Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Circumcision for baby boys back in vogue?

Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

LaraOnline

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
3,365
This is an interesting story...

The Australian medical system has been extremely anti-circumcision (and anti-choice) for some years now...

When my little boy was born two years ago, it seemed almost ''wrong'' to even ask after circumcision... while I was pretty philosophical about it all, I have a (platonic!) male friend that has had a lot of medical troubles with his foreskin, as an adult, which was enough for me to enquire lightly about whether circumcision was done at all any more...

Apparently (a non-medical friend told me, none of the doctors or medical staff volunteered any info) there is one doctor in our capital city, apparently, that might be able to do it for us if we really pushed...usually it is marked down to ''religious'' reasons... we do not come from a Muslim or Jewish background.... we let it go...

I feel angry that medical positions (or scientific positions in general) are hijacked by feel-good campaigns, of whatever agenda... can''t we just have the facts, please? And failing that, if the jury is in fact out, can''t we have the choice?

link to story

Should all males be circumcised?
Some U.S. doctors are reconsidering their position
By Charles Hirshberg. Mens Health. updated 8:30 a.m. ET April 1, 2009

The day your wife gives birth to a baby boy, the kind, bespectacled face of Marvin L. Wang, M.D., is one that you want to see coming through the recovery-room door. Co-director of newborn nurseries at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. Wang has a perky, conversational bedside manner that puts everyone at ease.

I have to hustle to keep up with him as he strides energetically between hospital rooms. Right now he''s congratulating a pair of new parents. Larry is standing on wobbly legs, looking both ecstatic and shell-shocked, while Joy sits serenely, holding their newborn son to her breast.

Dr. Wang jokes with the new parents a bit and then says, "I understand you may want to have a circumcision for your baby."
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

Larry and Joy don''t answer immediately. At last Larry says, "Well ... we don''t know."

Dr. Wang smiles. He''s familiar with the befuddled expression on Larry''s face.

Circumcision, of course, is the surgical removal of the penile foreskin from the glans — the fleshy crown of the penis. It is one of the most commonly performed procedures in American hospitals, and except for abortion, it may be the most controversial. The procedure has long been known to reduce the spread of a few rare, serious diseases, and to prevent a few annoying, uncomfortable ones. But in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) determined that the risk of surgical complications, though small, nearly canceled out the benefits. They neither discouraged nor recommended the procedure. Since then, 16 states have eliminated Medicaid coverage for nearly all circumcisions.

But two years ago, a consortium of experts convened by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS (the United Nations'' HIV program) announced that circumcision should indeed "be part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package." It did so because three separate, meticulous medical trials in Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa, involving more than 10,000 men, had proved that circumcision could reduce the risk of female-to-male HIV infection by approximately 60 percent. This discovery is one that, over the next two decades, could save three million lives in Africa alone.

Now, no one believes that the potential health benefits for American males are nearly as great, or as urgent, as they are for men in Africa, where HIV is spread mostly through heterosexual intercourse. Still, similar study results are turning up on this continent, as well. A team of researchers from the CDC, Johns Hopkins, and the Baltimore health department examined the records of more than 1,000 African American males — all heterosexual — who tested positive for HIV at Maryland clinics. Uncircumcised men were 50 percent more likely to be infected.

These results have caused many U.S. doctors to reconsider their positions. "I''ve always told families that the health benefits of circumcision are real, but not enough to warrant advocating that all boys be circumcised," says Lise Johnson, M.D., the director of healthy-newborn nurseries at Boston''s Brigham and Women''s Hospital. "But I find these HIV studies pretty striking. The weight of scientific evidence might be shifting in favor of circumcision."

Larry, the new dad, is circumcised himself but never thought much about circumcision until his wife became pregnant. "Joy kept saying, ''It''s up to you,''" Larry tells Dr. Wang, "but when I finally said I wanted to do it, she said, ''Whoa! We have to talk.''"

After a few uneasy moments, the new father''s feelings spill out.

"I guess I don''t feel too strongly either way," he says, looking at his son tenderly. "But if there''s a risk of hurting him ..."

Health benefits of circumcision
Pain, of course, is the first question that comes to mind whenever the words cut and penis are used in the same sentence. Ask Marilyn Fayre Milos about pain — or better yet, don''t. The founder of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC — get it?) first witnessed the procedure in 1979 while training for her nurse''s degree. The unlucky baby, she later wrote, was "strapped spread-eagle to a plastic board... struggling against his restraints — tugging, whimpering, and then crying helplessly" while awaiting the knife. Then as the doctor, using no anesthesia, began cutting into the penis with a scalpel, "the baby began to gasp and choke, breathless from his shrill continuous screams..."

Is that what Dr. Wang is offering to do to Larry and Joy''s innocent baby boy?

Not quite. Dr. Wang says the operation rarely hurts much anymore; since the 1990s, it''s become routine in U.S. hospitals to anesthetize babies before the procedure. For every 1,500 circumcisions, there are maybe three complications, nearly all of which amount to a little unexpected bleeding or a treatable infection. In return, according to the AAP, circumcised boys have a lower risk of urinary-tract infections and penile cancer, and, indeed, "a slightly lower risk of getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS." But weighed against the potential risks, says the AAP, "these benefits are not sufficient ... to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised." (The AAP is now reviewing its guidelines, in light of recent scientific news.)

Larry seems to search the doctor''s face for a hint of what to do, but Dr. Wang is as neutral as his white hospital coat. "You need more time to think about it," he says encouragingly. "I''ll be back."

He heads off down the hall.

Circumcised or not, every man owes his foreskin a great debt of gratitude for its service in the womb. In the third month of gestation, when the nascent penis begins to bloom, the foreskin forms a little protective blanket under which the rest of the penis can safely grow. But once you and your penis are fully baked, the advantage of a foreskin is not clear. Some scientists speculate that it protected the prehistoric penis as it swung, naked, through thick forests and over tall grasses; and unless you take your penis on that sort of excursion, they argue, you don''t need a foreskin.

That perceived uselessness may be one reason circumcision has such a long and varied history. Archeological evidence suggests that the practice may be at least 6,000 years old. Muslims and Jews, along with the aborigines of Australia, the Aztecs and Mayans of this hemisphere, and many other cultures all independently adopted this squirm-inducing practice, and it seems unlikely they''d have done so unless they were convinced that it conferred some earthly benefit.

Here in the United States, foreskins were left mostly undisturbed until the second half of the nineteenth century. But it wasn''t until the North Africa campaign of World War II that American doctors turned into enthusiastic circumcisers. More than 145,000 American GIs based there slacked off on their cleaning regimens and came down with foreskin-related ouches — chiefly, balanoposthitis (inflammation of the foreskin and glans), phimosis (a foreskin that''s too tight to retract over the glans), and paraphimosis (a foreskin stuck in the retracted position). After the war, doctors advanced a theory that circumcision reduces rates of cervical cancer — a hypothesis now confirmed by scientific research.

Circumcision became routine, but anesthesia wasn''t part of the plan. That, more than any other factor, may have provoked the fiery anti-circumcision movement that casts its long shadow over the Internet.

Anesthesia now used during procedure

Isaac is a newborn whose mother, months before she gave birth, made the decision to circumcise him. He awaits Dr. Wang atop a small operating table. His expression is blasé until a nurse standing over him slides a sugar-coated pacifier into his mouth. His eyes open wide and he commences sucking with gusto. Sugar, Dr. Wang says, is known to send a rush of endorphins to certain parts of the brain, dulling sensitivity to pain.

Dr. Wang gently wraps Isaac''s legs in a soft harness. Until fairly recently, he remarks, it was standard practice to restrain babies'' arms, too. "But it''s distressing to them to be tied down like that, and it''s really not necessary."

Fortunately, Dr. Wang says, circumcision is no longer performed in American hospitals without anesthesia, as Milos described it. After a quick examination of Isaac''s manhood (if that''s the right word for it), Dr. Wang administers four evenly spaced injections of lidocaine around the base of the baby''s penis; Isaac shows no distress. At that point, Dr. Wang waits 5 minutes for the anesthetic to take effect, then swabs Isaac''s privates with sterilizing iodine and gets down to business. He arranges a clamp that pulls the foreskin forward, off the penis, where it can be safely cut off with surgical scissors in one snip. Isaac became agitated only once — when his sugary pacifier fell from his mouth. "Usually," says Dr. Wang, "the part they hate most is being washed off afterward. They don''t like to feel the cold."

A few weeks later, I call Larry to find out what he''s decided to do.

"We opted not to do it," he says. "When you go on the Internet and read about this," he says, "you find out that there''s really no reason for doing it. People try to think up new justifications for it, and when one doesn''t work, they come up with another."

If you go on the Internet, you''ll "find out" precisely what Larry found out. The problem is, it''s not true.

I Googled the word "circumcision," and two of the first three sites that popped up were the Circumcision Research Center and the Circumcision Information and Resource Pages — titles that suggest unbiased collections of data. In fact, both sites are run by anti-circumcision crusaders. A seemingly unending list of similar sites followed: Mothers Against Circumcision, Doctors Opposing Circumcision, Stop Infant Circumcision Society, and Milos'' NOCIRC. Many of these activists have spent decades arguing that circumcision has no medical value, and recent scientific revelations have left them red-faced — not with embarrassment, but anger. According to Milos, for instance, all three of the Africa trials were part of what she calls an "ill-fated plot to circumcise everyone regardless of AIDS status!" She and others often demonize the scientists whose research has produced facts that contradict their extremist views.

Daniel Halperin, Ph.D., spent much of the 1990s poring over epidemiological studies of AIDS, looking for places in Africa and Asia where HIV rates were relatively low and then trying to figure out why. Halperin, a senior research scientist at Harvard''s school of public health, concluded that circumcision played a role and he paid a high price for saying so — many people thought he was nuts. In some ways, since he''s been proved right, the price has become steeper. To get a flavor of it, look at his inbox.

"F**K OFF," begins one e-mail, "with your PRO-CIRCUMCISION BIASED BULLS**T .... [forcing] genital surgery on young boys who haven''t done anything wrong." Another e-mail calls him "a Super Racist" devoted to the murder of Black Africans under the guise of helping them.

"It''s been quite a struggle," Halperin sighs, shaking his head.

But it''s not without its rewards. The Africa trials add substantial weight to a mounting pile of evidence that circumcision also reduces the spread of other sexually transmitted illnesses, including several types of cancer and venereal disease. The journal BMC Infectious Diseases published a study (co-authored by Halperin and four others) that compared rates of cervical cancer — caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV — in more than 100 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In countries where fewer than 20 percent of men were circumcised, cervical-cancer rates were about 70 percent higher than in countries where more than 80 percent were circumcised.

All of this makes many public-health experts in the United States lament the decision of some states to withdraw Medicaid coverage for routine circumcision. "Because uncircumcised males face greater risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections," a different study concludes, "lack of Medicaid coverage for circumcision may translate into future health disparities for children born to poor families."

Verdict still out on circumcision
So what''s the verdict? Should all males be circumcised? Not one doctor or scientist interviewed for this article expressed that opinion. Robert Bailey, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, feels that "American parents should definitely factor all of this in, but it''s not an automatic. Most of the diseases [circumcision] is known to prevent are pretty rare in the United States."

But, Halperin notes, "those illnesses may be rare at least partly because circumcision has been so widespread here."

But whatever you decide for you and yours, do not let anyone tell you circumcision can''t slow the march of HIV. At a time when billions of American tax dollars are pouring into Africa to fight AIDS, it is extremely important that money is spent on methods that have been proved to help.

Elliot Jones (not his real name) underwent circumcision at age 35. He had a painful case of phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin tightens around the head of the penis, and surgery was the solution. "I heard you lose a lot of sensitivity, but at that point I was in enough pain that I didn''t care," says Jones.

"It''s a simple surgery, but people think it''s painful because it has to do with the penis," says Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of the division of male reproductive medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Most patients choose general anesthesia for the hour-long surgery and go back to work the next day, says Dr. Lipshultz.

For a week after the surgery, Jones would wake up in pain from a morning erection pulling at the dissolvable stitches. But after 2 weeks, his wife was more than ready to test out his newly shorn package. The sensation? "This is better than before," says Jones, now 7 years post-op. "The skin under the foreskin used to be very sensitive — sometimes too sensitive. Now that it''s aired out, it''s a nonissue."

"My wife and I joke that she''s the only one who''s had the new penis," says Jones. "It''s like I was a virgin again."
 

swimmer

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
2,516
Interesting article Lara!
Being Jewish, there wouldn''t be much to decide in our house if the question came up, but several friends have struggled with this recently.
Just an aside note: I was friends with a young man from Europe who went to high school and college in the US. He was so upset that he wasn''t circumcised because apparently he was the odd one out in the showers. This is what he told me, I have no idea what boys do in the showers after soccer practice, but apparently being different was not a good thing. He was also scared to get naked with women b/c he thought they might know that he was different from all other American boys his age. This was strange b/c he was just a gorgeous man. He is prob 32 now so the times have changed. But I distinctly remember his pain over the entire issue. Perhaps it is best to go with the trend? But as the article says, it has recently been found to be helpful in the prevention of the spread of disease. Yet studies come out all the time contradicting one another. What a difficult decision. Good luck to all the about to be mommies, so very many decisions to make.
 

LaraOnline

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
3,365
The interesting thing for us (in Australia) is that basically there is no choice regarding circumcision any more, it's not generally offered at all in the general health system...

Perhaps if we 'had connections' in the medical world, or perhaps through a religious link, it might have been different.

As the story says, the African studies are comprehensive.

This aspect of disease control is something I think that I was aware of at the time I had just given birth, but at that stage the numbers I remember seeing were around 30% improvement in disease control as a result of circumcision... it seems that the numbers have firmed up dramatically higher!!

It seems crazy that we are spending so much money on cervical cancer vaccines and other ground breaking initiatives to help slow the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and cancers, and yet, circumcision is showing itself to be the cheapest form of disease control ever...

And the news reports are that sexual transmitted diseases such as chlamydia amongst young people have never been higher...
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
Here in the US, circumcision is really common...far more common than not. And that is regardless of religion...it''s done primarily for health reasons...and some of it, I''m sure, is the way it looks.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,166
Date: 4/1/2009 11:36:18 AM
Author: Italiahaircolor
Here in the US, circumcision is really common...far more common than not. And that is regardless of religion...it's done primarily for health reasons...and some of it, I'm sure, is the way it looks.
The health reasons excuse is BS. There are no health benefits as long as the child/man keeps himself clean and assuming he practices safe sex.

We didn't because it is really a vanity thing if you are not religious. And even though I am Jewish by heritage we still opted not to for our boys.
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
Dr. Wang.

Too easy. Pass.

That said, I believe that study was disproven and repudiated by the original researcher. While circumcision probably had medical benefits back in the day, with modern science? It really is purely cultural.

Though I''m Jewish by birth, I won''t be circumcising my sons, if I have any: if they feel strongly about it when they''re of age, I''ll support them, but the idea of making that decision on behalf of a child makes me deeply uncomfortable.
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
Circumcision was a huge issue for DH and me. We both struggled with it, but luckily in the end, we both agreed NOT to have our sons circumsized. As NF stated, the health reasons are BS!

Oh, and to add. . .I'm not Jewish, but if I were, I would have had the boys curcumsized.
 

Jas12

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2006
Messages
2,330
In my community (canada) we have access to it, but it costs out of pocket ($100 i believe). b/c there is no medical reason it needs to be performed universal healthcare won''t cover what they deem a cosmetic procedure.

My DH is circumcised, it was ''the thing to do'' when he was born. Most of his friends are too. So when we had a son i let him have the bigger say in the decision. I was against it but i was still open to his wishes. He was 100% against it (which, to be honest surprised me) so the issue was closed. I think my MIL was a little insulted at first. She printed off some articles that pointed to pros and cons for each choice--i think she more or less was trying to defend her position, but there wasn''t enough evidence in favor of doing it so she let it go too.
I did a little poll among my other mom friends with boys and most have decided to leave things in tact. So, what i am trying to say is no, i don''t think it is back in vouge around here
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
I have VERY strong feelings on this issue, so I will be careful what I write...

It is extremely unusual to circumcise in the UK except for religious reasons. I am not aware of any massive problems due to this amongst the male population - certainly never heard of any friends or relatives having problems with their kids or themselves because of having a foreskin.

Even amongst the Jewish community here there are increasing moves against circumcision and there are many arguments for it not being considered a necessary action to be considered 100% jewish.

My husband is jewish and neither he nor his 3 brothers were circumcised as both parents were very against it.

I dated a man who had been circumcised as an adult - and hugely regretted it. The foreskin protects the head of the penis which is a mucous membrane. When the foreskin is removed, the head of the penis is no longer protected and the constant friction against clothing etc has a huge effect on the sensitivity of the area. He definitely felt that it had had a very negative effect on his sex life, and I must admit that I noticed a big difference without going into TMI.

I was actually discussing it with my father the other week and he was telling me a rather bizarre reason for keeping your foreskin: It is one of the very few parts of the body that does not form keloid scar tissue. If you are involved in an accident or are very badly burned and your eyelids are destroyed, plastic surgeons will use the foreskin to create new eyelids. In circumcised men this is obviously an impossibility! Pandora''s latest bit of trivia...
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
This is really interesting to me, as I''ve never heard any of these arguments against circumcision. We''re Jewish, and I always planned on having any future sons of ours circumcised according to the tradition of our faith, but now I''m intrigued.

Does anyone have links to reputable articles or research on this matter?
 

luckystar112

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
3,962
I can''t figure out if this is TMI or not, and my DH would probably KILL me, but his parents opted not to for he and his brother.
I''m not exactly sure why. I know that to this day, DH does still feel like he is "different", for the same reasons that Swimmer noted. His was the first that I had seen, and I''ll admit it freaked me out a bit at first. Now I call it the "tamale in shuck".
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193
Interesting...had no idea that was the case in Oz.

If we had a boy, TGuy and I probably would have chosen circumcision.
 

ladypirate

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
4,553
I am anti-circumcision personally. I''ve had intimate relationships with both situations, so to speak, and I never saw a reason to do it. I already told K (who is circumcised) that if we have a son at any point, we''re not chopping anything off his privates!
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
6,689
Date: 4/1/2009 2:03:05 PM
Author: luckystar112
I can''t figure out if this is TMI or not, and my DH would probably KILL me, but his parents opted not to for he and his brother.
I''m not exactly sure why. I know that to this day, DH does still feel like he is ''different'', for the same reasons that Swimmer noted. His was the first that I had seen, and I''ll admit it freaked me out a bit at first. Now I call it the ''tamale in shuck''.
lol

My brothers and FI were not circumcised. One of my brothers is having a lot of trouble and will have to be circumcised now (he''s 20).

P.S. I know all of this because he sent it to me in a text message one day in full detail
 

NovemberBride

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
962
Interesting topic. I had no idea there was so much debate on this issue. I thought that almost all males were circumcised at birth. My DH was and so were my brothers. I just always assumed we''d circumcise a boy if we had one. I probably still will do so since I believe it is the norm where I live (East Coast).
 

E B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
9,488
Thank you for posting this, Lara!

Since my husband and I are having a boy, this is a decision we've been faced with. And so far, we haven't made one.

For every anti-circ opinion I read, I see another from a nurse, or someone whose family member has worked in a hospital or nursing home and has witnessed what can happen when foreskin becomes infected. Just thinking about it hurts, and I don't even have one! As neatfreak said, it can be avoided if little boys and men keep things clean, but what if they don't? I have a hard enough time making sure my husband keeps his desk clean.
Not to mention teenage boys are notoriously lazy.

Right now, my thoughts sound something like this: The procedure could cause discomfort, but is it worth it to spare him the chance of infection down the road when he's old enough to remember it?

I have a bit more reading to do.
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
Date: 4/1/2009 3:28:58 PM
Author: NovemberBride
Interesting topic. I had no idea there was so much debate on this issue. I thought that almost all males were circumcised at birth. My DH was and so were my brothers. I just always assumed we''d circumcise a boy if we had one. I probably still will do so since I believe it is the norm where I live (East Coast).
Yep, there''s loads of debate on circumcision AND vaccinations, as well.
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
7,770
Date: 4/1/2009 11:39:22 AM
Author: neatfreak

The health reasons excuse is BS. There are no health benefits as long as the child/man keeps himself clean and assuming he practices safe sex.
I have to respectfully disagree - there are rare, but certainly not unheard-of conditions that can happen as a result of having a foreskin, though these alone would not be reason enough, IMO, to circumcise a baby boy.

HOWEVER, the safer sex thing seems like a potentially huge issue to me. Given the current state of birth control and sex education in this country and around the world, as well as human nature, I find it highly unlikely that anyone could reliably say that their child would NEVER engage in unprotected sexual behaviors. Given that, I think that the argument for circumcision becomes compelling.

As an HIV researcher, I watched all of that data come out about circumcision being associated with a reduced rate of HIV transmission, and those data are extremely compelling. It seems to me, given the inherent uncertainty in how any child will choose to live his life, that circumcision is the safer and more responsible choice.
 

iluvcarats

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2008
Messages
2,473
Date: 4/1/2009 3:41:18 PM
Author: EBree
Thank you for posting this, Lara!


Since my husband and I are having a boy, this is a decision we''ve been faced with. And so far, we haven''t made one.


For every anti-circ opinion I read, I see another from a nurse, or someone whose family member has worked in a hospital or nursing home and has witnessed what can happen when foreskin becomes infected. Just thinking about it hurts, and I don''t even have one! As neatfreak said, it can be avoided if little boys and men keep things clean, but what if they don''t? I have a hard enough time making sure my husband keeps his desk clean.
Not to mention teenage boys are notoriously lazy.


Right now, my thoughts sound something like this: The procedure could cause discomfort, but is it worth it to spare him the chance of infection down the road when he''s old enough to remember it?


I have a bit more reading to do.
One of the biggest problems of infection in uncircumcised men is within the elderly population.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,654
I am completely against male and female circumcision. Every society is going to have their reasons why they do it but the fact is a baby can't decide and once you do it, it's done. There is a lot of scarring that takes place if male circumcision is done pre puberty before the foreskin is naturally released. So if you really care about the health of the organ, and since not many babies and children come down with diseases due to an intact foreskin just wait until the person can decide for themselves. But don't damage a perfectly good organ. How is it that after thousands of years of human evolution the penis ends up being the only organ that needs to changed at birth?

Altering your body should be your own choice and if it proves that everyone should be circumcised for medical reasons then let it happen as an elected surgery, after puberty.
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
2,202
Date: 4/1/2009 11:39:22 AM
Author: neatfreak
The health reasons excuse is BS. There are no health benefits as long as the child/man keeps himself clean and assuming he practices safe sex.
"As long as he keeps himself clean and assuming he practices safe sex" are kind of significant caveats! Infections from not keeping clean and not practicing safe sex ARE valid health concerns and reasons to choose circumcision. There are increased infections in uncircumcised little boys in Western countries, and the African studies on circumcision and STD transmission are fairly convincing. Circumcision even decreases cervical cancer rates (obviously in women).

Whether or not those valid health benefits are sufficient to warrant widespread circumcision... depends upon one's estimation of the negatives as well as the endemic STD rates in wherever the male will end up being sexually active. If you view circumcision as a minor surgical procedure with no to minimal negative impact on future sexual function, sensitivity, etc., then the health benefits are convincing. If you view the negatives as more significant (ie. will affect future sensitivity, sexual function, etc.), or just prefer to go without medical procedures unless there is a much stronger benefit, then forgoing circumcision makes sense.

Just to illustrate, compare to the Gardasil vaccine that prevents cervical cancer. Yes, the vaccine is only partially effective and practicing safe sex would remove the need for it. But with extremely low side effect rates, I think it makes sense to vaccinate young girls rather than rely on them practicing 100% safe sex, even though they should clearly practice safe sex to avoid other STDs. Similarly with circumcision. Only if the negatives are significant does it make sense to go uncircumcised, at least given the recent studies on STD transmission.

As a female, this is definitely one I would punt at my husband if we had a boy. And for men circumcised at birth (or not circumcised since birth), I guess I wonder if its really even possible for them to evaluate the (potential) sensory effects, since they can't go back and experience the other outcome.
 

NovemberBride

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
962
Date: 4/1/2009 3:42:11 PM
Author: MC

Date: 4/1/2009 3:28:58 PM
Author: NovemberBride
Interesting topic. I had no idea there was so much debate on this issue. I thought that almost all males were circumcised at birth. My DH was and so were my brothers. I just always assumed we''d circumcise a boy if we had one. I probably still will do so since I believe it is the norm where I live (East Coast).
Yep, there''s loads of debate on circumcision AND vaccinations, as well.
Yes, I am aware of the debate on vaccines - my dad lobbies for the pharmaceutical industry and is closely involved with the investigations into the links between vaccines and certain illnesses initiated by the FDA and Congress. I''ve read a lot of the literature and will be fully vaccinating my children.
 

pinkstars

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
532
BF and I are a long long ways away from having kids, but we''re both leaning towards circumcision. I''m sure whenever we get pregnant and do need to really look into what we want to do we''ll be more into it.
The only thing I would have against it apart from the pain is I have a friend who''s mother waited until he was 2 or 3 to circumcise him and he vividly remembers it and the pain...so I would never want to put a child in that position where they''ll remember the pain.
 

E B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
9,488
Date: 4/1/2009 3:59:56 PM
Author: iluvcarats

One of the biggest problems of infection in uncircumcised men is within the elderly population.
I've heard this as well, and my phrasing should have been "...it can be avoided if little boys and men keep things clean, but what if they don't or can't."

I'm glad this thread has managed to stay flame-free, because I really do appreciate reading thoughtful arguments both for and against. Circumcision is one of the most heated topics (along with breastfeeding!) in a few of the pregnancy/parenting communities I frequent, and all too often those threads explode- and I stay away.
 

Elmorton

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
3,998
Strangely, this topic came up in one of the courses I teach recently (the topic is argumentation, so nearly everything under the sun gets mentioned - I''m just surprised that it was a topic that college students wanted to talk about). A few students were referring to botched circumcisions (in relation to David Reimer) and felt that it''s an unnecessary procedure, so I wouldn''t be surprised if US rates are declining (simply from the non-random, non-scientific, non-large scale vocalized arguments in my class ;-).

But, DH and I have discussed the topic before, and though our opinions could possibly change if we read more/actually had a male newborn in our arms, both of us agree (now) that we would have a male child circumcised.

The topic came up when I read an article recently that cited a study stating that circumcision reduced the spread of HPV (a disease that I personally feel needs a LOT more press since most sexually active people are horribly uneducated about it) - but for the life of me, I can''t remember where it was (worthless, I know). I did a quick google search and found this on a first hit:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/26/healthmag.circumcision.hpv.herpes/ - but that wasn''t the article I read.
 

steph72276

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
4,212
It is the norm where we are. I don''t know of any male that isn''t and I didn''t think twice about it when we had our son. I guess it is personal, but I think it would be a lot more painful to have to have the procedure later in life if it is needed/wanted.
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
2,202
Date: 4/1/2009 4:02:54 PM
Author: swingirl
I am completely against male and female circumcision. Every society is going to have their reasons why they do it but the fact is a baby can't decide and once you do it, it's done. There is a lot of scarring that takes place if male circumcision is done pre puberty before the foreskin is naturally released. So if you really care about the health of the organ, and since not many babies and children come down with diseases due to an intact foreskin just wait until the person can decide for themselves. But don't damage a perfectly good organ. How is it that after thousands of years of human evolution the penis ends up being the only organ that needs to changed at birth?
Just to address your last point, evolution is not a perfect tool. Why do whales have tiny leg bones, why do ostriches have wings, why do people get goosebumps that make their hair stand on end? All things that were more useful to the ancestors. Maybe the human foreskin was more useful once, when humans wandered naked. Now it is less useful, and maybe the health risks outweigh the protection benefits, but since having a foreskin has only a small effect on fitness it would take a very long time for evolution to remove it. And much longer if people keep chopping it off at birth - then there is no feedback into the system to prefer males with the genes for small/no foreskin, and affect the human gene pool. Only by males dying from infection prior to conceiving and not being around to help raise successful children (or males being rejected as sexual partners due to their larger foreskin - a female aesthetic preference) would evolutionary pressure favor smaller foreskins and it would take many, many, many generations to shrink them away. (Making some assumptions about the genetics here.) Anyway, it is entirely possible that evolution has not found the most perfect structure or even the safest structure for our current environment... So it is not that it "needs" to be changed but that it may be safer/preferable to change it for health reasons. Or were you asking a rhetorical question?
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
7,770
Date: 4/1/2009 5:00:21 PM
Author: cara
Date: 4/1/2009 4:02:54 PM

Author: swingirl

I am completely against male and female circumcision. Every society is going to have their reasons why they do it but the fact is a baby can''t decide and once you do it, it''s done. There is a lot of scarring that takes place if male circumcision is done pre puberty before the foreskin is naturally released. So if you really care about the health of the organ, and since not many babies and children come down with diseases due to an intact foreskin just wait until the person can decide for themselves. But don''t damage a perfectly good organ. How is it that after thousands of years of human evolution the penis ends up being the only organ that needs to changed at birth?
Just to address your last point, evolution is not a perfect tool. Why do whales have tiny leg bones, why do ostriches have wings, why do people get goosebumps that make their hair stand on end? All things that were more useful to the ancestors. Maybe the human foreskin was more useful once, when humans wandered naked. Now it is less useful, and maybe the health risks outweigh the protection benefits, but since having a foreskin has only a small effect on fitness it would take a very long time for evolution to remove it. And much longer if people keep chopping it off at birth - then there is no feedback into the system to prefer males with the genes for small/no foreskin, and affect the human gene pool. Only by males dying from infection prior to conceiving and not being around to help raise successful children (or males being rejected as sexual partners due to their larger foreskin - a female aesthetic preference) would evolutionary pressure favor smaller foreskins and it would take many, many, many generations to shrink them away. (Making some assumptions about the genetics here.) Anyway, it is entirely possible that evolution has not found the most perfect structure or even the safest structure for our current environment... So it is not that it ''needs'' to be changed but that it may be safer/preferable to change it for health reasons. Or were you asking a rhetorical question?
Ditto cara here and also on the points above - very articulately and well put.

Also, just for the record, as an immunologist/infectious disease researcher, I can think of very few things LESS responsible than failing to vaccinate your children, but I realize that''s a separate discussion and a separate thread...
 

swimmer

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
2,516
I just wanted to clarify something that seems blurred. The research that has shown that circumcision prevents the spread of HPV was on MALEs who are circumcised. Not females. Female circumcision is not normally performed on newborns. I have seen girls who were seeking medical treatment after circumcision, they tended to be around 13/menstruation age. I was working in HIV/AIDS education in West Africa, where men are now encouraged to get circumcised as adults in order to halt the spread of the disease (I''m not sure about the resource allocation decisions there, but am not an expert). Anyway, just to clarify, female genital mutilation is not performed on newborns, but rather on adolescents who also have no choice in the ordeal, but that is about controlling these girls'' reproductive functions. I would argue that this is very different from the health or tradition positions that have been put forward here concerning the circumcision of infant males.

Circe, I winced at Dr. Wang also. And am I really going to be the first person to bring up Sex and the City?

Indeed, nice job with a polite discussion on the topic. Thank you for respecting the faith based position as well. If I have sons, they will be circumcised in a far more antiseptic manner than Abraham could have imagined; the pull of traditions and beliefs remain strong.
 
Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top