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Pros and Cons to Circumcising

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Dh and I are expecting our first child and I have been studying up on everything.

He's opposed to circumcising. I've never even thought of it. I understand this is an anti-circ board but I really would like both sides of the argument. Thanx all!
post #2 of 67
there is no really Pro about C... you can def find more info here http://www.nocirg.org or the stickies in the Web resource. There is no medical need for it, that's why medicaid is slowly eliminating their coverage and soon insurance companies will stop covering it. In some countries it is already illegal and most of the British countries do not perform this procedure at all because it does not offer any medical benefit. According to the Association of American Pediatrics it's unnecessary and not recommended.
post #3 of 67


We're so glad you joined us!!

Here are some links I really like:

http://oknocirc.blogspot.com/

http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/fleiss.html

http://www.circumstitions.com/Itsaboy.html

and a whole bunch of mamas who regret circumcising their sons:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=112410


There aren't any "pros" to circumcision so I can't give you any of those.

(It's similar to asking for the "pros" of NOT using a car seat. Well, anyone who tells you that you really don't need a car seat is misguided.)
post #4 of 67
This is one of the arguments that doesn't have two sides. Would you consider circumcising a daughter? Because circumcising a boy has just as many positives as circumcising a girl- NONE.

-Angela
post #5 of 67
Well, you're not going to get both sides of the argument, because A) arguing for circ is against the user agreement, and B) the pro-circ arguments are all either false, specious, or invalid. If you read the stickies, you will see your dh's reasons and more.

I'm curious, what specifically is your reason for not wanting to go with your husband on this issue?
post #6 of 67
Also, MRSA (deadly staph) is on the rise, and the circumcision wound provides a perfect entry point:

http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi.../DOC/mrsa.html


(warning: The link contains a picture of a boy who contracted MRSA following circumcision. It's graphic.)
post #7 of 67
These will also get you started:

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/1/T012000.asp
http://www.circumstitions.com/Itsaboy.html

Perhaps I will expand on this a little bit. In the US it is popularly presumed that circumcision reduces the risk of numerous things but those keep on changing as some are disproved and other 'pop' up. That is the history of circumcision in a nutshell. Currently the list you might get will include UTI, STD, HIV, Penile Cancer, and Cervical cancer. These 'benefits' are either exaggerated or simply not supported by the facts; for instance consider the thread I posted today 'Europe Vs. US' and the STD data there. Or the recent article in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Paediatrics posted here (link to the actual journal article can be found there). Circumcision is extremely rare in Europe and Common in the US clearly circumcision isn't helping us out in this category. Rather the key to controlling STDs is safe sex education and condoms.

Maybe it is too soon but perhaps we could turn the question around. What do you believe the 'pros' of circumcision might be?
post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 
No reason for not wanting to go with him on this. Just never considered it so I figured I should get acquainted with the issue as it's important to him. His reasoning is a lack of feeling around the scar tissue.

Thanks for the links!
post #9 of 67
Thread Starter 
"What do you believe the 'pros' of circumcision might be?"

You hear about health and cleanliness benefits. Things like uncirced males run a greater risk of contracting STD's (something about the foreskin trapping fluids), or if you're not super-diligent with cleaning then the foreskin will get infected. Although my confidence level in medical studies is not the highest.....
post #10 of 67
Well, you aren't going to get "both sides" here because we don't support circ in any way. You could find some arguements for it in other places, but it's highly likely to be false or extremely exaggerated info.

Here are a few "pros" debunked:

"It's cleaner" Well, no it really isn't. Until the boy is retractible, you just wash the outside. When he can retract, rinsing in the bath or shower is sufficient, just like any other body part. So it's just as clean as a circ'ed penis. And when you circ, you have to deal with keeping feces out of an open wound. Now, *that* is not clean.

"Less infections and STD's" There's no real research to support any of this. There have been some questionable studies that showed intact was more likely to develop STD's, but if you look at the real world...it doesn't make sense. The majority of american men are circ'ed yet we have higher STD rates than most other industrialized countries...hmmmm.... The majority of infections are easily treatable and also preventable! Again, there's no real evidence that intact get more infections than circ'ed.

"He will look like daddy" Well, that's hardly a benefit since your DH is against it.

"If you get it done young, it will spare him the trauma later" Well first, it rarely needs to be done later. And secondly, it is much less painful and traumatic for an older boy/adult. Just because the infant won't remember it doesn't mean it wasn't a horrific experience. At least when they are older they get proper pain relief and don't have to urinate on the wound.

Really, none of that even matters. What matters is it's your son's penis. Shouldn't he have a say in what happens to it? All things considered, I think this is the most important point. He can always be circ'ed later if he wants, but once you make that decision for him, you can't take it back.
post #11 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by armychicmkm View Post
"What do you believe the 'pros' of circumcision might be?"

You hear about health and cleanliness benefits. Things like uncirced males run a greater risk of contracting STD's (something about the foreskin trapping fluids), or if you're not super-diligent with cleaning then the foreskin will get infected. Although my confidence level in medical studies is not the highest.....
Ok there is a start. I was editing my previous post to more completely address your question and as it happened I left some STD info there. If you want us to discuss this, or any other question, just ask. We don't want to avalanche you with too much info at once, too late I guess.
post #12 of 67
You are very fortunate to have a husband who doesn't want to circumcise!
post #13 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemelos View Post
You are very fortunate to have a husband who doesn't want to circumcise!
From what I've been reading so far it seems that he's in the minority on that one.

I kind of figured I should go with his wishes on this one as he has that particular piece of equipment and should therefore know better than I. I also know I won't be satisfied with any decision I make until I research it inside and out.
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by armychicmkm View Post
"What do you believe the 'pros' of circumcision might be?"

You hear about health and cleanliness benefits. Things like uncirced males run a greater risk of contracting STD's (something about the foreskin trapping fluids), or if you're not super-diligent with cleaning then the foreskin will get infected. Although my confidence level in medical studies is not the highest.....
Ok sorry I have to address some more of this just to get it out of the way. First, most of the infections you hear about are from Drs in the US not teaching proper care, which is to do nothing. Often they tell parents to retract and clean and this leads to problems. Second, I am an intact male so I am speaking from first person experience: As to the super-diligent cleaning thing this is just not true. Although I don't do it regularly, I have gone well over two weeks without 'properly' bathing (back country backpacking and such) and have never had a hint of a problem. You'll just have to take my word on that. But consider that the foreskin has been with us since well before modern levels of cleanliness were available and if it was such a liability, it would have disappeared long ago plus no other industrialized country routinely circumcises and they don't seem to have problems.
post #15 of 67
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=jwhispers;11130104]Although I don't do it regularly, I have gone well over two weeks without 'properly' bathing (back country backpacking and such) and have never had a hint of a problem. You'll just have to take my word on that. QUOTE]

Good to know as hubby is an avid outdoorsman and plans on raising our children camping and hunting and all that.
post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhispers View Post
Ok sorry I have to address some more of this just to get it out of the way. First, most of the infections you hear about are from Drs in the US not teaching proper care, which is to do nothing. Often they tell parents to retract and clean and this leads to problems. Second, I am an intact male so I am speaking from first person experience: As to the super-diligent cleaning thing this is just not true. Although I don't do it regularly, I have gone well over two weeks without 'properly' bathing (back country backpacking and such) and have never had a hint of a problem. You'll just have to take my word on that. But consider that the foreskin has been with us since well before modern levels of cleanliness were available and if it was such a liability, it would have disappeared long ago plus no other industrialized country routinely circumcises and they don't seem to have problems.
YOU ARE MY HERO
post #17 of 67
Armychkn - you are a lucky wife and mom to be with a sensible husband! I will be honest with you. If there was a good reason to circ. I would tell you. I am emotional about this issue because it involves hurting a child for no good reason. I am only a little crunchy and used to not be crunchy AT ALL - so this is not a crunchy thing to leave your child intact. Basically Americans 60% of the parents who have baby boys in this country are brainwashed and refuse to hear the truth.

I guess there are a few good reasons to circumcise - 'I like to listen to misinformation and old wives tales and would prefer to cut off healthy pieces of my newborn baby's genitals than to question this practice. I also might prefer the costmetic appearance of genitals cut in this way so bizarely think my child should appear this way also. Strapping him down and knowing he will scream in pain and discomfort is ok with me. 10 days of having poop and pee in an open would is ok with me and if I plan to breastfeed I don't mind if his level of discomfort and detachment induced by having his genitals cut makes that difficult. I don't mind if he has a complication from this procedure that causes anything from mild chaffing to death.'

So there you go. As a wife to a 32 year old intact man and a almost 20 month old intact son it isn't dirty, smelly, or hard to clean. PM me if you want details on any aspect of it whatsoever.

Jenni
post #18 of 67
Go ahead- check out the link in my signature.
post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by armychicmkm View Post
Dh and I are expecting our first child and I have been studying up on everything. He's opposed to circumcising. I've never even thought of it. I understand this is an anti-circ board but I really would like both sides of the argument. Thanx all!
Congratulations on your first pregnancy! And good for you for "studying up." There are plenty of things in the realm of pregnancy, birth, and parenting that are often taken for granted and these are the very things that should be questioned. Circumcision is one of them, often way down the list of all the other things that one has to learn about and make decisions about when pregnant, but one not to be overlooked! Many parents never get to the point of looking into it, and some come to later regret a decision to circumcise when they find out things that they did not have the chance to consider.

So you are way ahead of the game (not to mention you have a very sensible and wise DH!).

You asked for "both sides of the argument." But it isn't really as easy as that. You're just not going to find nice neat lists of equal numbers of reasons for and against. Even the sources that purport to be unbiased (e.g. medical position statements on circumcision, or patient information handouts) don't always tell "both sides".

For instance, they may give a list of potential medical benefits, but then neglect to give any counterarguments as to why these claims may not be valid .

Or they may not give parents a realistic picture of what a circumcision actually entails or mention all the risks.

Or they may not give any information about what the foreskin is and what it is there for (hint: it's on the business end of the penis!).

Or may avoid any discussion the ethical issues potentially involved.

In fact, most sources put the focus on circumcising, without covering much at all about the alternative of NOT circumcising.

So much for "both sides."

Some of the things you mentioned you have heard about possible benefits (medical, "cleanliness," whatever) of circumcision are about as far as most people get when they think about or are taught about circumcision. What you will hear on this board is the "other side," the side that is usually left out of what you hear in the myth-driven mainstream American culture. So it may SEEM unbalanced, but in fact it IS the balance.

It's strange that only in America do parents have to "wrestle" with the decision of whether to circumcise or not - because NO other country in the world circumcises the majority of its newborns for non-religious reasons. England, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand used to circumcise newborns, but now no longer do. Thanksfully, in the US, the rates have dropped from 80-90% in the 1970s to approximately 55% in recent years - but we still have a long way to go to protect every boy.

The simple fact is that ALL boys are born with a foreskin. Probably 75% of males in the world grow up and live their whole lives quite happily with intact genitals. It would never cross the minds of most parents in the world to cut off part of their newborn baby's genitals!

By the way, it is very interesting to dig into the history of how circumcision got started in the US, which was scientifically actually on pretty shaky grounds. Here are a couple of good sites: http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/
http://www.icgi.org/medicalization/ .

If I may just say in closing that, to me, the starting point for learning about circumcision is just realizing that the foreskin is a normal body part, worthy of as much respect and protection as any other. Realizing this, and that a decision to cut it off (off someone else, no less!) is not an inconsequential decision and is irreversible to boot, makes it all the more important that you research this carefully and thoroughly - which is exactly what you seem to be setting out to do.

Please keep in mind that though parents are given the right and responsibility in our culture to decide for or against circumcision, there really is a third very important stakeholder in the decision – the boy himself! This is where the ethics of it comes in. It’s his body and he alone will have to live his life with the consequences of the decision, so perhaps a consideration of his right to have a say in how much of his penis he gets to keep should be part of one’s deliberations.

Glad you found us! If you have more questions, ask away! We're passionate, but we don't bite, and we LOVE people who come here with an open mind!

Gillian
post #20 of 67
Thread Starter 
My (future) son's rights are what has me steering away from circ. more than anything else. I'm a farily big believer in making you own decisions and that is a pretty big decision to take away. And DH is making me include "Not to mention I already said no."
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