Outrageous pro-circ email from WebMD - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am FURIOUS right now. I signed up for one of those cute week-by-week pregnancy email lists because I thought it would give myself and my husband nice things to talk about concerning the pregnancy and the baby every week- this 33-week milestones message just hit my inbox:

"If you are having a boy, you will need to decide whether you will have your son circumcised or not. The decision to have him circumcised is up to you and the baby's father. Circumcision was once thought to be for just cosmetic purposes. The pendulum has been swinging back and forth as to the benefits of the procedure. Well, the pendulum is now swinging toward a benefit for the child. There is evidence to suggest less risk of contracting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) in African countries strictly based on the performance of circumcision. There is less risk of developing penile cancer, phimosis (tightness of the foreskin) and urinary tract infections. There is no data that suggests there is a decrease in sensation when having sexual relations due to the circumcision.

Now is the time to begin the discussions on what to do so you can let your healthcare provider know whether you want him circumcised or not"

That's all it says. Nothing about the risks, nothing about the fact that the AAP still says there's no medical reason to do it, I just feel like throwing up right now. Can you imagine if a couple was on the fence and they both got this, how much harder it would be for the anti-circ person to defend themselves at this point, this late in the pregnancy?!
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#2 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's the response I wrote after looking up their contact person for feedback on their publications. I haven't sent it yet. What do you think?

Mr Swint,

Upon receipt of the outrageously misinformed email I opened from WebMD this morning regarding taking the 33rd week of my pregnancy to address the decision to circumcise my baby should it be born male, I visited the WebMD website and took at look at your editorial policy. The following claim is a direct quote: "Our mission is to bring you the most objective, trustworthy, and accurate health information on the web..."

Is it really? Because I just read one of the most one-sided, uninformed, inaccurate statements on circumcision I have ever seen in my life coming from an organization of supposed health professionals. There was no information in the email about the risks of circumcision such as scarring, loss of part or all of the penis, infection and death. Yes, these risks are rare, but it is deeply irresponsible to just not mention them at all in a health publication. There was also no mention of the fact that, despite your writer's opinion that "the pendulum is now swinging toward a benefit for the child", the American Academy of Pediatrics still maintains in their policy on infant circumcision that routine circumcision of male infants is not recommended, and that the potential risks as well as potential benefits should be discussed with all parents considering circumcision for their sons.

I am, quite frankly, disgusted by the fact that I was sent this biased and factually inaccurate newsletter by a purported publisher of trustworthy medical information. I am unsubscribing from your pregnancy email list, as is my husband, and we will not be using your site for health reference resources or any other purpose in the future.

Sincerely,

(me)
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#3 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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That is outrageous! A parent-to-be could look at that e-mail and think it is objective, then consider him or herself "informed" and decide to circumcise! I have heard the WebMD site itself is awful for circumcision information. That e-mail is definitely written or edited by a physician who has done circumcisions.

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Married mom to Patrick (2004), Noah (2006) and Liam (2010) VBAC!!
winner.jpg                                        nocirc.gif                                  jumpers.gif
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#4 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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And yes, send your letter!

Katie (36)
 
Married mom to Patrick (2004), Noah (2006) and Liam (2010) VBAC!!
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#5 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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Excellent reply. It's scary to think how many parents may have received this garbage. They also lied when they said "there is no data that suggests a decrease in sensation."
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#6 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I sent it.

I decided not to get into how wrongity-wrong-WRONG their information was on a point by point basis and just focus on how they negligently omitted the risks, but ITA that they are basically just lying in that part! And other parts, for that matter!

My husband said this email called everything he has ever read on their site into question for him because it was so obviously biased and unethical, and he also agreed with me that this is just an insane item to send out, especially to people who are a few weeks out from having a baby. We are feeling really badly for the anti-circ parents with pro-circ partners or family that got this horrid email today, probably in the thousands
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#7 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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Great reply send it.
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#8 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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I'm glad you spoke up!
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#9 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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I think your letter was great and very well-worded! You were right not to get into it point-by-point. No sense arguing the details if they feel there are benefits. Just pointing out they forgot the risks is enough I think.
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#10 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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It's funny you should bring this up because I got an email from one of those pregnancy week-by-weeks today too, and I'm not even pregnant. Apparently, according to the email, I'm in week 39:

Will You Circumcise Your Son?
If you’re having a boy, do you plan to circumcise? Weigh the pros and cons carefully. Some believe circumcision is cleaner and new studies report it decreases the contraction of AIDS, but others say it isn’t necessary and lessens sensation.
•Facts & Feelings About Circumcision
•Parents Community: Chat About Circumcision
•Should You Circumcise Your Son?
•Cleaning Baby’s Sensitive Parts

Each of these go to links, but as you can guess, each link is slightly less biased than the email from WebMD. This one is parents.com.

Now mom to a boy born January 2010. 
Cautiously expecting Dec 2014!

 12/08 (6 weeks),  1/13 (11 weeks), &  12/13 (9.5 weeks)
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#11 of 14 Old 11-01-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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And this is the perfect argument to one I hear frequently. How could the parent not understand how bad circ is?? Because they get stuff like this from what is considered by many many people to be a GOOD source of information.

I think it should make us all think twice about posting "how could she make that decision when I gave her all these facts??" posts.

Easy. She is getting a lot of information from reputable sources as well.

My son is intact and I am in no way saying circ is right-I am strongly opposed. What I am saying is don't assume people who do circ didn't do any research-when there is this kind of stuff floating around I think you can see how people can make the decision they do.
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#12 of 14 Old 11-07-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
And this is the perfect argument to one I hear frequently. How could the parent not understand how bad circ is?? Because they get stuff like this from what is considered by many many people to be a GOOD source of information.

I think it should make us all think twice about posting "how could she make that decision when I gave her all these facts??" posts.

Easy. She is getting a lot of information from reputable sources as well.

My son is intact and I am in no way saying circ is right-I am strongly opposed. What I am saying is don't assume people who do circ didn't do any research-when there is this kind of stuff floating around I think you can see how people can make the decision they do.
Thank you for this. It reminds me to be gentler in my judgements of my friends. I am really hurt by the disappointment I feel in their decisions to circ their sons. It's okay for me to be disappointed. However, I love them and don't think they should lose my respect.
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#13 of 14 Old 11-07-2010, 04:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
And this is the perfect argument to one I hear frequently. How could the parent not understand how bad circ is?? Because they get stuff like this from what is considered by many many people to be a GOOD source of information.

I think it should make us all think twice about posting "how could she make that decision when I gave her all these facts??" posts.

Easy. She is getting a lot of information from reputable sources as well.

My son is intact and I am in no way saying circ is right-I am strongly opposed. What I am saying is don't assume people who do circ didn't do any research-when there is this kind of stuff floating around I think you can see how people can make the decision they do.
This is SO true, unfortunately It's difficult because a lot of the anti-circ info doesn't seems as "reputable" as what their doctor (or webmd!) is telling them.

Anyway OP, great letter, I'm glad you sent it. Also notice how they don't touch on the fact that the US circ rate is down to 33%!

As an aside, the packet of newborn info from the hospital when I had DS last month had a page full of circumcision care. All it said about intact care was "if you did not circumcise, talk to your doctor about how to care for your son's foreskin." I guess it's better than bad intact care info, but it makes it look like foreskins are so hard to deal with that they can't even cover it all on the info sheet, you know?
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#14 of 14 Old 11-11-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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Quote:
"if you did not circumcise, talk to your doctor about how to care for your son's foreskin."

 

This is a subtle instruction to circumcise.

 

Most US doctors apparently don't know anyway.

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