New circumcision research is changing minds

Katherine - posted on 02/24/2011 ( 389 moms have responded )

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re-posted from cafemom

It's hard to find a more contentious parenting issue than male circumcision. Okay, extended nursing in public -- that might do it. But if you want a fight, simply declare, loudly and proudly, that you're an intactivist. Or you just got back from a bris, and wow was it magical!

To add another element to the argument, new research has not only the Center for Disease Control but also the American Academy of Pediatrics coming out with a strong stance on circumcision, whereas before they stood back and let other people duke it out. And one side of this penile debate is not going to be happy.

After research showed that circumcision helps prevent not only STD transmission, but also HIV, the AAP and CDC are drafting a pro-circ position. Of course, we don't know what the two authoritative organizations are going to say exactly, so it could still lean "but you go ahead and do what you think is best." Which, quite frankly, is what today's modern parent is going to do regardless of the recommendations.

Because if you think circumcision is mutilation, this study isn't going to sway you. Although if you were somewhere in the middle and had a big decision to make, it's possible you would go with the circ to help with the odds of your son contracting a disease down the line. That is what intactivists are afraid of: a trend that has turned back the recent progress in the movement.

Today about 50% of baby boys are circumcised, which is the lowest rate seen in modern times. Having two well-respected medical sources endorse the health benefits of circumcision could change those stats. As someone who believes it's no one's business what goes down in anyone else's pants -- cut or uncut -- I know it would make me think twice if faced with the option again today. Whether or not it would actually sway me? I dunno.

I would hope the kid always carried a condom, but as a former teenager, I also know that's not realistic. So yes, this throws a monkey wrench in the argument when you start thinking about the safety of your own child.

What do you think about this new research, and the CDC and AAP taking a new position?

http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/116633/n...

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389 Comments

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Jodi - posted on 03/02/2011

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Well, all I can say is that having been involved in the Catholic religion here in Australia, it has NEVER been an issue in the faith here, so I am pretty disgusted that your *Catholic* church is advocating circumcision through its teachings, because it is actually NOT advocated by the Roman Catholic Church in any way:

The new (1994) Catechism of the Catholic Church at paragraph 2297 states in part:

"Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law."2

http://www.cirp.org/library/cultural/cat...

Perhaps you should take THAT to your local priest.

Charlie - posted on 03/02/2011

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I choose to respect my childs rights to bodily integrity .
My sons are human and enjoy the same human rights as set by international law as anyone else so I say no to cosmetic surgery and although anyone elses choice has no baring on mine I am happy he is part of the 85 % of the world male population who are intact ( not sure where the 50 % stat came from it doesn't even come close to last years US figures of 30 % circed and falling ) .

Tia Melissa - posted on 03/02/2011

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LadyJane: I am a practicing Roman Catholic. I don't know what church you go to but according to the CCC, RIC is NOT a requirement of the Sacrament of Baptism, Reconciliation, 1st Communion or any of the other Sacraments. It may be a convention in your community but is certainly not an issue that the Church has weighed in on as matter of Faith and Morals. If you are being taught that in a Catholic Bible program at a Catholic Church, I would question what sections of Canon Law and where in the CCC that comes from. Sola Scriptura is NOT from the Catholic faith. In fact, I suspect that it is actively discouraged as the Church operates in countries where circumcision is a veritable death sentence for infants due to lack of medical care and high incidences of death due to infection.

LOL THAT being said, what you choose to do with regards to your son and circ'ing, is solely your business.

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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It was taught in our church, but that's not why I had my son done. I was going to do it regardless. Just like the rest of my family has done for ages.

Angela - posted on 03/02/2011

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Im catholic and Ive never heard of Catholic churches taking part in circumcison or it being part of the religon, its just interesting to hear that they take such a part in it but yet dont believe in Birth Control...Very Interesting.

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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I'm definitely did the right thing with my son and will do the right thing with all future sons should I have any more. If they wait until they are older, it actually becomes much more painful then at birth. They'll remember it more if it is done at an older age.

Stifler's - posted on 03/02/2011

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Religious circumcision is barbaric and calls for a knife to be used or something and a drop of blood or some crap like that. Still doesn't sound like a decent reason to me.

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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That's because it is not part of the sacaments, it is part of the bible study that our church follows.

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2011

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Well, my husband and children are Catholic, and it is not common place in ours. If it is common place in your church, it has nothing to do with religion.



Edited to Add: I am yet to see a Baptism, Confirmation or any other Sacrament dependent upon a circumcision......

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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I am catholic and it is common practice in our church. Jewish tend to wait 8 days while catholics usually do it at birth.

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2011

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And Angela, have you actually read the part of the discussion where the studies that are being used for the HIV/STD excuse are flawed?

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2011

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Besides using religion as a reason is bullshit. According to the Bible, Man was made in God's image right? So that means he should be born exactly as intended, right? So why would God have given man a foreskin if it wasn't intended. Religious reasons my arse.

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2011

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There is no religious reasons for Catholics to have it done, don't know where you got that from.....

Angela - posted on 03/02/2011

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Im all for baby Boys to be circumsized.

I see nothing wrong with it at all, If thats what a parent chooses to do thats their child and their choice.

I feel that it does keep the penis clean and lowers the risk of STD's for when the boys become older and plus Theres not just a risk of STD's but when there still children they have an increased risk of infection.

However, using only a decreased risk of STD's and HIV should not be a sole factor when deciding circumcison, well cause common sense dictates you can use a condom.

Erin - posted on 03/02/2011

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Femal circ is done for religious reasons also, but we don't accept that as a valid reason to alter a baby girl's genitals. Why does the same not apply to boys?

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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I don't think it is unethical at all. Many are done due to religious beliefs, whether jewish, catholic or some other.

Kate CP - posted on 03/02/2011

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You want to know what really swayed me away from having my son circumcised? The fact that if it was botched he could end up with NO PENIS. I decided that I liked having all of my son and if HE wanted to have it chopped off at a later date that was up to him.

Erin - posted on 03/02/2011

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LadyJane, I realise that, as things stand now, officially it is your choice as parent. I am arguing the ethical merit of that. Doctors in other parts of the world have concluded that it is neither the parent's or the doctor's right to inflict a non-therapeutic procedure on an unconsenting minor. Why haven't US doctors made the same stand? That is what I'm saying. Technically, you may be able to sign that paper and have your son's foreskin removed, but that doesn't mean your have an ethical right to do so.

Yes there is a cultural element. But female circ is also deeply cultural and yet mainstream society rejects that.

Sarah - posted on 03/02/2011

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What I don't understand is why anyone would want to cut off a part of their sons body just because it MIGHT help against STD's etc.

Should we remove everyone's appendix at birth because it MIGHT become a problem later on? No, of course not.

The foreskin is there for a reason, and more importantly, the ONLY way to prevent STD's effectively is to use a condom!! I think it sends out a really bad message to suggest that anything else is going to prevent these diseases.

And I totally agree with Erin about the choice being that of the male. If they want to get it done later on in life (which I doubt many do!) then so be it.

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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Actually it is my choice, because as a parent, I tell the hospital whether or not to have it done and I sign the paper authorizing them to do it. I am not a person who will change their mind because of what others say. I make up my own mind and do what feel is right for my kids. All my boys will get circumsized. As a parent we need to decide what is best for our children, regardless of what the rest may think. My cousin is a doctor and she also has said that the risks are pretty much the same no matter which stand you take. When she has her first boy, she too will get him done. So for me it's a family thing and none of us are against it.

Erin - posted on 03/02/2011

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LadyJane, why do you think you have rights over your child's bodily autonomy? I genuinely don't understand that argument. It's not your penis, so it shouldn't be your choice.

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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But I won't be changing mine. I see nothing at all wrong with it and it's been done in my family for many generations and not one has an ill effect from it nor were traumatized. All were done within hours after birth with the longest wait was 2 days after.

Jenn - posted on 03/02/2011

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But lots of people DO change their mind LadyJane. And it shouldn't be your choice, since it isn't your penis.

LadyJane - posted on 03/02/2011

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I had my son circumcised and there were no issues, his was done upon birth, pretty much the same day. He hasn't had any issues with it and he's now 6. No one will convince me not to have it done if I were to have future boys just like no one will convince those who don't have it don't to change their minds. I did all the research and still opted to get it done. It's my choice.

Tia Melissa - posted on 03/02/2011

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OK, so I don't trust the medical community one whit. They change their stance on so many things every couple of years. Eggs are good for you, eggs are bad. The pill is good for you, the pill is linked to cancer. Eat more meat, eat less meat. Artificial sweeteners will kill you, artificial sweeteners are perfectly fine. This latest drug is a panacaea, this drug is now going to kill you so sue.

I think that IF it shows to actually have a significant effect (controlling for region, religious beliefs, personal sexual practice, marital fidelity, etc) on contracting HIV and STD transmission, I'm all for having it done when my son is old enough to decide for himself. I'm not going to make that decision for him. Heck, I won't pierce my daughter's ears until she is old enough to ask, and care for, them. I'm not making life altering decisions with their bodies. Even Judaism, the strongest proponent for male circumcision, doesn't call for male circumcision until Bar Mitzvah time and they do it for religious and cleanliness reasons (very simplistic breakdown).

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2011

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"how can you argue with facts."

What facts?

Also, the Australian medical community has agreed that any potential benefits do not outweigh the risk, so they do not recommend circumcision. SO what facts are we talking? The fact that the US is so backward on this issue?

Minnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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Brandi- they aren't facts, though. They were flawed studies. The men in Africa were instructed to abstain from sex or use condoms. The HPV study jumped to conclusions.



You know what? Sex with a circumcised man creates more friction because there is no give from the foreskin and the woman's natural lubrication is scraped out from her vagina. That creates microscopic tears that increase the risk of blood-transmitted diseases.

Sarah - posted on 03/02/2011

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@Lisa - I know you weren't being serious. ;) Trust me, I'm sure there are plenty of ogre-like men in America haha.

Brandi - posted on 03/02/2011

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I agree, how can you argue with facts. Both my children are circumsized. As a young parent, well I am now 25, but I had my first when I was 19, I understand the part about the condom. Yes, we hope our children will wait until marriage, or that they will be safe, but these days it seems sex is everywhere. Teens aren't really thinking of being safe in the moment. They think it could never happen to them. So, if doing what I did helps that chance even the slightest bit, then I don't feel bad. My children don't remember it. They were not traumatized.

Minnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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The fact that it has not suggests that the compulsion to circumcise came first, the “reasons,” later.

The billion-dollar-a-year circumcision industry has bombarded Americans with confusing rhetoric and calculated scare tactics.

From your article.

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011

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Stats on US circumcision from 2010

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new statistics at the International AIDS 2010 conference in Vienna, Austria, that were obtained from SDI Health, a commercial source of medical statistics. The new statistics showed a steep drop in the number of circumcisions performed in the United States. The new data were presented by Charbel E. El Becheraoui, a CDC researcher.

The CDC data, reported by the New York Times, showed that the incidence of circumcision declined from 56 percent in 2006 to 32.5 percent in 2009. According to these statistics, non-circumcision or genital integrity has become the normal condition among newborn boys in the United States.

http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/U...

Minnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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It was rhetorical, Sarah. I DON'T believe men are slimy ogres- but the way people insist that they must circumcise because it's sooooo hard to keep clean makes it sound that way.



My point was that European and Australian men are managing to do just fine keeping clean while being intact. But Americans insist that they must take their babies' foreskins because 'it's cleaner' and now 'it reduces the transmission of STDs.'

Sarah - posted on 03/02/2011

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"Are all American men slimy ogres or something?"

As an American, I must say that there ARE a lot of slimy ogre-like men in this country, but NOT because their foreskin was cut off. Come on, give me a break. Let's not put all the men in the same category.

Erin - posted on 03/02/2011

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I USED to be all for circumcision but after reading all of these links and all of the things that could happen, if I have another boy it will not be done! I'll admit when I had my son 3 years ago, it was the norm and I didn't do my research about it (my bad) and had it done. They said that he didn't feel anything but I wasn't there (recovering from a c-section) so how was I to know?

Minnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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I think the only reason the CDC and the AAP are reviewing their stance on RIC is for money. I'm sure that the organizations are not full of complete idiots who cannot look at the rest of the first world countries who do not perform RIC.



If circumcision is the miracle prevention that some here say it is, why are UK, the rest of Europe and Australian men not flocking to their urologists to be circumcised? How are they managing to maintain genital health?



Are all American men slimy ogres or something?

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011

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Yes, that is a good quote. I liked the article. Strollerderby is my new hang out.

Krista - posted on 03/02/2011

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I like one of the quotes in the comments from that Babble article:

"Circumcision is a solution looking for a problem." -Edward Wallerstein, Medical Historian.

Nicely put.

Krista - posted on 03/02/2011

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Oh my land -- performing a circ without even the parents' consent?

Formal complaint, my ass. I'd beat the living shit out of that doctor and then lawyer up so hard it wouldn't even be funny.

Erin - posted on 03/01/2011

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I am a staunch intactivist, but I have no interest in demonizing parents who circ. It serves no purpose. Guilt is pointless. All I, and most intactivists, wish for is that people open their eyes to the realities of RIC. Realising the cultural aspect is a huge part of that, so I commend Erin L and Sarah B for acknowledging that.

I will not read the stories of the botched circs, because it just infuriates me. Doctors who take an oath to 'first do no harm' have no business performing this painful, risky, NON-THERAPEUTIC procedure on unconsenting minors. It is so far beyond unethical it isn't funny.

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2011

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glad i could help Sarah :D yeah exactly! theres definitely a reason for it :)
Thats mean to pick on them :( That little boy's penis is no ones business! I know i arc up about circ on here but if someone i knew had just had their kid done i probably wouldn't mention it. It's too personal. Plus everyone else they know would probably be having a crack at them already lol.If they do it again just tell them circ is old fashion, out dated and becoming really uncommon :)

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2011

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@Erin - Luckily my son's hypospadias is only a 2nd degree. There's a 3rd degree which is where the pee hole is located near the scrotum! :(

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2011

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Thanks for your helpful message, Sarah. I really do see that NOT circumcising really makes more sense. If he was born with it, it MUST be there for a reason right? Plus, it's so true that many years from now if HE wants it done he can do it.

My little nephew was born in December & his parents chose not to have him circumcised. My MIL & husband kinda picked on my nephews dad (my husband's brother) about not having him circ'd. My MIL is still stuck on the "it's not as clean" debate, which is sooo outdated lol. I felt bad that they were picking on my brother-in-law about it, but I didn't say anything. :(

[deleted account]

WOW! Hypospadias sounds like it would suck! :(

I hate to admit my ignorance here, but circumcision is not something I have ever really researched...I, like Sarah B., grew up where everyone was circ'd. My #3 brother was not, but it was due to financial reasons-this I HAD been made aware of at an early age. So when ppl I knew had kids the majority of the reason I heard they didn't get their boys circ'd was because they couldn't afford it at nearly $300. I didn't get on COMs until AFTER I had Derrick. Whenever I see this debate I tend not to keep up or post because it was something I was committed to, be it ignorantly or selfishly placed. Since I had already had 1 done and my consistantly not taking these posts seriously, it was no question as to what I would do for #2! Before this thread I did not know that boys could die from a routine circ! I still don't take the example seriously...if a child gets put under for heart surgery and dies...after having asprin? um HELLO! why the heck did that kid have asprin? Its not recommeded for kids under 12. But I'm sure this is not the case for the 200-600? kids that die from it per year :( Sometimes I open links, but typically...I'm busy its like the first time I've been on here in weeks and I'm trying to keep up...which can be difficult when you return and their are 3-6 pages of comments to read, ugh... So yeah! I feel kinda bad I inadvertantly put my children's lives at risk for a circ' but I guess its just soo ingrained and like I said before, I left this mostly up to my husband who was insistant, even w/ 3 brothers who were done improperly!

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2011

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Oh yeah i have heard of hypospadias. poor boy :( but i am glad he will be okay when its over :)



well you don't have to feel guilty for your feelings on circ :) It's only hypothetical anyway and you are entitled to your own opinion. If you did have a circ'd child i would probably be glad you felt guilty lol sorry!

I do know that no circumcised man will admit they are not happy with it. What man would admit there's something wrong with their penis? lol

I also know that circ'd men are much less sensitive sexually but they don't know the difference luckily :)

Circumcision is getting much less common, so i'm surprised you don't know any intact males! I don't know any circumcised males! lol. So there is every likelihood if you had another boy and had him circ'd, that could make him the odd one out.

It all just seems so pointless to me! The way i see it its the child's body not the parent's. if they decide later in life they want a circ them they can go for it :) but if they decide they want to be intact, they can't :( i don't think it matters what they are as children anyway, it only matters when they are adults and then they are old enough to make that decision :D

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2011

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@Sarah - Honestly I really DON'T know why I'm not totally against it with all the knowledge I do have now. I actually feel kinda guilty in a way! Maybe it stems from my husband being very adament about circumcision since he has been done himself. And I'll admit (shamefully) that it probably does have something to do with my own selfishness that I want him to look like his daddy & all of his little friends. ::Hangs head::

Anyway, hypospadias is where the little hole where they pee from is not on the tip of the penis like it should be. My son has 2nd degree hypospadias & his is on the underside of his penis. He has to undergo surgery with general anesthesia to get it corrected. They use the child's foreskin to repair the defect. It's going to be hard for him, but once it is done, he should be able to function normally. :)

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2011

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@Sarah, i can see why you would have had your son circ'd had you been able to, with every male you know circ'd and no knowledge of the dangers. What i don't understand is even now with all that knowledge, 1 in 6 requiring further surgery, permanent psychological, physical and sexual damage, the risk of death, the pointless pain and suffering of a newborn etc.. I can't understand why you are still not against it.
Is it a cosmetic thing because you want him to look like you think he should?
sorry for my ignorance, I don't know what hypospadias is but i am very sorry that he is suffering in any way. :(

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2011

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a comment on the link Katherine posted :'( i dont know if i feel like punching those doctors or crying :(....


"My baby was circumcised without my permission or knowledge that it was even being done. All the babies were brought into mom's rooms for feeding, except mine. Off in the distance I heard the pathetic screaming of a baby, not knowing it was mine. I was livid. I never left him in the nursery after that. At a checkup weeks later, his skin had also adhered to the cut areas, & without a warning at all, the doctor grabbed the parts & yanked them apart. AGAIN-my son screamed in agony. The head was raw & red & would be for weeks until it healed again. NO ONE had bothered to instruct me on how to clean a cut penis initially. I was assaulted during my labor & delivery AND so was MY SON with this barbaric surgery. Doing this to infants with no anesthetic -I think causes permanent psychological damage to some boys-& there is no good reason for it to be torture-even if done for a just medical reason."

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