I am writing this to see what resources people might have on circumcision, mainly research supporting the decision not to cirucumcise. I know that the American Association of Pediatricians does not recommend routine circumcision, but I am specifically interested in any studies or research to support this.

I am due in just a couple weeks and don't know if I am having a boy or girl, but the question of circumcision came up yesterday at our home visit with our midwives, and I said NO and my husband surprised me by saying YES to circumcision. He's been so supportive with everything so far, and now all of the sudden he has done a 180 on me and is really putting his foot down on the circumcision thing. His reasons are hygeine and tradition, but mainly hygeine. He sent me this terrible article about all of these diseases that supposedly have a higher incidence in uncircumcised men (like UTI, HIV, Chlamydia, etc.). I tried to explain to him that both of those reasons are based on myth, but he just won't listen at all.

Check out this disgusting article that he sent me:
Circumcision is a simple surgical procedure that removes the foreskin ­ a sleeve of skin covering the tip of the penis. Parents have the legal right to authorize circumcision. In order to make an informed decision, they must carefully consider the benefits and risks.

Since the foreskin traps bacteria and other infectious agents, as well as accumulating malodorous smegma, its removal improves genital hygiene and reduces risk of diseases and other conditions over the lifetime for the boy and his future sexual partners.
History

Circumcision has been performed for thousands of years as part of the culture of indigenous people who live in hot environments such as in Australia, the Pacific Islands, equatorial countries, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. In Australia all newborn boys were once circumcised routinely. Circumcision then decreased in the mid-1970s, but is now rising again, in line with research. Over 60% of Australian men are circumcised.

Benefits of circumcision

* Eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult. Phimosis also greatly increases the risk of penile cancer, and is the cause of foreskin and catheter problems in nursing homes.
* Reduces by 3-fold the risk of inflammation and infection of the skin of the penis. One in 10 uncircumcised men get inflammation of the head of the penis, which is covered by the foreskin. This rises to 1 in 3 if the uncircumcised man is diabetic. (Diabetic men also have other severe problems.) In contrast only 2% of circumcised men get this condition.
* Over 10-fold decrease in risk of urinary tract infection. Whereas risk of this is only 1 in 500 for a circumcised boy; 1 in 50 uncircumcised male infants will get a urinary tract infection. This very painful condition is particularly dangerous in infancy, and in 40% of cases can lead to kidney inflammation and disease; sepsis and meningitis can also result.
* Over 20-fold decrease in risk of invasive penile cancer, which has a high fatality rate. One in 600 uncircumcised men get penile cancer, which often requires penile amputation.
* Uncircumcised men have 1.5 ­ 2 times the risk of prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 6 men.
* Reduces by approximately 3-fold the risk of getting HIV (AIDS), during sex with an infected woman. HIV enters via the vulnerable inner lining of the foreskin of a healthy penis, but can also infect via sores anywhere on the penis (caused for example by genital herpes). In countries such as Australia that have a low prevalence of HIV the risk of a heterosexual man being infected with HIV sexually is generally low. His risk, especially if uncircumcised, will be much greater if he engages in unsafe sex with people of countries in which HIV abounds.
* Circumcision also affords substantial protection against sexually transmitted infections such as papilloma (wart) virus, syphilis and chancroid.
* Circumcision reduces by up to 5 times the risk of the man's female partner being infected by chlamydia or getting cervical cancer (which is caused by human papilloma virus). The load of infectious bacteria and viruses that accumulate under the foreskin is delivered into the female genital tract during sex. Chlamydia has more than doubled over the past 5 years in Australia and can cause infertility (in both sexes), pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy.
* If not circumcised soon after birth, up to 10% will later require one anyway for medical reasons.
* Credible research shows that most women prefer the appearance of the circumcised penis. They also prefer it for sexual activity. Hygiene is one reason.
* There is no significant difference in sensitivity of a circumcised and uncircumcised penis.
* In general, sexual function is the same or better.


I still haven't found out where that came from, but it's just ridiculous. Then I started thinking about it more, comparing male anatomy to female, and our genitals as women are way more prone to harboring bacteria and disease than a little bit of foreskin--it's ridiculous! But if you practice general hygeine, and keep that area clean like most people do, it's all fine. We don't go around and circumcise women--so why do we do it with men who have way less skin down there??

The thought of doing this painful thing to our precious little baby sickens me. As I get closer to giving birth to this baby, all I can think about is protecting and keeping it safe from harm. Men can be so insensitive--how to I get him to see how I feel?

Any help that anyone could provide would be much appreciated. It's so upsetting to have to be having this discussion with my husband now, I really wish I would have sorted this out before I got pregnant. Pregancy hormones mixed with anger for him being so insensitive--not good!! I am really not willing to budge on this one, and I don't know what to do if I can't get him to budge either. I just want to enjoy this last part of pregnancy, not argue!

Thank you all.

Tags: Circumcision

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My husband and I were uncertain about whether or not to get our son circumcised, but after reading the research studies and seeing the nocirc.org video, there is no way that we are going to do it. According to the research I've read, the infection rates are not actually much higher, as was previously thought. And of course, when I think about how exposed women are, I have no doubt that the way we are made is probably what is best for us. It is just amazing to think of all of the surgeries that we have undergone in western medicine (the video on nocirc.org mentions tonsilectomy, hysterectomy, among a few) that were unnecessary. Also, the historical tradition of circumcising as a way to prevent men from masturbating seems terribly cruel and outdated--as outdated as women being circumcised to prevent them from enjoying sex.

I'm so glad for this forum.

Thank you.
Every medical organization (AMA, AAP, WHO, and all foreign orgs.) has a similar statement concerning routine infant circumcision: It is not medically necessary and "benefits" are not only unproven, but even if they do exist are FAR outweighed by the risks associated with the surgical procedure.
http://www.nocirc.org/position/

http://www.circumcision.org/response.htm
"Over a dozen studies confirm the extreme pain of circumcision. It has been described as “among the most painful [procedures] performed in neonatal medicine.”( 2) In one study, researchers concluded that the pain was “severe and persistent.”( 3) Increases in heart rate of 55 beats per minute have been recorded, about a 50 percent increase over the baseline.( 4) After circumcision, the level of blood cortisol increased by a factor of three to four times the level prior to circumcision.( 5) Investigators reported, “This level of pain would not be tolerated by older patients.”( 6)"

A very helpful video you may want to have your husband watch:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5395565256830319025

Circumcision Information and Resource Page
http://www.cirp.org/

My personal opinion is that anyone who decides to have a circumcision performed on their child should be required to attend the procedure. Why should your baby have to go through something that painful and scary all alone only a day after birth? If a policy like this was put in place, circumcision would end.

Parents who believe it wasn't traumatic because their newborn came back to them sleeping are naive. They don't bring babies back to the parents until they've calmed, and the only reason they sleep is because of a neurological shut-down in response to the overload of pain and fear.

The foreskin is a functional portion of the male genitalia. There are 20,000 nerve endings in the foreskin. 20,000! I think it's safe to say circumcision impairs proper sexual stimulation and function.

All of the myths surrounding circ have been debunked...penile cancer, UTIs, STDs, and on. If you read about the origins of circ you'll find that it was introduced to keep boys from masturbating and when that became an inappropriate "medical" reason, they began the ongoing search for an acceptable medical reason, which to this day has turned up nothing.

80-85% of the world is INTACT. It is only in the midwest and east coast in the U.S. that the majority are circed. The west coast is predominantly intact.

My husband is circed and we wouldn't have even dreamed of permanently surgically altering (IMO mutilating) our son's genitalia for cosmetic reasons. Would you perform any other cosmetic surgery on your day old baby? Of course not. So why would you perform a dangerous surgery for him to "look like his dad"? Maybe he got Grandpa's nose, but you're not going to give him a rhinoplasty to avoid having him ask dad why his nose looks different than dad's are you?

Most insurance companies are no longer paying for circ because of the fact that it is a cosmetic procedure with no known medical benefits. This should tell you something.

This is a topic I'm really passionate about, so I hope I didn't offend you with anything I've said. I feel strongly that circumcision is a violation of human rights. Our children have the right to an intact body and a right to make a permanent decision like circ for themselves when they are of consenting age. I also believe that parents are responsible to make decisions only based on the best interest of the child and the medical evidence clearly proves that circumcision is not in the best interest of the child (risk outweigh even *possible* benefits).

Good luck with your husband. All it took to change my hubby's mind was the thought of having to watch ANY circ much less his own son's. He is now a passionate "intactivist" too :)
My husband and I discussed it when we found out we were having a boy 6 years ago. There was no debate, my husband was totally against it. He said, "The logic of having your kids penis look like yours is silly. There is no way a child's penis looks anything like an adults. So, Daddy's is different. IT is a fact no matter what." When you look at the pros and cons medically, it is a virtual wash. When you look at the fact that we are the only country that performs this procedure for non-medical or religious purposes, I say you have to at least stop and think about it. The wave of automatically circumcising is over. More than half of the children in our area are not (60/40), so the whole locker room thing is out the window. It is no longer "most" anymore. When it comes to STD studies, as far as I know, most of them (if not all) have been done on men in Africa where AIDS is prolific. Is it appropriate there, maybe, here ??? I say do your research and know your reasons. You'll have to explain them at some point.
I have also worked as a Registered Nurse in Geriatric Care and my view of circumcision is completely different. It takes a little more care and effort to provide pericare to an uncircumcised penis, but if it's done correctly and consistently, there is no issues with infection or smegma build up. It would be the same with a woman with intact genital folds and one who had had her labia cut off. Of course the woman whose labia had been removed would be "easier" to clean and take care of. That's just my point of view, I do know a few other nurses who also think circumcision is better for all.

Sarah Green said:
As a Registered Nurse who worked in Geriatric Medecine (old people!) we had our son circumcised because the risk of uncircumcised men getting infections was so much higher. The uncircumcised men were hard to clean their "area" and take care of in that way. Also, we know of several different boys between the ages of 3-10 that were not circumcised at first, and then medically NEEDED to be for one reason or another. We decided it was much better to go through that proceedure as a baby than a 4 year old! Good luck!
I've had three home births now and am very pro the "natural" experience re: birthing and mothering, so I'm biased....but why would the foreskin be there if it didn't serve a purpose? I have two boys, 5 1/2 and 2 1/2, and didn't circumcise them. I also have a daughter and wouldn't circumcise her either! The way I see it, some cultures believe in circumcising women, but does it make it acceptable for me? I sure wouldn't want to be circumcised! My husband's father is from Europe and wasn't circumcised, my husband is, and my husband said it was never an issue with his dad and it hasn't been with our sons.

My 5 yr. old had a kid at school tell him his penis looked "funny". It really upset me that my son would feel insecure about his "manhood" so to speak. So, I told him that the reason some of the other boys' penises look different is because his parent's wanted to cut part of it off and we didn't want to do that to his penis, because, "wouldn't that hurt?" The next day he went to school and told the other boys that their penises were cut and his wasn't! Out of the mouths of babes! The school handled it well and it led to a short discussion about it all and how we're all different.

Check out the link below written by our pediatrician, who happens to be Jewish, by the way...

http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/fleiss.html
We decided not to circumcise our son (actually we were told he was born with a natural circumcision) which is when there is foreskin but it's only partial. After doing all the research and reading up, we thought it wasn't worth and if we have another son, we will choose not to circumcise him either.
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www.empoweredmommies.com
Giving Your Baby a Healthy Start
There is absolutly no research that proves that the risk of uncircumcised men getting infections is higher than that of circumcised men...unless you are an uncircumcised male in Africa where AIDS is prolific and in an area where healthcare is nill.


Bonnie Pankratz said:
I have also worked as a Registered Nurse in Geriatric Care and my view of circumcision is completely different. It takes a little more care and effort to provide pericare to an uncircumcised penis, but if it's done correctly and consistently, there is no issues with infection or smegma build up. It would be the same with a woman with intact genital folds and one who had had her labia cut off. Of course the woman whose labia had been removed would be "easier" to clean and take care of. That's just my point of view, I do know a few other nurses who also think circumcision is better for all.

Sarah Green said:
As a Registered Nurse who worked in Geriatric Medecine (old people!) we had our son circumcised because the risk of uncircumcised men getting infections was so much higher. The uncircumcised men were hard to clean their "area" and take care of in that way. Also, we know of several different boys between the ages of 3-10 that were not circumcised at first, and then medically NEEDED to be for one reason or another. We decided it was much better to go through that proceedure as a baby than a 4 year old! Good luck!
I have to disagree with your logic. You're saying you surgically removed a functional and necessary part of your son's genetalia at birth so that you could reduce the possibility of infection in the event that he was not properly cared for in his last few years? He may not end up in geriatric care. He may not even end up making it to a ripe old age. And even if he does end up old and in geriatric care, he may not end up with an infection (in fact I'm willing to bet the odds are less than 50%). And this is a reason to make him go an entire lifetime without a fully functional penis?

Also, I'm willing to bet the boys you know who had problems probaly had their foreskins prematurely retracted by force by some uninformed parent of doctor. Most boys aren't retractable until between 5 and puberty, and forcibly retracting before this time causes trauma and all sorts of other issues. Also, the conditions for which circumcision is recommended do not actually require circumcision. Those issues can be treated myriad other ways that leave the boy intact and healthy, but Drs. are unaware or misinformed of these options.

Sarah Green said:
As a Registered Nurse who worked in Geriatric Medecine (old people!) we had our son circumcised because the risk of uncircumcised men getting infections was so much higher. The uncircumcised men were hard to clean their "area" and take care of in that way. Also, we know of several different boys between the ages of 3-10 that were not circumcised at first, and then medically NEEDED to be for one reason or another. We decided it was much better to go through that proceedure as a baby than a 4 year old! Good luck!
You are absolutely right. NO research providing a causal relationship between circumcision and reduced STD rates. What information is out there is actually not reliable research.

We all can agree that you get an STD through sexual contact with a person carrying that STD. In order for a study to be reliable, male subjects - some circed some intact - would have to sleep with the same woman around the same time (since things like viral load, overall health, etc can change over time). At the bare minimum these men would have to all sleep with the same number of infected women at the same time to have any control of variables. This also wouldn't take into account the immune system of the various men given that those with better overall health would have less chance of contracting disease. Any "study" done on this subject is completely invalid due to lack of variable control.

And while we're on the subject of immunity, the foreskin has an immune function that, when removed, puts men at higher risk for infection. Humoral (or general) immunity happens at mucus membranes. Portals into the body thus have mucus membranes to protect us from pathogens that try to enter (nose, mouth, etc.). Specific immunity (antibodies) cannot be properly activated if humoral immunity doesn't happen at the mucus membrane. The foreskin houses the mucus membrane protecting the penis much like the labia house the mucus membrane protecting the vagina. By removing this part of the penis, you are removing the part of the immune system designed to protect the body from pathogens that come in contact with the penis.

Maureen Stevens said:
There is absolutly no research that proves that the risk of uncircumcised men getting infections is higher than that of circumcised men...unless you are an uncircumcised male in Africa where AIDS is prolific and in an area where healthcare is nill.


Bonnie Pankratz said:
I have also worked as a Registered Nurse in Geriatric Care and my view of circumcision is completely different. It takes a little more care and effort to provide pericare to an uncircumcised penis, but if it's done correctly and consistently, there is no issues with infection or smegma build up. It would be the same with a woman with intact genital folds and one who had had her labia cut off. Of course the woman whose labia had been removed would be "easier" to clean and take care of. That's just my point of view, I do know a few other nurses who also think circumcision is better for all.

Sarah Green said:
As a Registered Nurse who worked in Geriatric Medecine (old people!) we had our son circumcised because the risk of uncircumcised men getting infections was so much higher. The uncircumcised men were hard to clean their "area" and take care of in that way. Also, we know of several different boys between the ages of 3-10 that were not circumcised at first, and then medically NEEDED to be for one reason or another. We decided it was much better to go through that proceedure as a baby than a 4 year old! Good luck!
I've seen alot of great links already posted, so this is all i can really offer, I love this movie called Cut: Slicing through the myths of Circumcision. http://www.cutthefilm.com/Cut_Website/The_Film.html

and Dr. Dean Edell talks a lot about Circ. He is also a Jewish man, Heres a video of him talking on a radio show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuu07U2FokQ

Just tell your husband that your son can make this decision when he is older. This is not a decision you should be making for him, its a very important part of his body that DOES NOT need to be modified. It is a perfectly healthy piece of skin that he needs for protection and normal function. We as women will get many more UTI, Yeast Infections than an intact male will every get in a lifetime, if he gets one at all. Infections are easily cured with antibiotics or prevented with basic hygene, there is no need to cut off a perfectly fine part of your newborn baby! Hope your hubby comes to his senses! goodluck<3
Wow, thank you all for the very thoughtful and helpful comments--I am so happy to see so many people passionate about this topic. The more I learn, the more I am becoming passionate about it too! I feel so much better now!
Here is some ammo for you.

NO medical organization in the ENTIRE world recommends circumcision. Not in the US and not elsewhere. It is classified as non-therapeutic, cosmetic surgery. The studies you refer to have all been proven incorrect by other studies, so despite what the supporters of these studies would have you believe, they are not supported by any medical organizations.

First and foremost, the foreskin is a functional, integral part of the male sex organ. Amputation of healthy, functional tissue is a violation of a child's right to bodily integrity. If you take some time to learn about the functions of the foreskin you will see that it has very important protective and sexual functions. You might meet resistance from your husband b/c he has never owned a foreskin. He can not begin to understand the what it is like. Like trying to explain color to someone who sees only in black and white. You husband is no more qualified to make this decision simply b/c he has a penis. He, after all, has never utilized a foreskin. You should read this article about this issue, but don't show this one to the hubby:

http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/vincent/vulnerability_of_men.html

Please protect your son. You are his mother and the only person who can consent to a circumcision at the hospital. By leaving him intact you give HIM the choice over the function and appearance of his most private area.

That article is complete RUBBISH! I will point out some but not all of the many flaws.

Less than 10% of Australians are choosing to circ their son's and the circ rate in the US is currently 56% and falling

Going in order about the "benefits" this article listed:

Phimosis is a condition that can not be diagnosed in children. The foreskin is fused during childhood and becomes retractable sometime between childhood and the end of puberty. Less than 3% of intact males will experience phimosis in aduthood and it is treated with stretching exercises and a steroidal cream. Amputation of the foreskin is not necessary to treat phimosis.

Infection/Inflammation: Women are far more likely to experience infections and inflammations of the labia, yet we don't cut those off. Infections of the foreskin are very rare and usually occur due to improper care, meaning someone is trying to retract a child's foreskin. This should never be done. The foreskin protects the developing penis from pathogens and is tightly fused to the glans (head of penis). If you try to retract you will tear it and introduce infection. When a foreskin becomes inflamed it is usually due to soap irritation, just like with girls. Inflammation simply means it is doing its job and protecting the penis. It if happens it will resolve itself as long as the boy is left alone.

UTI: The study that was done in the 80s which reported that UTI is more common in Intact boys had many flaws. First, it compared intact premature infants to full-term circumcised boys. Premature infants have a 10 fold higher chance of getting UTI due to immature kidney function. Also it was at a time when parents were told to retract the foreskin for cleaning. This is 100% incorrect and actually causes infection, bleeding, and UTI. Why? Well b/c the foreskin is a sphincter that is firmly adhered to the glans (head) of the penis. If you try to retract a boy or infant you are literally tearing the foreskin from the glans of the penis and ripping the opening which is very narrow. More recent studies show that foreskin actually protects against UTI if cared for properly and LEFT ALONE. (No retraction). You only clean what is seen. I posted helpful information about the proper care of intact children. Check it out for more info. Here is a link about UTI and how the foreskin protects against UTI:
http://www.nocirc.org/statements/breastfeeding.php

Further, you should know that baby girls are 4-6 times more likely than intact or circumcised boys to get a UTI. The risk of UTI in boys is pretty low regardless of their circ status. Just as we do with girls, UTIs are treated with antibiotics. The foreskin has nothing to do with UTIs in boys.

STD/HIV: The USA currently has the has the highest rate of STD transmission of any developed country. The circ rate among sexually active men in our country is over 75%, much higher than any other country. In fact the US is the only country that circumcises routinely, though that is dropping dramatically. All the developed nations who do not circumcise have MUCH lower rates of STD transmission. In addition over 500,000 circumcised, American men have died of AIDs. The study this article is referring to about STD/HIV transmission has been proven incorrect by MANY other studies, however those studies don't appear in the news headlines. Hmmm? One of the doctors who participated in that study came forward and stated that it was the goal of the study to prove that circ protected against HIV/STDs. There is a desperate, obsession for Americans to find a reason for circumcision. The rest of the world has pointed out this obsession on many occasion. You might be surprised that Denmark and Australia are looking into the legality of male circ, thinking about making it illegal along with female circ since it removes healthy tissue from a child without the child's consent.

Cancer: Penile cancer is very rare in men. A man is more likely to get breast cancer than penile cancer. Should we then remove the breasts of men too? Now you want to prevent a common cancer, remove the breast buds of baby girls. 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer so if amputation is the answer then those should be removed for sure.

Circumcision after the Neonatal period: In countries that do not circumcise, less than 1% of the men will need a circumcision. With proper care during childhood, NO RETRACTION, this risk is very low. The problem in the US is that many doctors are foreskin ignorant and prescribe circumcision where it is not needed. The only medical reason for circumcision is frostbite, malignancy gangrene or serious trauma:

http://www.nocirc.org/publish/pamphlet7.html

Actually it is proven that circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the penis. I can provide you with this well documented study if you would like. The foreskin is composed of over 20,000 nerves, a network of veins, muscle fibers, and specialized skin cells, like the ones you find in the fingertips and lips. To give you an idea, the clitoris only has 8,000 nerve endings. Only in America have people rejected this fact and the studies that prove the foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis. Interestingly, over 200,000 men are currently undergoing a multi-year process to repair SOME of the damage of circ using non-surgical foreskin restoration.

BOTTOMLINE: Amputation is not preventative medicine for any other part of the body so why should it be considered "good" preventative medicine for the male foreskin. No doubt you could avoid some issues by circing girls, but you just don't do that. Amputation is a last resort for when something is dying, decayed, frostbitten, or seriously injured. That is it!

I could go on forever pointing out the inconsistencies in this article. It is just plain RUBBISH. I have a feeling I know exactly WHO wrote this.

Why don't you check out MY article and a few other resources:
http://tribalbaby.blogspot.com/ (my blog discusses the top 12 myths about circ and the intact male)
www.intactamerica.org
www.circinfosite.com
www.cirp.org
www.nocirc.org
www.stopthecut.org
www.circumstitions.com
www.stopcirc.com
www.genitalautonomy.org

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