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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I had decided not to circum. my son at the last minute. Luckily my husband was in support of this. We spoke with men who were and were not and talked to them about the challenges that they have or have not faced, and spoke w/ women who have been with men both cut and uncut. I thank my lucky stars I did not cut my son. Espeically since giving birth in a hospital, he contracted the Super Bug MRSA staph infection. Had he been cut, there is a good likely hood, the open wound could have allowed the staph infection into his blood stream. With regards to the article, just throw it away. That is really false information. Like Tarrah said, it is a thing about what thier dad and others look like as growing up goes, but for me, most of my friends and people I've found are not cutting their children so I would guess eventually being cut is going to be abnormal. :) Trust your gut, he is your son too. Good luck!
Another good read is Circumcision, The HIdden Trauma. When people say the baby won't remember it, they are wrong. we remember everything. there is a huge field of pre and perinatal psychology that studies the effects of early trauma. we come into this world more sensitive then you know, and with every trauma, become less sensitive. we shut down. we have more nerve sensitivity at birth than at any other time in life. put a tiny person through something that is NOT NECESESSARY, SO THAT THEY LOOK LIKE DAD? RIDICULOUS! you think my daughter is checking out my vagina to see if hers looks the same? it's weird that dads want their sons penisis to look like theirs. do they have a cow if their kid has a different nose? as for hygeine, i remember my high school teacher pointing out that with all of a woman's folds of vaginal skin, if we didn't use soap and water, we would stink. so should we chop off our labia's so it's easier to clean down there? how about we show our boys how to wash? we do it with our daughters, why is it any different for our sons. my husband's penis was ruined by cutting, and if my boys want to be cut, then they can choose that for themselves when they are older, and can understand what is happening to them, and can process the pain more easily. it is NOT more painful to have it done as an adult btw. really, read the book, it has interviews with grown men who are not circumcised who love it and some men who chose to be circumsised as adults who totally regreted it!
Hi there. Very interesting supporting letters to you, Brandi, and good for you for questioning this barbaric procedure.
I just wanted to share my "family's" perspective on circumcision. Neither my father nor my father-in-law was circumcised (both born in the 1915s).

My husband was circumcised, but only at 18 months. Both he and his brother were circed at the same time (his brother was 3 years old). They had awful cases of chicken pox and their pediatrician hospitalized both of them for more than a few days for the procedure (back in 1951). My brother-in-law (at 3 years of age) did not speak to his mother for 2 weeks after that. My husband was instantly potty-trained (at 18 mos) and never used a diaper again. A bit of trauma, eh?

When it came time to have my own children (I have only sisters, no brothers) I remember being asked to sign two almost identical papers, one if I had a girl (no circ) and one if I had a boy (circ). That was the first time I realized I would have this choice to make. My husband and I discussed it and no question, we weren't going to circumcise our sons. (Husband always joked that "they took too much" when he was circed!)

When my first son was born, there was a huge orange sign on his hospital crib... DO NOT CIRC! So it must have been unusual. (1975). My second son was born in 1981 at home, and there was no issue about not circumcising.
My oldest son had phimosis. The pediatrician was awfully bothered by the fact he could not retract the foreskin of this baby. I ignored it, and just figured to leave certain things to nature. As an 8-9 year old, I took my son to a urologist. because his foreskin was still really tight. The urologist explained that they could do a mini/partial circ but it was up to us. We left it alone. As a teen, I took my son again to another urologist, who said the same thing as the first urologist. But again, we chose to do nothing.

About that time, my father-in-law, ever a gracious, humble, and modest man, overheard conversation about our trips to urologists, and he brushed off any concern and said he had experienced the same thing as a young boy. He said, that one day... everything just worked!

That got me thinking, that perhaps hormones and nature just do work like that, and how many pediatricians and urologists in this country actually see the results and watch a young boy with phimosis grow up, leaving everything intact without intervention.
So I left it all alone. One day during his college years, I started to broach the subject of a urologist visit again, and my son told me that he didn't have that problem anymore. Case solved. Nature does know best! and my instincts and gut served me well.

The story goes on. I also have two daughters, who have now three sons between them. My oldest daughter has become an "intactivist" and has not circed either of her sons. Initially her husband gave her the old arguments of "looking like daddy" but once the discussion was out in the open, it turns out HIS father was never circed.
My son-in-law went through a little mourning process over losing his foreskin as an infant, and now completely agrees with my daughter.
My other daughter had similar discussions with her husband, who is circumcised, and whose family never questioned it. Lots of education later and begrudgingly, this son-in-law agreed not to have their son cut.
However, my little grandson took care of all that himself. He was born at 32 weeks, perfectly healthy, but with a partially formed foreskin which did not need any adjustments, let alone a circumcision. So end of discussion.

Our family talks openly about circumcision at family gatherings, should the subject ever come up (and it does!). Anyone new to our family might a bit bug-eyed at first; many people outside of the family don't even know it's an issue (especially anyone of my generation).
So we all continue to educate.

And lastly, both my sons ( now 33 and 27) thank me regularly for leaving such a personal decision up to them.
Feeling different from their dad or their peers was NEVER an issue, and neither has had infections or any sort of issue (and they both had chicken pox as children!)

Just thought I would share with you and give you some longer term perspective. I had to go against what was "recommended" at the time, though no doctor "back in the day" could give me a really GOOD reason for circumcising my sons.
I think your son(s) will thank you some day!
I had my son in 2006 and he is not circumcised - so far no problems! My husband is also not circumcised and has had no problems. I'm sure that maybe some men do but if you keep it clean and teach your son how to clean himself properly then hygiene shouldn't be an issue. I've always kind of wondered when the hygiene argument is used "exactly how dirty are those people?" Sorry, just had to say that! And not to be rude, really, but I also don't understand the argument for doing just so the son looks like the dad because my son and my husband don't stand around comparing their penises.... my son was hospitalized for a long time after birth and so i had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of doctors and nurses about it and they all pretty much said the same thing -there is really no benefit to having it done unless you are doing it for religious reasons. That said, it is a personal choice of course.
Instead of telling you my opinion, I really urge you to check out this article. I believe the man who wrote it is circumcised himself (I haven't read for a while myself) and it's very very fair and well-written. I hope that your husband will sit down and read it as well, because it really is truly the best I've ever read in my five years of researching the issue: http://wreckingboy.livejournal.com/318545.html
It seems like the people who do it nowadays just want their son to look like their husband and to not be the outcast in the locker room at school. But if you look at the statistics, the trend is growing for boys to not be circumcised. Its about half and half now. In my opinion (just my opinion not judging) it's a little sick to demand that your child's penis looks the way you like it. I think if the little boy grows up to be a man who wants to be circumcised he can go get it done himself.
Thank you for the link...it is fantastic and says it all!

Holly C said:
Instead of telling you my opinion, I really urge you to check out this article. I believe the man who wrote it is circumcised himself (I haven't read for a while myself) and it's very very fair and well-written. I hope that your husband will sit down and read it as well, because it really is truly the best I've ever read in my five years of researching the issue: http://wreckingboy.livejournal.com/318545.html
My son is 18 and not circumcised. He has never had a urinary tract infection or any other problem.

We decided that circumcision was unnecessary and unfair to him, as he would have no choice in the matter. I know a man whose penis was mutilated by circumcision and, coupled with the possibility of infection, we decided that the risk was too great. The male foreskin is meant to be there, and it just seemed natural to leave him intact. It is important to practice good hygiene, circumcised or not.
I am happy to report that I finally had my precious baby and have posted my birth story here: http://www.mybestbirth.com/profiles/blogs/the-birth-story-of-oliver

I am also happy to report that my husband has agreed to not get our baby circumcised. What finally won him over? I think seeing our precious baby and how perfect he is. The midwife also went over all of the facts with him, which I think really helped for him to hear an ubiased professional's opinion. Lastly, he has been reading Dr. Sear's baby book and read more in there about how circumcision is not medically necessary.

I am on cloud nine! Thank you all for your support and help with resources on this subject; it has been invaluable!

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