs were botched cosmetically, rather than medically. Skin tags and skin bridges and hair growing half way up the shaft are not normal, but would not be counted as medical complications.

juicius

March 31st, 2009
8:19 pm

My Jewish college professor mused the tradition of circumcision could be a counter-Oedipal preemptive act to “bring the future rival in line.” Basically, father is saying “I did this to you. I had you at my mercy. Behave or I will complete the job.”

I don’t know but he was pretty serious.

Granny

March 31st, 2009
8:45 pm

An uncircumcised penis is gross.

Patty

March 31st, 2009
8:53 pm

Patty

March 31st, 2009
8:55 pm

Actually, I didn’t circumcise my sons, a very capable surgeon did it.

No Circ

March 31st, 2009
9:09 pm

It amazes me that the same people who wouldn’t dream of having their baby daughter’s ears pierced have no problem cutting off a part of their baby son’s penis.

Koz

March 31st, 2009
9:36 pm

Outlaw it? Seriously?

Sure as soon as abortions are outlawed then you can outlaw circumcisions.

The same people arguing that it is wrong to circumcise a child think that it is ok for his mother to choose to kill him.

Libs I will never understand you.

Eye_kay

March 31st, 2009
9:53 pm

We’re born with it, we should live with it. There is no other part of our body which we routinely remove, so why this? An uncircumcised penis doesn’t need nearly as much lubrication for sex and especially masturbation. It doesn’t get chafed nearly as much. It provides more comfortable and enjoyable sex. Foreskin protects the “hood” which is the most sensitive part of the penis.
It is definitely a decision a man should make on his own when he is old enough to make an informed one. Just because it has been done a lot in the past, doesn’t mean that it is right.
Most people have a mental block about it and in many cases their opinion has been formed never having seen an “uncut” penis in person in their life.
My wife never saw one before she met me and now thinks that they are a lot more “fun” when whole.
At the end of the day, it should be a personal decision, one parents shouldn’t make for their son. It can’t be undone and in a population where AIDS percentages are as low as here, the numbers from the Africa research simply do not translate.

amy

April 1st, 2009
9:09 am

I did not have my son circumcised. I had listened to/participated in the conversations as a teenage girl about uncircumcised penis being ugly, etc. and always thought I would. Then as an adult I read about it and talked it over with his dad, who was circumcised and has scar tissue under his glans. I learned that cutting off the protective skin of the penis desensitizes the glans over time and does significantly reduce the feeling and pleasure an intact adult male will feel there. (I even read one article where the author suggested that this reduced sensitivity may contribute to one common American male approach to sex as banging and slamming into women as the way to achieve orgasm! Not sure how you’d prove that, but it was not even something I had considered)

I also learned that there is very wide variation from doctor to doctor in the their skill and the amount of tissue removed and a parent has often has little or no say in how much is taken off. I found out that it is often done without anesthesia and can send babies into shock – so they aren’t crying, but they sleep through the next day or two to recover and can have a harder time with breastfeeding.

From what I could find it seemed that the increase in the popularity of the practice in America happened either to curb masturbation or after GIs returned home from war with STDs and it was mistakenly believed that circumcision could “solve” these problems. I have read in other HIV prevention study results that said when men retract their foreskins and clean themselves before and after sex this has the same effect as having had part of themselves cut off. So we are teaching our son about hygiene – it takes about as much effort for him to clean himself as it does for our daughter to clean her genitals. Then of course, there’s the methods that have been proven effective if used – ABC abstinence, being faithful, and condoms.

ladypapillion

April 1st, 2009
10:55 am

No, I did not have my son circumcised, and it was not an option I ever considered. My husband agreed that making such a decision for him was wrong, also (husband is circumcised).

And I see nothing visibly offensive about uncircumcised penises; they are in their natural form. My brother is also uncircumcised, and he is quite happy that he is.

DB

April 1st, 2009
11:54 am

Out of respect for my son, who would be utterly humiliated if I discussed his genitalia on-line, I will not disclose what we did!

But I will observe that I am absolutely fascinated by the amount of attention a small flap of skin seems to receive. Apparently, if you don’t have one, you’re “clean”, and if you do have one, you’re “dirty”. People don’t seem to be as worried about girls keeping themselves clean down there, and it seems to me there’s a lot more skin to keep clean that’s harder to get to for girls than for guys. So I pretty much discount the cleanliness issue.

Do it or not. I have no strong opinions either way. I’m a girl, it makes no nevermind to me!

Robert

April 1st, 2009
12:39 pm

“An uncircumcised penis is gross.”

Only to the ignorant and brain-washed people in circumcising societies..the other 80% think that a scarred, leathery, dried-up parody of a penis gross.

Robert

April 1st, 2009
12:46 pm

“After circumcision, the genitals are much easier to clean. Also, I knew of a case where a man in the Army had to have cicumcision as an adult because of potential health issues in the environment where he was being deployed.”

Retract, rinse, replace–hardly a burden.

Yeh, it was needed IN AMERICA–land of the foreskin ignorant–in foreskin educated countries, it is a different story..

First of all, for a man who was not circumcised as an infant the chances of him having to get circumcised as a adult are extremely rare. In fact it’s only 6 in 100,000. (0.006%)

Health officials of each Scandanavian country were queried about adult circumcision.. None of the health officials could provide precise data, because the numbers were so small that they weren’t worth compiling. Each official stressed that foreskin problems were present but said they were largely treated medically-surgical solutions were extremly rare.

“in Oslo, Norway, over a 26-year period in which 20,000 male babies were cared for, 3 circumcisions were performed-a frequency rate of 0.02%.

In Denmark. 1968 children up to the age of 17 were examined over a period of several years. In this group, 3 circumcisions were performed-a frequency of 0.15%. In this study, in retrospect, the physicians believed that all three operations might have been avoided. Both of these studies related to the infrequency of circumcision and puberty, they did not deal with the issue in adulthood.

Wallerstein, Edward, Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy. pg 128

In Finland — a non-circumcising country — the operative rate is only a tiny fraction of this percentage. A male’s risk of being circumcised for any reason during his entire lifespan is less than one in 16,000.

http://www.fathermag.com/health/circ/circumcision/circumcision4.shtml

The Finnish National Board of Health provided national case records for the year 1970 for both phimosis and paraphimosis. A total of 409 cases was reported for males 15 years and older,which represents only
2/100ths of 1% (0.023%) of the total male population in that age group. This means that 99.97% did NOT develop a problem. Moreover, according to Finnish authorities, only a fraction of the reported cases required surgery– a number too small to reliably estimate.
Wallerstein, Edward, CIRCUMCISION: AN AMERICAN HEALTH FALLACY p.128

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=269

Robert

April 1st, 2009
12:48 pm

“It is not nearly as involved as any of the other procedures Fred mentioned. It is removing a minor piece of unnecessary skin.

I think you need to educate yourself on the foreskin–it is hardly a “minor piece of unnecessary skin”, but a complex organ with the majority of the penile nerves…

http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/taylor/

motherjanegoose

April 1st, 2009
2:04 pm

Best point in this blog…those who have no issue with abortion but do think circumcising should be a decision made by adults. Who stands up for the unborn babies who are much more complex than a foreskin?

mystery poster

April 1st, 2009
3:06 pm

MJG, so it’s OK to do whatever you want to children once you bring them into the world?

JATL

April 1st, 2009
4:18 pm

Just another of my two cents -again, I really don’t care if people choose to circumcise or not, but if you do it’s YOUR business. We chose to circumcise our sons (and pediatricians don’t do this -gynecologists do because they’re trained in surgical procedure), and those of you who seem to think we’ve done something tantamount to child abuse are whack jobs. YES, I observed (very carefully) both little penises the week after they were circumcised, and yes they looked red and painful -HOWEVER -if my babies were in constant pain, they would be crying and fussing continuously, which neither of them did. I was actually surprised at how it didn’t seem to phase them. Also, if the foreskin is SO very important to sexual feeling, how do so many circumcised males enjoy sex so much? My husband is circumcised and VERY sensitive there. And finally -if a kid’s eyes or hair looks different than his dad’s, it’s not the big deal that the penis is. As a society we are HYPER aware of our genitalia from a pretty young age, and pre-pubescents and adolescents are VERY concerned about their penile appearance for the most part. I don’t think kids who aren’t but have fathers who are have horrible problems or anything, but there is some comfort at that age in looking like everyone else you know “down there”. If a girl makes fun of a boy’s penis because he’s not circumcised, THAT is scarring -and it’s sad that she would feel that way, but it happens. I believe in living in reality. I have two VERY happy, cheerful, smiling boys who obviously haven’t been horribly damaged by being circumcised.

As for those who want to start some abortion debate -I happen to be FINE with circumcision AND very pro-choice and liberal. Not everyone is the same, and I’m sure a bunch of these bloggers who seem to be a little too impassioned about being anti-circumcision are not the left-wing granola crunchers some of you think they are.

Stephanie

April 1st, 2009
4:56 pm

I did not circumsize my son. It was a decision that I agonized over for MONTHS after finding out that I was going to have a boy. I did a ton of research and finally decided that I could not have my new born infant put through so much pain when it wasnt really needed. I also did research about the percentages of infants who are not circumcised and found that it is rising every year, so my boy should have plenty of peers that look like him….we can name several out of his peer group currently that are not circumcised. I think all new parents should do the reseach and THEN decide- its your job as a parent to be informed before anything medical is done to your child.

As far as looking like Daddy- my husband is modest and I dont think they will be comparing their privates on a regular basis!

I will offer my son the option to be circumcised when he is older, no questions asked, if he has a problem with not being circumcised. At an older age he can have full anesthesia, an infant cannot. His foreskin will also no longer be fused to the penile head, as an infants is, cutting down the tramua there as well.

Theresa, Im curious- what did you decide with your son?

motherjanegoose

April 1st, 2009
5:10 pm

Mystery poster, I am sorry if my point was unclear…other posters are saying that a male should make his own decision whether or not the foreskin of his penis is removed ( no one should make it for someone else) but unborn children do not get a say as to whether they are terminated, adults are making that decision for them.

motherjanegoose

April 1st, 2009
5:15 pm

New story that was told me last week….

A teacher squirted shaving cream on the table at preschool and the children were smearing it all over the tables and making designs. One little girl asked, “What is this?”
The teacher replied, ” It is shaving cream and some Dads use it to shave off their whiskers or Moms use it to shave their legs…”

One little boy chimed in….” My Mommy uses it to shave her HOO HOO….”
The teacher nearly fainted. Not everyone looks the same ” down there” and this boy probably does not need to be showering with Mommy.

Yes, out of the mouths of babes….

Nurse&mother

April 1st, 2009
5:19 pm

Wow! Such strong feelings. I personally say, if you want to circumcise then do so. If not , then don’t. BUT, since there are such strong words/points being thrown out there, I feel compelled to play the devil’s advocate.

Several points to make… 1. My husband is circumcised and he seems to have all sensations “down there”. 2. Those who disagree with circumcision are probably the first ones that get their little girls ears pierced. 3. a pediatrician or the woman’s OB/GYN can do the circ. I personally chose my OB/GYN to do this since A. he was a surgeon and B. he is male oh and C. I work with them.

A few more points to make… I think the circ comes down to personal preference. Although obviously there have been “botched” circs, please do a little doctor searching first. There are always a few quacks that happen to get by med school barely passing. DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST.

Also, female mutilation is NOT even in the same ball park as male circumcision.

**JD**- just curious. Why were you circumcised at 20? Could you not clean yourself properly? (just using the logic the anti-circ folks are using). I had rather my son have this done while he was young and would not remember ( not to mention have a quicker recovery) than when he is older if he had to. JMHO.

Hey Mark- we are not in Canada. I agree with another poster who mentions that those who oppose circumcision due to the “mutilation” are probably the same ones who do not have a problem with abortion. If you think cutting a little flap of skin is rough- try having your brains sucked out an a fetus.

It’s interesting how social norms/opinions change with the times. Even schools of though within the medical field are not immune.

Nurse&mother

April 1st, 2009
5:23 pm

meant to say “schools of thought” not though.

Nurse&mother

April 1st, 2009
5:47 pm

OK, I forgot to mention about the STD’s and circ. Certainly circumcision should not be done for the sole purpose of preventing STD’s. However, circumcision, in addition to using condoms, could greatly decrease one’s risk. I think that is why the research was done in the first place. I’m betting that Africa was chosen as the research site due to the AIDS epidemic (and not so because researchers thought this would be the first line of defense against AIDS).

Robert

April 1st, 2009
7:38 pm

“Just another of my two cents -again, I really don’t care if people choose to circumcise or not, but if you do it’s YOUR business.”
But it IS my business when I see parents causing unnecessary pain and harm to infants.

There is not a single PROVEN benefit for circumcision, and many PROVEN harms.

So, I would like a RATIONAL and logical reason WHY this SHOULD be a parent’s right

Robert

April 1st, 2009
7:40 pm

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/3/prweb512999.htm

Study Confirms Male Circumcision is Genital Mutilation

A new study in the British Journal of Urology International shows that men with normal, intact penises enjoy more sexual sensitivity — as much as four times more — than those who have been circumcised. Circumcising slices off more of a male’s sensitivity than is normally present in all ten fingertips.

(PRWEB) March 22, 2007 — In every site tested, intact men have as much or more fine-touch skin sensitivity on their penis and foreskin than a man who has been circumcised. Circumcision removes the most sensitive portions of the penis.

This new study demonstrates what we have suspected for decades, that circumcision’s result — if not its intent — is reduced sexual pleasure for men. As such, it is a violation of a male’s right to bodily integrity. In large part, female circumcision does the same; even the mildest forms remove the most sensitive portions of the female genitalia. Females in the USA and many other countries are protected by law from all forms of genital cutting.

The mistaken belief behind circumcision is that it is cleaner, healthier, protects against disease, and will make males more tractable in a society.

Because circumcision has such a drastic effect on sexuality later in life, no infant or child should ever experience a non-therapeutic circumcision.

Parents should not be allowed to control their son’s level of sexual sensitivity because of personal bias or prejudice, just as no parent should be allowed to request for their son or daughter any other sensitivity-reducing surgery; for example, eye surgery that would limit vision from color to black-and-white.

In addition, circumcised men, with one-fourth the sensitivity of intact men, might decline to wear further-desensitizing condoms. Some may consider themselves “safe” because of circumcision, adding to their determination to have sex without a condom.

Adult men who want circumcision for themselves should be advised per proper informed consent that penile sensitivity will be reduced on average by a factor of four. Men should also be advised that circumcision will not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

********************************************************************************

http://www.urotoday.com/42/browse_categories/erectile_dysfunction_ed/finetouch_pressure_thresholds_in_the_adult_penis.html

Fine-Touch Pressure Thresholds in the Adult Penis l

Thursday, 14 June 2007
BERKELEY, CA (UroToday.com) – The most common medical procedure in the US is infant male circumcision.

The long-term-health impact of neo-natal circumcision has received little study while the consequences of circumcision on sexual function in the adult male have received even less attention.

A recent study by Morris L. Sorrells and colleagues from the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Center and Michigan State University mapped the fine-touch pressure thresholds of the adult male penis in circumcised and uncircumcised men and compared the two populations. The study is published in the April 2007 issue of BJU Int.

Adult male volunteers were evaluated with a 19 point Semmes-Weinstein monofilament touch-test to map fine-touch pressure thresholds of the penis. Circumcised and uncircumcised men were compared using mixed models for repeated data, controlling for age, type of underwear worn, time since test ejaculation, ethnicity, country of birth, and level of education.

Analysis of results showed the glans of the uncircumcised men had significantly lower thresholds than that of circumcised men (P = 0.040). There were also significant differences in pressure thresholds by location on the penis (p < 0.0001). The most sensitive location on the circumcised penis was the circumcision scar on the ventral surface. It was remarkable that five locations on the uncircumcised penis that are routinely removed at circumcision had lower pressure thresholds that the ventral scar of the circumcised penis.

This study suggests that the transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. It appears that circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.

Sorrells ML, Snyder JL, Reiss MD, Eden C, Milos MF, Wilcox N, Van Howe RS

BJU Int. 99(4):864-69. April 2007
doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2006.06685.x

Nurse&mother

April 1st, 2009
8:09 pm

Robert, I regret to inform you that until congress passes a law to make circumcision illegal, it is NOT your business. Just as it is not my business if someone wants to get an abortion. I may not agree with abortion, but the reality is that it is NOT my business.

motherjanegoose

April 1st, 2009
8:33 pm

Amen, nurse&mother. There are many things happening to children that appall me but honestly there is nothing I can do about and Robert neither can you. What about those who decide to immunize or not…that is up to the parents, correct?

Joe

April 1st, 2009
9:08 pm

And there are people working on making circumcision illegal. It’s an issue currently being studied in Australia:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/09/2113665.htm
and Denmark
http://europenews.dk/en/node/16290

Actually, a number of European countries have periodically considered bans but none have yet past mainly because of religious dogma but perhaps one day when the politicians grow some balls.

In any case there are things that can be done in the mean time, educate, educate, educate. Make sure parents know it is at best an unnecessary procedure. In fact, it makes as much sense as cutting a child’s earlobes off.

MotherJanegoose, as for immunizations are concerned yes that is one thing parents can choose to do or not but immunizations have a medically therapeutic value to them making it an ethical intervention so it’s not a good comparison.