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Thought I had made up my mind...

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

We're having a surprise. My sister is having a boy, her first boy after three girls. (We're both due at the end of July.)


Her husband wants their son circumcised for the sole reason that he (himself) is circumcised, and it would make him feel "uncomfortable" (his words) for their son to be intact. (I think this is lame, but that is irrelevant.) She was undecided before he "put his foot down," I suppose. She and I have talked about it quite a bit. 


I stated it was unnecessary and painful, so if we were to have a boy, he'd remain intact (my hubby, who is circ'd, wants whatever I want... and whatever is best for our son).


Then my sister tells me (on separate occasions) of TWO different families she knows. They all (recently) had "complications" with their sons' intact penises. Both of them ended up being circumcised (ages 4 and 9, I think...), and the events leading up to the circs (and obviously, the circs as well) were all very painful for these boys. 


I read on this message board that complications are quite rare, but the fact that my sister knows TWO little boys who just went through "intact hell" is tough to take. I'm not sure, exactly (neither is she), what "complications" they had, but she just mentioned that they were infected.


I'm just getting nervous now. I don't want there to be any pain caused down the road (worse than a circ in the first place) for my son. I want to be confident in my decision. And I want what's best for our son (if we have one... tee hee).


Encouragement is much appreciated. Thank you! :-)



post #2 of 33

I'm pretty new to this movement (ds is just one), but it is AMAZING and heartbreaking to see how often on this board, a mama is advised that circumcision will be necessary for something that is either normal (i.e. "foreskin is tight" or "the hole is too small" or "he should be retracting by now and should be circumcised) or minimal (urinary tract infection, hello antibiotics!) I am shocked by what a benign, non-problematic body part the foreskin is. Easy to care for, a cinch to clean. My Dh "put his foot down" and I said "no way!"and you know what? He apologized after ds was born because he finally got it! Seriously, it seems like 9 out of 10 times, it is the doctor's ignorance of the matter that is the real problem. That other time is usually something treatable without circumcision. My doc is from a culture where circ isn't the norm (India) and he said all his friends are doctors as well, non circumcized, and not ONE problem that he ever knew of!


Edited by tammylsmith - 5/21/11 at 12:18pm
post #3 of 33

By the way. how many cases of botched circs (too much/too little taken) and re-dos do you know of? I can think of 3 in my close circle of friends. Complications from the circ are more common than people realize at first. My pediatrician said she sees far more problems with circumcised boys who's foreskin remnants get stuck back... a dangerous and painful state called paraphimosis. She says in all her years of practice, she's never seen 1 problem with an intact boy.

post #4 of 33
If you educate yourself on what is normal and what is not then you can protect your ds from the Dr's who will cut for things like infection which is NOT something that should be done or for a to tight foreskin when you know it is supposed to be tight up until puberty for some boys.

The danger is not in being intact the danger lies in the medical community that is so cut happy so if you know more than they do then your ds will be safe.
post #5 of 33

Hi Reya


Some Drs automatically seem to go for the circumcision option first if there are "complications" rather than trying any alternative treatments that are not so drastic and final.  In my opinion, circing because your child might have issues down the road is not a good reason to do it.  Often these issues are not actually problems at all but misdiagnosis of phimosis and the Dr believing that your child 'ought to be retractable by now, so we'd better just go ahead and circumcise.'  It's quite valuable at this point to do some reading on the difference between pathological and physiological phimosis, as many Drs do not seem to recognize that these are different things entirely.


You're also right that some circed men are uncomfortable with being 'different' to their sons - again, not a good reason to do it, but in some way I feel this is a complicated emotional response by circed men who are not able or willing to see their own circumcision as unnecessary.  I was born and raised in England, where circumcision is rare.  I can only think of one boy I knew of who had to be circumcised later because of complications.  I think that it is still ingrained in medical culture in this country, that circumcision is the only viable option if there is infection or other complications, when really it should be the last resort.  It's disheartening that some Drs view the foreskin like the appendix, an unnecessary piece of tissue that we may as well get rid of, when all of the evidence points to it having a great deal of value in terms of the health of the penis, and later on, the sexual health and wellbeing of men.


Keep doing your research to help you with your decision and best wishes.



post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thank you all so much! I do love doing research, and I try to read everything I can on any one topic. So I *will* continue to research on proper care and what is normal.... if a problem does arrive in the future. :-)


And not sure about our doctor yet and her stance. But I chose her because of her "natural" vs medical (intervention and such) approach to practicing medicine. I really am not worried about that, so that's nice. :-)


Thank you again! 

post #7 of 33

Hi!   Welcome to MDC!!


When you have questions about your (maybe) boy's intact penis, come back here and ask around - this forum has given me SO MUCH information about how to care for my son, and answered questions that I didn't even know I had!  I don't regret my decision a single bit, and it hasn't caused my (circ'd) ex to have any trouble bonding with ds. 


I will say though, even though the ped you chose is more natural minded, doesn't mean she knows anything about intact baby penises.  Many doctors don't know how to properly care for an intact penis (even though its the easiest thing in the world - you just wipe it and leave it alone!), and will retract it to "make sure there are no problems", but in reality that can cause some pretty big problems.  Every time I take my ds to the ped I tell her not to touch his penis, and not to do anything to it at all.  Every.Single.Time.  We argued once about proper care, and I think she did some research on it, but I still don't trust her after she tried to retract him when he was 15mo. 


Anyway, Congratulations on your pregnancy!!  Finding out the gender at birth is so exciting!!  I told my midwife to let me look - and she had to remind me to I was so excited to be holding my ds!

post #8 of 33

my son is intact and perfectly fine. i have every expectation that he will continue to have no problems with his penis. why would he?? his penis is in it's natural state, the way nature made it, with a protective foreskin the same as hundreds (thousands?) of generations of his male ancestors.


and i will add that reasons to skip circumcision aren't just because it's painful and unnecessary -- my son and his intact counterparts (and their future partners) will enjoy better sexuality for their entire lives.


when you see your little one enjoying himself in the way that little boys do, it's so obvious that the foreskin is meant to be there, and that it is an important part of the male anatomy.


and the bottom line for many people is that the foreskin belongs to the baby/boy/man... not his parents. it is his body. we should not amputate healthy functioning parts of our child's anatomy for cosmetic reasons. if male circumcision were not already so ingrained in our culture, it would be considered a crime against human rights for this to be happening.


please just leave your son's foreskin alone. you simply wash it like you wash a finger. over and out. nature takes care of all the rest. 

Edited by ElliesMomma - 5/28/11 at 9:52pm
post #9 of 33

Reyasunshine, welcome.  Good for you for doing the research.  As others have pointed out, the "complications" that resulted in circumcision that your sister mentioned are in all likelihood the result of doctors who are totaly ignorant of the normal form, development and function of a foreskin. All they know is to whack it off for any problem, whether real or percieved.  Contrast this to Finland, where circumcision is virtualy unheard of - I read a stat that only one in  16,600 men will die without their foreskin.  Compare that to the U.S. where well over a hundred children die each year from circumcision complications - one, a 2 year old in New York just two weeks ago.

Two good websites that will provide you with weeks of reading are www.circumstitions.com  and  www.cirp.org (has two sections - the front index and the library) .  There is also a concise, but very informative article at: http://mensightmagazine.com/Articles/Fleiss,%20M.%20Paul/tellaboutcirc.htm .  And one refuting all the bogus reasons that our doctors use to justify circumcising a child: www.mothering.com/health/protect-your-uncircumcised-son-expert-medical-advise-parents .


It saddens me to read that your sister appears to have given in to her DH bullying.  Circumcision of a child really is a human rights violation.  The foreskin belongs to him, not his parents. He should have the choice - and very few choose to give it up!!  Heck, if anyone circumcised their dog, they'd end up in jail!!  Here is a statement on ethics www.canadiancrc.com/Circumcision_Genital_Mutilation_Male-Female_Children.aspx .

post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thank you all so much! I feel so much more confident now. AND... I just found out a friend of mine (home-birthing, cloth-diapering Mama, like me) kept her son's penis intact too. I'm so glad I'll have her support through this... *if* we end up having a boy. ;-)


Thank you again!


p.s. Hakunangovi, I wish my sister wouldn't give in to her husband's bullying either, but she always tells me, "I have to pick my battles with him." He is... well, he's very stubborn and stuck in his ways, and he has a temper. So she just finds every way possible to *not* argue with him or get into any type of confrontation. Yeah, I'm not a fan of him. But I love my sister. :-)

post #11 of 33

Love this.

BTW, my intact son is 15 years old. No problems and I haven't even seen the penis since his natural modesty kicked in at age 6.
post #12 of 33
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

BTW, my intact son is 15 years old. No problems and I haven't even seen the penis since his natural modesty kicked in at age 6.

This, except mine is 18, and the natural modesty kicked in at about 8.


Oh - and my older brother is also intact, and he's never had any problems that I ever heard about. He's 48.

post #13 of 33

Welcome, Reya! Love your username.


I agree with everyone else. The vast majority of "necessary" circumcisions are done in the US because doctors are not trained to treat the intact penis, so their first course of action is amputation. For any other body part, amputation would be an absolute last resort, after everything else had been tried.


In countries where circumcision is not regularly done, the incidence of "necessary" circumcisions is on the order of 1 in 10,000. Your son is much more likely to need his appendix or tonsils removed, but no one suggests that we cut those out at birth "just in case". It seems strange to me to perform surgery on an infant - a 100% guarantee of surgery - just on the off chance that he might need surgery on that part some time later in life.


The other thing to  consider is that the cases your sister talked about - two boys having trouble with thier penises - could very well have been the result of earlier incorrect medical advice. Many doctors - mine included - tell parents that they must gently retract their baby's foreskin at diaper changes. This is wrong, wrong, wrong! Baby's foreskin is attached to the glans at birth, and pulling it back - even gently - can cause small tears which can scar or act as sites for infection. Those kinds of problems simply don't happen if you leave the foreskin alone. No one but Junior himself - not you or your doctor - should ever try to retract Junior's foreskin. It will gradually separate as he gets older - maybe by the time he's 3 or 4, maybe not until puberty.


Please read this article http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/vincent/vulnerability_of_men.html  to get an idea of why your DH feels the way he does. This is for you to read, not him.

post #14 of 33

I haven't read the replies, so I'm probably just going to say the same thing as everybody else, but the complications were most likely caused by the foreskin being forcefully retracted. If the complications were from infection, most other body parts are not cut off when there is an infection. There are other, less drastic and disfiguring things to do. It's really sad, but way too many doctors are extremely ignorant about intact penises. They do things to cause problems (retraction), and they overreact when there is a problem.


I wish your sister would see that this is a battle worth picking.

post #15 of 33

I had small nagging doubts early on too sometimes....later in my pregnancy, they disappeared completely and after he was born and I saw how perfect he was, I was relieved that I had been wise enough to protect him.  Now (he is just about to turn 4) I feel proud of my decision.  I am pregnant with another boy and it didn't even cross my mind to circumcize him.   I wouldn't do that to any child of mine in a million years!  


My husband disagreed with me strongly (and still does)  and I felt sad that he was so upset, but I could never ignore my instincts to protect my son, no matter how strongly my husband feels about it. 



I promise you, it's not a big deal at all!   His penis will function just like everyone else's and he will have a perfectly normal life.  Most of the world's men are intact and are just fine!!!!   


post #16 of 33

Not much to add to what previous posters have said, but it did make me second guess a bit when it seemed like everyone I knew personally knew someone with a horror story about a "necessary" circumcision later in life.  Then I stopped to think about it.  How many women do I know who have had recurring yeast infections, etc.?  Most of them?  I've had plenty of infections myself.  I treated them and moved on.  What if doctors had insisted that I cut part of my body off to prevent them?  Yuck.  My daughter is much more likely than my intact son to get a UTI.  I would never cut part of her off to prevent that or to treat it.  Why do it to him?

post #17 of 33


Check out Circumcision Decision-Maker. It takes you through each of your reasons for wanting circumcision one at a time and then gives you some expert opinion. It also has a lot of information on penis anatomy, how the foreskin develops, circumcision, and care of the intact penis including washing instructions.

post #18 of 33

I can understand the desire to "pick one's battles."

I would think that one battle worth picking would be to protect my helpless infant son from guaranteed pain and lifelong harm and the risk of even more serious complications and even death.

...And the reason the father gives for wanting it done is that he "would feel uncomfortable." Well, buddy, better that you, a grown man, "feel uncomfortable" than that your son experience excruciating pain during the procedure, severe pain during the healing phase, and a lifetime of sexual side-effects of varying degree, not to mention once again that lovely risk of death. Who could force a child to take on all of that, just to spare Dad some "uncomfortable feelings"?

I hope your sister decides to pick this battle.


As previous posters have said, the "problems" experienced by the intact boys in your circle were almost certainly imagined by the doctors (i.e., lack of retraction by any given age is NOT actually a "problem," yet many doctors recommend circumcision as a "solution" to the non-existent problem), caused by the doctors (i.e. scar tissue caused by forced retraction and cleaning under the foreskin), or could have been treated without circumcision (i.e. yeast infection.) All of these "problems" are really just scare tactics used to bully parents into circumcising their babies.

I found an interesting statistic on a Canadian website. It said that one in ten boys who are circumcised as infants wind up having to have the circumcision "re-done." That was compared with one in ten boys who were not circumcised as infants, who wound up being circumcised later in life for one reason or another. So the idea of "doing it now to spare him having to have it done later" really doesn't seem to work out at all! - except some children had the procedure twice instead of only once! Plus, I doubt all of those "later in life" circumcisions were strictly necessary, as the stat a previous poster mentioned from Finland where only 1 in 16,000 males are ever circumcised for any reason (including not only medical, but cosmetic and religious.) If there really were urgent medical reasons for one in ten males to become circumcised, wouldn't that also be seen in Finland? I think that ACTUAL medical reasons for circumcising are vanishingly rare, and you open your child up to a world of risk by messing with nature and having him circumcised.


All the best to you and to your sister, and your babies!

post #19 of 33

That was a beautiful response!

post #20 of 33

DH's brother is intact and as far as I can tell hes fine! Hes 34:)

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