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#1 of 8 Old 08-27-2003, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm on a mailing list for other women who are due in December and discussions are usually light and lively. About a month ago, a circ discussion came up. Someone innocently asked about it (not realizing what a HOT topic it can be,) and a discussion went on for a couple of days. Most of the opinions were anti-circ, but there were differing ones. Everyone was very respectful and we all agreed that the questioner needed to do their own research and that we shouldn't get into it too much on the list because the topic can get heated and personal too easily. I thought it was handled beautifully.

Well, more women have joined since that discussion. One woman who is having a son asked the question again. I responded. Well, we also have a new member who is a nurse and is often VERY informative who apparently REALLY took offense at my posts. I tried, again, to be deferential but I was shocked at her responses - especially since they contained no links or information as mine did. (I admit - I had since found the videos of circumcision and I do believe that every woman who's going to circ her baby should SEE what it is that's being done before she agrees. I think it's the ultimate in being INFORMED. I also admit that I addressed the "I want him to look/not look like..." argument heavily. I mean if THAT is your reason, then you are doing cosmetic surgery, yes? If your reason is that you believe the medical (mis)information then that's one thing but if your main reason for doing it is looks, then it's cosmetic IMO.) OK -- here's the discussion. Would love to get opinions on how I handled it/advice for future.
Original questioner is in blue - my comments are in red - the nurse's comments are in green

Has anyone on this list discussed circumcision? For those of us having boys, this is a decision we have to make before we deliver since they do it in the hospital right away. My husband and I have been discussing it ever since we found out we were having a boy, and we still haven't decided. There is no religious reason for us to, and ironically it's my husband who says yes and me who says no. I'm American so most of my family and friends are circumcised, but my husband is West Indian and circumcision is rare in his country. My arguement is that I don't want our son to look different than Daddy, but he's concerned that if our child grows up here in the States (and that has yet to be determined), then he doesn't want him to look different than the other boys. I of course argue that if we move anywhere outside the country then our son will most likely look different. I also argue that the procedure is not nearly as common as it used to be in the U.S. My husband also says an uncircumcised penis is much harder to care for and more prone to infection. I guess I'd have to take his word on that one because he would know. I'm doing some research now to see what exactly are the health issues involved, but wanted to know your opinions. Has anyone given this much thought yet?

There was a discussion of this a while back - is it in the archives? There were good links exchanged and opinions. I know I am vehemently anti-circ for lots of reasons, which I don't really feel comfortable going into at length on the list because I don't want to get all... well... vehement. I will say, though, that in terms of your husband's argument that most American boys are circ'd, though that's unfortunately true, it is changing quickly. The percentage still tilts in favor of the circ'd boy, but by the time your little one is in school there will be a mix of circ'd and non circ'd boys his age. Also, he should realize that if you're performing a medical procedure on your child in order to make him look or not look a certain way, you are essentially performing cosmetic surgery on your baby - a person unable to give informed consent. Circumcision is the only procedure which a parent is allowed to have performed on their baby for this reason. Both the AMA and the AAP do not recommend routine circumcision.

I firmly believe, though, that anyone considering the procedure for their child should see it being done and actually know what it entails - Dr. Dean Edell (who is a radio-doc, quite well known and anti-circ,) has prepared videos showing medical circumcision. You can find them here. Yes, they're hard to watch, but they're not sensationalist - they're what is happening to a real boy and what will happen to your little one. (There are different ways circ can be performed and these videos are recordings of the different ways and were taped with the permission of the doctor performing the circ.)



Kudos to you for researching the subject. There's lots of information out there. (Can you tell I'm having a hard time biting my tongue? LOL)

As someone who has assisted with many circumcisions, it takes all of 5 mins to do. The baby is more upset about being strapped to the little board then anything. The longest part is when the clamp is on (approx 1-2 mins) to cut off the blood supply to the foreskin being removed. You can request pain medication (Tylenol), but the AAP doesn't fully recommend giving that to newborns for such a short procedure. Also, a local can be used to numb the area, but this makes the procedure at least twice as long.
The OB's are the ones that do the procedure, so talk to them about it before hand and ask them for current research on the pros and cons. Everyone has anopinion, but it's the parents choice.
Waiting until a child is older to make his own decision is a choice, but then it becomes day surgery. Going under anesthesia, longer recovery, and making sure that your young man is taking care of the site and preventing injury.

Then, about 3 seconds later she sent this as well
It's been discussed and is basically a personal/cultural decision. There is some medical research about the benefits of having a circumcision, but this group seems to get upset when research turns out to be wrong down the road, so I'll stay clear of this one!
Both of my sons are circed and this one wil be also.

this was my reply
This is quite right -- it is a personal/cultural decision. I completely agree. And I, as I'm sure every one of us feels, do not and will not judge you and yours for whatever decision you make on behalf of your son/s past & future. We all love our kiddo's and want to do what's best for them and that is worthy of enormous support & respect. Period. It's a hard job.

This group seems super respectful to me, and I don't remember any discussion getting out of hand. I remember we were careful discussing this the first time, because it is so personal and something that's easy to take personally when others have a differing view. I do hope that with this and other issues, though, we are open to discussion! As my favorite quote from 1776 (a musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence,) goes, "I never met an issue so dangerous it couldn't be talked about."

And yes, I am a theatre geek and everything can be summed up in a musical theatre quotation. My current favorite is from Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George" which goes "I chose and my world was shaken. So what? The choice may have been mistaken. The choosing was not. You have to move on."

Running a close second with this from "She Loves Me" -- "Supposing he snores like a locomotive, supposing he grinds his teeth? Supposing he's a KNUCKLE CRACKER!!" which is not deep at all, but is fun to sing out loud suddenly in public.
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#2 of 8 Old 08-27-2003, 04:30 PM
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Whoo hoo... that is a tough one. I know how the mailing lists blow up so easily over these things- I am not sure that your pasting those large excerpts here was even in line with the mothering guidelines... I'm not sure, but you might have to paraphrase and edit what the other people said.

As for how you handled it- I think you did a very reasonable job without launching yourself and going for the major arteries of that nurse. (as I would have!)

How about you post a followup?- since she LIED...

and say, in a sugary sweet way.... (of course you will have to edit out all my judgemental rage!)

I wonder how it could be that as a nurse you seem to be unaware of the fact that the AMA and the AAP and the ACOG and the AAFP all recomend that newborns SHOULD be anesthatised for circumcision IF they are circumcised AT ALL.

Then give the medically backed up quotes: like:

AAP: "In summary, analgesia is safe and effective in reducing the procedural pain associated with circumcision and, therefore, adequate analgesia should be provided if neonatal circumcision is performed. EMLA cream, DPNB, and a subcutaneous ring block are options, although the subcutaneous ring block may provide the most effective analgesia."



"Ordinary humanitarian sentiment prevents consideration of circumcision without anesthesia. ...

.... Despite the clear evidence that newborn males generate brisk pain responses during circumcision, and the availability of methods to reduce pain during the procedure, a recent survey of residency training programs found that 26% of programs that taught circumcision provided no instruction on the use of local anesthesia. In programs that taught circumcision, pediatric (84%) and family practice residents (80%) were more likely than obstetric residents (60%) to learn about anesthetic techniques to prevent pain associated with circumcision.62 Significant regional variation occurred within and across medical specialties.

Summary and Comment

Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice. The recent policy revision by the American Academy of Pediatrics also states that analgesia (anesthesia) should be provided for the procedure. "


ACOG: From the standpoint of ACOG's Practice Activities Division, as a surgical procedure with concomitant pain, the use of analgesia during circumcision is advocated, but the preferred mode of pain relief is not specified (Stanley Zinberg, MD. Personal communication. September 1999).

AAFP: If the decision is made to circumcise, anesthesia should be used.



and be sure to direct them to the Taddio pain study on the long term effects of the damage that this "short" traumatic event does to children... it's linked off the above page.

then you can give the stats on the number of unanesthatized circs still happening (also included at the above link) Only 17 % of circumcising OBs use anesthetic!!

and you could encourage her to check out what Pain managment nurses say about brutally crushing the penis of a baby in a clamp:

"Ethical tenets:
The ethical principle of beneficence – the duty to benefit another – obliges healthcare
professionals to manage pain and provide humane care (Agency for Healthcare Policy and
Research [AHCPR], 1992). Unanesthetized circumcision violates the ethical principle of non-maleficence which is the duty to do no harm. "

but althought it is obviously unethical to do this to a person, physicians not only DO this... they do studies proudly outlining the numebr of infants they circumcised without pain relief... they actually brought in measuring devices to record the variations within the screaming horror panic of these genital torture victims... some of these studies (Lander's) have been shut dowwn because the children were suffering so terribly and a few almostt died of complication of their reaction to the pain voluntarily inflicted on them (meaning, they stopped documenting the suffering... not stopped INFLICTING IT) Here is an example of medically endorsed sadism: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=88195552

and then you can give the pain relief protocol just in case anyone still wants to strap their baby boy in!: http://www3.us.elsevierhealth.com/WOW/op043.html

and then you can tell her that she can access a new study about circumcision pain made just for nurses available to MEDSCAPE subscribers. because OBVIOUSLY she needs to update her advice. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/453637

I sure hope she does not encourage people in the hospital where she works to circumcise without anesthesia!!

I sure hope that she would not do that to her own CHILD!

As for the woman whose husband is falling for a disgusting type of Americanization... suggest that they get the book by Gollaher called "Circumcision: a history of the world's most contraversial surgery" I think it will help them to see what is going on in a very clear light. Also- tell him to pick up a copy of the "Men's Journal" this month.

Love Sarah
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#3 of 8 Old 08-27-2003, 08:00 PM
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Better yet--invite her here!.

We don't mind at all if you refer to us as counter-culture or medical skeptics, or. . . whatever!

After all, it wasn't that long ago medical folks x-rayed pregnant women and actively discouraged breastfeeding--hmmmn, they still do the latter!

In follow-up to nurse Ratchet's comments on how quick & easy it is, I would just reiterate how important it is to actually watch the surgery performed--especially at the location where it will be done.
See the real thing.
After all, you wouldn't give birth without touring the birth center first and watching a couple videos of births.
A couple who wishes to circumcise a child should most certainly see one done under the exact circumstances in which their child's would be. . .
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#4 of 8 Old 08-31-2003, 06:24 PM
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, a local can be used to numb the area, but this makes the procedure at least twice as long.
Heaven forbid the doctor be inconvenieced by the procedure! A whole 10 minutes? And five of it just waiting so the helpless baby doesn't have to feel anything? Who cares! He can't talk, so it must not be that important! : "Friends" who were determined to have their son circ'd (even with me, their doula, and TWO pediatricians telling them it's horrible) mentioned the OB (since the ped wouldn't do it) didn't want to use a local either because of the time issue. The mom didn't seem too troubled by it either. *sigh* My heart breaks. Poor baby. I keep wondering what she'll say if/when her son asks where his foreskin is. "We didn't like it, so we had it chopped off when you were born." It's not like she can say, "I didn't know any better." I'm rambling... that couple really upset me, can ya tell? *sigh*

You were much, much nicer than I could have been. Good job.
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#5 of 8 Old 08-31-2003, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone - as it turns out I was, as I usually am on that list it seems, completely ignored. luckily, some others posted some good anti-circ information on their own, though a couple other women posted "I circ'ed my other son and I'd do it again" type messages, but gave no information or reasoning. *sigh*

Curiously the woman who originally posted the question has not responded at all to anyone - unless it's been off-list. I'm sure she was stunned by the reaction she got

Sorry if I busted any forum rules by posting -- I didn't realize and I won't post verbatim in future I meant well.
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#6 of 8 Old 09-03-2003, 12:51 AM
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If I am not mistaken, if the baby gets anesthesia, they can't sell the foreskin to face cream manufacturers (for BIG bucks!).
Some 'interesting' info...

Ilaria mamma to Owen, Caroline & Patrick .... loving life as expats in Asia intactlact.gifnovaxnocirc.gifuc.jpgnamaste.gif
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#7 of 8 Old 09-04-2003, 09:57 AM
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It seems as if Nurse Ratchet has some sadist tendencies she needs to address but I won't even go there.

I find it interesting that she would go to the "Look like/Social issue" argument as this is the argument of last resort. It is all opinion with very little research and is percieved as impossible to argue. WELL, IT IS NOT! It is interesting that the medical profession is the ones that made these issues of any importance at all. They are the ones that started it and seem to be the ones determined to perpetuate it disguising it as medical advise when it is not. It's as if they had started tattooing babies in the 1920's and now support it although it has no medical benefit but still contend that it will ward off demons and everyone will laugh at the child if it does not have it's tattoo. As for the social aspect, I find it totally primitive that we would support a profession that advocates the ritual genital marking of innocent children. This is the 21st century in the most medically advanced nation in the world isn't it???????

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#8 of 8 Old 09-07-2003, 04:47 AM
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The Business of doctors in North America selling their wares is the most advanced in the world. Shame on them all !
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