To Cut Or Not To Cut: A Circumcision Debate


There are many, many things in this pregnancy that I get to control (well, as much as one ever is able to control a pregnancy).  Although I ask my husband’s input, I got to decide on things like genetic testing, finding out the gender, and how I eventually want to give birth. There is one thing that my husband is going to make the final decision on.

Circumcision.

I know there is absolutely no way to write about this controversial topic without opening a Pandora’s box of medical links, opinions, facts, youtube videos, dancing puppies, or anything else that can be thrown at it.  And, luckily, since I have decided not to have an opinion on the issue and leave this one completely to him, I welcome them all.

But, despite my lack of opinion, and despite my refusal to weigh in, I still like to learn as much as I can.  So, I asked my OBGYN what I need to know about circumcision.

After 30 minutes of discussion, I decided I was even more glad I’m not responsible for this decision.

I learned that there are many different ways a circumcision is performed, and locally it depends on which hospital you give birth in, or if you take your son to a clinic after you check out.  Because insurers are much less likely to cover the procedure than they were in the past (advocates against circumcision claim it’s due to the fact that it’s an entirely elective, cosmetic, non-necessary procedure, those who are for circumcision remind you that insurers will do anything to get out of any coverage they can), more people are heading to clinics to get lower out of pocket circumcisions done, a practice that may be responsible for some of the decline in numbers of male babies being circumcised recently.

My doctor told me about the two most likely to be used in my hospital system: Plastibell and Mogen.

My OBGYN prefers to use the Mogen, although his constant referral to it as “the guillotine” definitely didn’t inspire a ton of confidence in me.  Still, if we decide to have the procedure done, I think that would be the way I would want it performed.  Unlike the other main types of circumcision, in which a cut has to be made into the foreskin in order to put the apparatus on before the horizontal cut can be made (or, in the case of Plastibell, to then pull the foreskin over the “bell” in order to pull the plastic strip down tightly enough to cut off circulation to the foreskin until it falls off on its own), the Mogen only requires one cut and then it’s finished.

He also advocated that if we circumcise, we do it within the first three days, while I am still in the hospital.  According to him, it becomes obvious as the boy is out of the womb longer and becomes more aware of his surroundings, more of his brain synapses “turn on,” making his potential to understand and feel pain more acute.  At the very least, he asked, try to have it done within the first ten days, especially if, like him, the doctor performing it does not use anesthesia.

My OBGYN also told me that there will be crying.  Much crying.  But the crying doesn’t necessarily mean the intense feeling of pain that we associate with some newborn cries.  They are also crying because they are strapped, because their genitals are exposed, and because they really, really hate being on their back at this early of a stage, especially unswaddled.

Frankly, I sort of need to go on faith when it comes to that talking point.  One thing I have learned from looking online for circumcision information is that there really isn’t any “pro-circumcision” sources out there.  Pretty much anyone who bothers to put information on the internet is against it. 

I’ve watched video after video of screaming baby.  I’ve seen even “med-wiki,” the medical wikipedia site, push stats that say it is never medically necessary, that possible health concerns over not having it done are a lie.  I’ve seen nurses state that babies won’t breastfeed for up to two days after it’s done, with some of them ending up on bottles for the rest of their infancy, or that the baby will then sleep for 24 hours straight because you have utterly traumatized him.

Then there’s the “less sensation when he’s older” crowd.  And I can’t help but have a tiny suspicion that’s the line of reasoning that may be giving my husband second thoughts.

We aren’t religious.  I don’t believe that circumcision would be anything but a cosmetic choice for our family.  And, when it all comes down to it, do we really want to perform a minor surgery on a child less than a week old just for the sake of a pretty penis that might or might not be cleaner down the road?

Because that’s where I get nervous — the cleanliness aspect.  I’m a little scared of newborn foreskin.  I don’t know how you’re supposed to deal with it.  I don’t know what happens as he grows into a toddler, or a young boy.  Yes, I’ll say it…I have a minor foreskin phobia.

But then I realize that this is what my husband went through, too.  Faced with a newborn girl, he had no idea how to clean the poop from her genitalia.  The idea of cleaning out “the girls” terrified him, and it took him weeks to get comfortable with it.  Now, he can bathe her like a pro (although I suspect he’s fairly relieved that thanks to potty training he’s off “the girls” duty for the most part).

So I’ll get used to whatever penis I’m given to deal with, just like he had to deal.  But he still needs to finally make a decision.

We do have some rules nailed down.  If we circumcise:

1) It will be done in the hospital, right away.  Although it will cost $2000 to do it there, versus $300 to do it at the clinic later, we will have already maxed out our insurance for the year, so the costs should not be any different.

2) It will only be done by our pediatrician.  There is one doctor in our hospital system who had an “oops” three years ago.  My OBGYN will not tell me the doctor’s name, as he can’t release that, but he did tell me that my pediatrician has never had any issues with the procedure.

3) We will only do it if the Mogen is used, not the Plastibell.  For one thing, I’m not willing to have the baby go through two steps.  But also, I’m not sure if I can cope with a piece of foreskin eventually falling off into his diaper.  I was a little bothered by the umbilical cord when i found it.  I’m not sure I can handle penis-watch, too.

So there is follow up still to be done, and almost exactly two months in which to complete it.  And whichever way things turn out, I sincerely hope that what to do about his penis is the biggest medical issue I have with giving birth.

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  • prochoiceferret

    Personally, I like the idea of putting off the procedure by about eighteen years, and since the kid will be old enough by then, let him decide if he wants the snip or not.

     

    (I hear some women enjoy chewing on their partners’ foreskins!)

  • sarahartel

    I didn’t have my son circumcised and it’s simple to clean it.  you just wipe it off like you would a vagina.  You don’t do anything with the foreskin.  Trying to retract it can cause serious harm and lead to infections.  It will retract naturally when it is ready, maybe not until he hits puberty, but it will.  And the foreskin has a natural cleansing function, so no need to worry =)  And where you have a foreskin phobia, just remember that it is HIS foreskin, and not yours.  He can change it in the future and have it done if he wants, but he can’t change being circumcised.  And it will be his decision for his body.

  • tommy124

    The best reasons not to circumcise are it’s a violent act against a helpless person.  It takes half the skin off of a genital.  Two thirds of the pleasure nerves are in the foreskin, about 20,000 of them.  I had one of each.  You get used to the look in about 5 minutes.

    To clean a baby’s penis, you wash it off like it is a finger.

    Later on, between infancy and puberty, the head and foreskin separate.  Then, he’ll need to wash, just like girls do, except that bubble bath should be avoided.

    Best of luck with your little man.

  • jhmoore01

    Royal Australasian College of Physicians Policy Statement. September 2010.
    It is recognized that the foreskin has a functional role, the operation is non-therapeutic and the infant is unable to consent… Secondly the foreskin is a primary sensory part of the penis, containing some of the most sensitive areas of the penis. A boy circumcised as an infant may deeply resent this when he grows older. The option of leaving circumcision until later, when the boy is old enough to make a decision for himself does need to be raised with parents and considered. The ethical question is whether it is ethically justifiable to allow parents to make this decision for their child  http://www.racp.edu.au/index.cfm?objectid=D7FAA370-0B87-808A-90C36BD48C54B2D8     (Scroll down to Circumcision).

     

    View Point of the Royal Dutch Medical Association   (KNMG), Non Therapeutic Circumcision of Male Minors. May 2010.
    This [circumcision], is a mutilating intervention that regularly leads to complications. Alongside these direct medical complications, psychological problems and complications in the area of sexuality have also been reported. The foreskin plays an important role in the mechanical function of the penis during sexual acts. The right to physical integrity is an inalienable human right. The relationship between circumcision and transmission of HIV is at the very least unclear. Put off circumcision until the boy reaches an age at which he can elect to have the intervention himself. There are good reasons for a legal prohibition of non-therapeutic circumcision.

    http://www.circumstitions.com/Docs/KNMG-policy.pdf  

     

  • andyeverysaturdaymorning

    Please let me begin by saying these are very difficult decisions to discuss in public and I appreciate your willingness to share your pregnancy process with us.

    I am unnerved by any decision to not have an opinion regarding an unnecessary medical procedure that will cut off part of a child’s genitals. 

    On this blog what we analyze most is the informed decision making process and the autonomy of the people making those decisions. It seems to me by forgoing the responsibility of the decision making process, we cease to protect a child’s bodily integrity, while denying the broader implications of reproductive autonomy.

    I do have an opinion regarding the value of circumcision in our society, but that is less important to me than in this conversation. I implore you to wrestle with this decision and be intentional about recognizing the permanent and irreversible nature of the genital modification of a child.

    Lastly, our children cannot consent or withhold consent at birth. We are responsible for consenting by proxy for our children. And consent is a right we are fighting for in so many other areas of Reproductive Justice, I simply cannot fathom finding a comfortable space in apathy for such a weighty decision.

    Robyn, please do not read any judgment in my comments, I have great respect for your process and willingness to share. I am not even interested in the end decision (again I do feel very strongly in one direction) but am far more invested in the process of consenting in an engaged manner .

     

  • skyal

    I just wanted to point out your doctor is utterly wrong about the pain issue. A)Babies don’t start screaming in terror & agony until after the ripping (the foreskin & glans are fused at birth & up to puberty the way your nails are fused to your skin, so they have to rip them apart, first) and cutting start. & B)Studies have shown that newborns are more sensitive to pain than older infants, children & adults. The studies which showed the pain of circumcision measured brain waves & cortisol levels and were stopped early because the the results were so disturbing. Unfortunately that didn’t translate into stopping circumcision, which kills over 200 babies a year.  Boys who were circumcised also have a long term altered resonse to pain. Telling himself he’s not really torturing newborns is probably how your doctor sleeps at night. What’s his excuse for not at least trying to reduce the pain (no method other than a general with copious pain meds after actually does much for the pain, but he could at least try).

    I also agree with a previous poster; why are you abdicating responsibililty for this decision to your husband? Men who resent being circumcised seem to be angriest at their mothers for not protecting them, no matter who made the decision. You’re also the one most affected (after your son) because it has a very strong chance of affecting a nursing relationship & because men don’t seem to do diapers much, so you’ll have to take care of a raw wound at every diaper change. Much more daunting than simply wiping the outside like a finger & never, ever letting anyone retract, even a little bit, for any reason, except your son

     

  • circ-info

    Male circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure for individuals & parents to choose. It provides benefits such as 12x less likely for UTI, +22x less likely for cancer, 28% less risk for herpes, 35% for HPV & 60% for HIV/AIDS. The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

    Parents should research circumcision and make an informed decision for the health & well-being of their son.

    More information can be found at the following sites:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision

     

    http://www.malecircumcision.org/

     

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm

     

    http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/164/1/104

     

    http://www.circinfo.net

     

    http://www.medicirc.org

     

     

  • mrsculpeppergmailcom

    As a strictly cosmetic procedure circumcision is one of those thing s that can be delayed indefinately. 

    An intact penis is actually much easier to care for than a circumcised penis. You get to skip the whole open wound contaminated by poop thing.

    And circumcision is painful. Just like babies cry during the heel prick for the PKU test because it hurts, they cry after circumcision because it hurts.

    2 things you haven’t mentioned, does the pediatrician who would be performing the surgery use anethesia? And is you husband circumcised?

    If you decide to have it done (which I and pretty much every medical organization worldwide reccomend against) I would definately use anethesia. But you have to recognize that the amount they are able use in no way eliminates the pain. It merely minimizes it. A newborn cannot handle the amount of medication that would be require to eliminate the pain produced.

    If your husband is circumcised and if he is at all influenced by the desire to have his son look like him he should consider http://www.cirp.org/pages/restore.html foreskin restoration.

  • jhmoore01

        HIV Prevention Through Early Detection and Treatment of Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases — United States Recommendations of the Advisory Committee for HIV and STD Prevention. CDC July 31, 1998

    The United States has the highest rates of STD’s in the industrialized world.  The 1996 rate of gonorrhea was 26 times greater than the rate in Germany and 50 times the rate in Sweden. The total rate of syphilis in the United States in 1996 was 13 times higher than the rate in Germany and 33 times higher than the rate in Sweden.  http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00054174.htm

     

    1 in 4 teenagers in the US has an STD.

    http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/aug3010studies.htm#media

     

    Adolescent Sexual Health in Europe and the U.S.—Why the Difference? 3rd edition, September 2009 © Advocates for Youth

    Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, and U.S. teen rate is almost 33 times greater than the reported rate in the Netherlands

    Among teens, syphilis rates in the United States are more than twice those in the Netherlands. The Chlamydia rate for U.S. adolescents is more than 19 times higher than the reported teen rate in the Netherlands. 7

    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=419&Itemid=177

                                    Prevalence*

                                    HIV     Circumcision

    United States        0.6%    75%

    Germany                0.1%    <5%

    Sweden                   0.1%    <2%

    Netherlands           0.2%    <5%

     

    *https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2155rank.html

     

       *Estimated proportion of adult male population circumcised,   Darby R, Been there, done that: Thoughts on the proposition that yet more circumcision can save the world from AIDS, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 74. No. 5, Sept-Oct 2002, 26-35.

     

     

  • crowepps

    My husband insisted that my son be circumsized so he would “look like” dad.  There were no complications.  He’s an adult now and has never expressed to me that he wished it hadn’t been done.  Since then, I have heard about the rare times when there is a surgical error or an infection and looking back, it was really foolish of us to take ANY risk of a permanent negative impact on our child merely for ‘cosmetic reasons’.

  • radicalhousewife

    Our family had no religious or cultural reason to do it–if we’d snip, we’d snip because of the many health-related stats that have already been mentioned here.  The decision for my hubby and me really came down to our feelings about bodily autonomy. Why were WE weighing the health benefits?  Our infant son wasn’t in danger of catching an STD!  He wasn’t in a position to consider his sexual functioning at all!  Ethically, it seemed like a decision that only he could make once he entered puberty. 

  • robin-marty

    I’m not saying I have no opinion. I actually, as you can see from the article, have done a ton of research, both online and talking to doctors, my current OB, the person who would be performing it, parents who have made the choice in both directions, both within the last 5 years, and much further down the road.

    My preference is he be circumcised. My husband is circumcised, I’ve been with both types of men, I am not entirely unconvinced there are no health benefits, I’m not a fan of the idea of dealing with foreskin, and, maybe it’s just the guys I’ve picked, but I have a personal belief that those who are uncircumcised are less comfortable with sex because there is too much sensation, as opposed to those who are used to the head of their penis rubbing against their pants constantly. But, like most “evidence” mine is pretty anecdotal.

    Although that is my preference, I choose in this case to go with what my husband chooses, because although I have reasons for my choice, I’m not invested enough on either side to try to convince my husband. If he has a preference, I am willing to choose that, whatever it be, as long as, if it is to circumcise, we are sure that the procedure is done early, with a mogen, and with no anesthesia, while in the hospital. And that both of us be there to watch it happen, because one thing I have decided for certain is that a baby should not be without his parents when it happens.

  • robin-marty

    I discussed the “too sensitive” issue with someone today, who suggested that might make a boy more inclined to use a condom, hence, cutting down STI risks (so he wouldn’t go all hair trigger). So you can find an argument for or against almost anything if you try.

    And I should mention I really appreciate all of the feedback.

  • measure-grief

    Please follow medical precedent on this — even if the doctors aren’t doing so.  That is, don’t agree to surgery on a healthy infant just because something might go wrong in the future.  Surgery should always be a last resort and circumcision is no exception.

    Also, weigh the risks and drawbacks against the possible benefits.  This you will find difficult; the precise risks of circumcision haven’t been systematically documented.  That’s because complications (and even deaths) are often attributed to other causes.  As for the drawbacks, there’s new research (well, I’m calling it new to give the benefit of the doubt to physicians who haven’t kept up with all the info in the last 20 years) demonstrating that the foreskin contains highly erogenous tissue and that it has important anatomical functions.  So whether doctors understand this or not, removing the foreskin has an impact.

    In the absence of a full understanding of the risks and drawbacks, you won’t have enough information to agree to the circumcision and it would be irresponsible to do so.

    This is a highly complex issue, especially if you’re Jewish.  Still, do the baby a favor and try to think clearly about this even if the doctors aren’t.

    Did you know that what was mandated in the Bible was a far LESS radical procedure than what is in current practice?  Astonishing but true.

    Best wishes!  Lisa Braver Moss, author of The Measure of His Grief, the first novel ever to tackle the circumcision controversy (please visit http://www.lisabravermoss.com).

  • hugh7

    I’m surprised nobody has yet told you that the Mogen Clamp is no longer made in the USA. Your OB/GYN will either be using an old one, or an overseas-made counterfeit. The Mogen Company has gone out of business. Earlier this year, Mogen was slapped with $10.7 million in damages, and already faced $2 million, which it had not paid. Both suits were for botched circumcisions, caused by the Mogen’s design. The baby’s foreskin is pulled foward through the Mogen, which is then closed tight on it. It is not possible to see if part of the baby’s glans penis has also been pulled in. The tip of the glans, possibly including the meatus (the opening) may then be cut off. That is what happened in both cases.

    Presumably, you are deferring to the boy’s father because “he’s the one with the penis.” But to put it, well, bluntly, he doesn’t have ALL of his penis, and he doesn’t know what he is missing. You (presumably) have all of your genitalia, and so you are actually in a better position to decide than he is. How would you like to be without any of yours?

    It’s not that the ~20,000 specialised nerve-endings concentrated inside the tip of the foreskin make it more sensitive, they make it “better sensitive”, conferring what’s been called “a symphony of sensation”. They’re like the nerve-endings of the fingertips or the lips. Which is more erotic, a kiss on the cheek or on the lips (even with the mouths closed)? And isn’t that why? The idea of cutting off a baby’s lips is too outlandish to even contemplate, but doing an equivalent thing to his genitals has somehow become a norm. Isn’t it time to break the cycle?

    Circinfo mentions relative reductions for UTIs, cancer and HIV, but not that (using those same reductions, which may not be accurate) it would take more than 100 circumcisions to prevent one UTI, more than 1000 to prevent one case of cancer, and an unknown but very large number to prevent one case of HIV in the USA. The site circinfo.net (with which he may be associated) is the work of a molecular biologist (not a doctor) who never saw a reason for cutting babies’ gentials he didn’t like. They include “to prevent bathroom splatter” and “to prevent zipper injury” and he spins the statistics like a dentists’ drill. He turns 5 boys with recurrent UTIs in a population of ~34,900 boys into “19% of boys” (by drilling down to a sub-sub-subsample of 26 boys without mentioning it).  To answer his sites, try the Intactivism Pages

  • arekushieru

    I was going to rate this comment as a five, then I saw this: 

    How would you like to be without any of yours?

    This just seemed too insensitive to NOT address.  Umm, I agree that circumcision should be left up to the individual to decide when they are older.  BUT, MANY times women are forcibly mutilated NOT because of health benefits but because of patriarchal societies condemnation of women having sex for any reason other than procreation.  That question just lacked any inherent implication of recognition of all the actual reALities surrounding this issue.

  • bratislava

    I live in a country where infant circumcision isn`t a tradition. I am utterly baffled by this. Why would anyone cut perfectly healthy genitals of a newborn boy? Is there something wrong with him? The arguments supporting circumcision seem really, really weak to justify permanent bodily modification on an individual unable to give consent. The idea that someone looks at healthy newborn baby boy and thinks “that part of his anatomy shouldn`t be there, it needs to be cut” simply baffles me.

  • llm8221yahoocom

    We had our oldest circumcised and it was probably the worst mistake i’ve made so far as a parent.  He had reattachment complications and bleed pretty bad.  Even 5 years later his penis gets red/irritated sometimes.  He will complain that it hurts and we have a special cream for him.  That does usually make him feel better.  We’ve been told by a few doctors there is nothing they can do now(as his penis will grow so much over time, and i defiantly would not put him under the knife again anyway). I wish i knew then, what i know now.  My youngest son is intact and has never had one issue, nor do i expect him to.  Most boys who have issues, is because some stupid doctor messed with his foreskin(ie forcefully retracted it or told the parents to do so).  Complications do happen with circumcision and i do NOT think they are addressed often enough.  To think your child is immune to the possibilty of a complication is niave.  I’ve been told many things about this…they tend to be “well, i have/had a great surgeron and trust him completely”.  Or “well all surgery involves risks”.  To the first quote, many times it isn’t even the surgeons fault(although sometimes it is of course), alot of times it is just how a particular penis reacts to being circumcised.  My son’s penis was just trying to heal itself(and yes we took care of it exactly as we were suppose to).  To the second quote, yes all surgery involves risks.  The difference is all other surgery involved on a child is to fix a problem, correct pain, etc.  There is a reason for these surgeries and the Benefits OUTWEIGH the risks, while that just isn’t true for circumcision.  Sure,an intact boy can get an infection of some sort(but very very uncommon if you leave the foreskin alone).  But like a girl, we can treat it with antibiotics or other medicines, etc.  The whole reduces HIV/STD argument is just flawed and BS.  All you have to do is look at the US circ rate and  Europe’s circ rate(almost non existant), then look at boths HIV/STD rate.  Guess who has the higer HIV/STD rate?  THE US does, not Europe.  Those are plan facts, not some study that some idiots swayed in their favor.  UTI red reduction is so minimal and some studies have shown not valid if you don’t mess with the foreskin. Plus colitis getaway more UTIs than boys(intact or not) and we treat with antibiotics, not surgery.

  • llm8221yahoocom

    * girls, not colitis, thanks spell checker…lol

    I wanted to add that you probably don’t hear too many pro arguements for two reasons, one their isn’t much of a pro reason to circ, if their was health organizations would recommend it. I think that is what shocked men the most when I finally did research it. I’m like we should be told befroe surgery that the AAP and AMA, along with every other countries health organizations Do not recommend the procedure. And I think it isn’t mentioned because circumcision is so embedded in our culture the doctors dont want to offend anyone, especially religions. But we need to get over that so that parents can be fully informed either way, cuz Many our not. And this surgery is incomparable to any other surgery because it is the only surgery done(on a child) that DOES NOT treat or fix anything

    The second reason you seem more con instead of pro is cuz of moms like me. Our sons have truly been effected like this, so we want to educate people. I guess if your have son that seemingly has no issues this won’t be something your passionate about

  • jackieno

    It troubles me that almost NO doctors mention an obvious point.  There are thousands of nerves cut off by circumcision and these are disconnected from the brain.  This is sensory system damage to an infant.

    It is time that doctors gave the real info:  MALE Circumcision is nerve damage cutting off about 20000 fine touch and stretch sensing nerve endings and removing a source of pleasure from the male FOR LIFE. This is 2/3 of the total pleasure source amputated! This is nerves, blood vessels, protective covering and pleasure zones taken away from a human before the human can experience this. The dynamics and function and pleasure from sex and masturbation of the penis is harmed for good.

    Also, You should know that infant boys are EASIER to care for when they are natural (intact). The foreskin does not retract until late childhood or even puberty, so you do nothing special, just wipe the outside of his penis clean and leave it alone. Furthermore, to prevent painful and bleeding erections later in life, doctors are now commonly leaving more skin behind- in a cut boy this means you may have to push the left over skin back at every diaper change and clean beneath it to prevent it from adhering or infecting. The very thing that mother’s think they avoid by circumcising! In short- Intact = wipe like a finger, NEVER retract Cut= vaseline, clean thoroughly, push back remaining skin to prevent adhesions etc (the last step perhaps for several months or years). The is so wrong. There is no big cleaning involved with natural at all.

    Last but not least the parts amputated are fun and give pleasure.  Only about 0.5% of males who are left NATURAL (intact) at birth end up getting circumcised later in life. That tells you the foreskin parts are not as much of a problem as people make it out to be, and Men LIKE their foreskin parts.

  • triceratops

    I’m surprised more haven’t brought up the lawsuits with the Mogen clamp too. (http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/atlanta-lawyer-wins-11-573890.html) The Mogen company is filing for bankruptcy as this is their second lawsuit totaling in the millions.  In the most recent one, the head of the boy’s penis was amputated.  “The baby in the current case, identified in court documents only as L.G., lost the entire glans, or head, of his penis after it was pulled into the jaws of the clamp, according to a federal magistrate’s order. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein ordered Mogen Circumcision Instruments of New York to pay $10.8 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the Florida boy, now 3, and his parents. It’s unclear whether they will ever collect the money. Mogen is already in default on a $7.5 million judgment in 2007 from a Massachusetts lawsuit, Llewellyn said.” “In Friday’s decision, the court determined that Mogen had to pay for medical expenses and for the years of psychotherapy that will be needed. The boy suffers pain when he urinates, the court order says. He will eventually be able to have sex, but he is likely to be embarrassed and will likely have trouble forming “meaningful” relationships with girls, it adds. “At 3 years old, L.G. is aware that he looks different from other boys based on both his own observations and comments from other children which make him feel inferior .”

    Why anyone would take that kind of risk for what boils down to plastic surgery for an infant is beyond me. 

  • saltyc

    A pretty penis?

     

    Maybe I’m the only one here but, genitals are not pretty, OK? They’re wrinkly, hairy and floppy. Cosmetic surgery on genitals baffles me.

     

     

  • crowepps

    Male genitals remind me of the turkey neck and giblets –

  • prochoiceferret

    Maybe I’m the only one here but, genitals are not pretty, OK? They’re wrinkly, hairy and floppy.

     

    Hey, if Ernest Borgnine were capable of giving me monster mind-shattering orgasms, I’d call him pretty too!

     

  • ellahalliganrn

    So, essentially, you want your son’s genitals surgically modified to meet YOUR sexual preferences? Got a news flash for ya here… your son wasn’t put on this planet to meet your sexual preferences.

  • tommy124

    I’ve been with many women, both circumcised and uncircumcised.

    The uncircumcised women were uncomfortable with sex, because there was just too much sensation.

    I’ve done a ton of research.

    I’m having my daughter circumcised.

    Medical research has shown she will be less likely to get AIDS, and I am unconvinced there are no health benefits.

  • dadumdumdada

    When I was a teenager, a close friend had to be circumsized, as a teenager, due to something called Fombosis, which may not be, and probably isn’t, spelled correctly. I didn’t ask a lot of questions, but it had to do with the head not being able to fully come out of the foreskin. I also remember that it was painful, especially when he walked, afterwards.

     

    Opponents of circumcision never seem to address this complication, for whatever reason. Perhaps because they idealize the benefits of the foreskin? I don’t know, but circumcision is sometimes necessary later in life, and it would be best not to have to walk afterwards. 

  • prochoiceferret

    When I was a teenager, a close friend had to be circumsized, as a teenager, due to something called Fombosis, which may not be, and probably isn’t, spelled correctly.

     

    I believe the term you’re looking for is phimosis.

  • llm8221yahoocom

    True Phismosis is rare.  And there are other methods beside circumcision.  IN the US doctors are just not educated on this issue like they are in other countries. SO doctors recommend surgery as a first option, when there are other options.  Sad really.  And even if as a teenager or an adult my child TRULY need to have this surgery, then fine, he is is having it because he NEEDS it.  Just like he may need his appendix removed or tubes put in or a hernia removed…etc.  It is so ridicoulous to do a surgery on the fact that something might happen(a very very rare migh happen at that).  A person is way more likely to have a complication from circumcision than NEED to be circumcised later.

     

    Great blog article about with medical links to back it up

     

    http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/phony-phimosis-diagnosis.html

  • elisa-0

    I just watched an episode of Penn and Tellers “Bullshit” from season 3 about circumcision. If you can hunt down a dvd copy, I recommend it.  A book was mentioned called “What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Circumcision”. I have not personally read it but it seems to contain a lot of information from the reviews on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Doctor-About-Circumcision/dp/0446678805/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1286687268&sr=8-1

     

    To me, when people talk about not liking the look of foreskin, I equate that to people saying they don’t like the look of inner labia.  In US culture we have been conditioned to never see foreskin and pretend all women have tiny inner labia. I am sure the plastic surgery industry loves the insecurities we have about the way natural bodies look but breaking the cycle of insecurity seems like a better option to me.

    I am also so perplexed why parents feel they own their son’s penis. He should be the only one to make a decision about it. If he turns 18 and wants to cut off thousands of nerve endings, he can do that but he really should have the choice. Most people are not ok with parents having their daughters labia cut off and actually most people in the world are not ok with parents removing parts of their son’s penis either.

  • maryf

    Disclosure: I am the mother of two intact young men.
    That said, I am puzzled by several of your decisions:

    1) having a pediatrician do the circumcision. Peds are not surgeons, and in most areas they do not commonly do circs. In general, successful surgery is related to volume of procedures done. Does your ped do lots of these? If not, I’d reconsider.

    2) no anesthesia? You haven’t explained your reasoning behind this preference, so I’m assuming that this is because your ped has told you this is his preference. Have you spoken to anyone who does circs with anesthesia, and asked them why they use it? Make sure you have considered both sides of this.

    3) your presence during the procedure. Have you actually verified that this is allowed at the hospital you plan to use? Maybe it’s common in some places, but I would verify this with a nursery charge nurse in advance. Your doc might be telling you that this is OK, but he may not be able to override hospital rules when push comes to shove.

    A last thought about hygiene, etc. I can also confirm the opinions of several other commenters, that foreskin hygiene is really no big deal. Personally, I would be more concerned about diaper changes and hygiene in the presence of a fresh wound.

  • maryf

    Will your insurance really pay for a $2000 elective procedure when there is a $300 alternative? And the procedure is not medically-indicated? Why does the hospital procedure cost $2000?

  • tommy124

    circumcision is as appropriate for your son, as it is for your daughter.

    the fact that removing your daughter’s clitoral foreskin is a felony, and removing your son’s penile foreskin is common practice, shows the sexism inherent in the American medical system.

    neither gender needs it.  it is an operation which helps almost no one, and causes a great deal of invisible harm.  

  • arekushieru

    Sexism is inherent in a society that tries to equate a serious, more invasive surgery, performed because of an insubstantial value system, with a comparatively minor one with health benefits (albeit nebulous ones) simply because it happens to the more privileged sex.  I absolutely believe that circumcision should not be performed on either males or females until they can make the decision themselves.  I do NOT, however, think that the two are in any way comparable nor that claims of sexism can be based on nothing that includes the seriousness of an action.

  • tommy124

    How is removing the prepuce of a male, different than removing the prepuce of a female?

    One is a felony.  The other is perfectly acceptable.  
    Both are ethical violations of a person’s right to all their healthy body parts. 

  • tommy124

    The view of the American Medical Association, and the American Association of Pediatrics, along with that of every medical society in the world, is that circumcision is not medically necessary.  Extensive research would have shown you this.

    What other part of a child would you have removed, as cosmetic surgery he or she does not need?

    Is it ethical to remove a healthy body part, from someone else, who cannot consent?

    How would you feel about it, if it was your body?

    80% of the world’s men have foreskins, and consider themselves grateful.

  • arekushieru

    Um, I think you seriously need to read up on FGM.  And get rid of your American-centric way of thinking.  In MANY countries MGM AND FGM are practiced or JUST FGM is practiced.  That you can’t widen your scope by calling for sexism in THOSE circumstances, ONLY the ones where MGM, alone, is practiced, says a lot, even if it’s NOT what you wanted to conveigh.

  • warrioroflove

    Why not call this debate in a way that reflects the disgusting and painful child abuse a little better? I would call it:

    “Child- Genital-Torture or NO Child- Genital-Torture: A debate in the Madhouse.”

    That would be a more realistic reality check. I have realized that all parents that think they have the right to cut their son’s most sensitive and this highly erogenous body part off talk about their sons as if they were just a piece of meat. It never crosses their mind that it is simply the cruelest shit one can do to a child and that their sons are little persons with a loving soul and the human right to be whole. It’s always all about them and their personal preference of how their sons penises should look like. Any loving and thinking mother would defend her child’s wholeness and not leave it up to others. The only thing this woman wants to have a say in, is what kind of torture clamp should be used in case her husband wants the child to be mutilated. And the disgusting and compassionless cirumcisers say: “Do you want your chicken fillet with or without skin?” What a wonderful world we live in!

  • arekushieru

    Wo’l’ (apostrophes around the l because I hesitate to actually believe that you are a warrior of ‘love’, when you spew such hateful rhetoric), are you just as vigilant in your fight against female genital mutilation, a much more invasive and risky procedure?  Or is it just that female genital mutilation is happening to people outside of your own community…?   I await your immediate edification of my own response, if I, and the other poster who rated your comment, disastrously misinterpreted you, though.

  • crowepps

     cut their son’s most sensitive and this highly erogenous body part off

    What are you talking about?  The foreskin is not particularly sensitive or ‘erogenous’.  Removing it can result in a dulling of sensation in the no longer protected glans but most men who are circumsized after they are adult report very little difference in pleasurable sensations or sexual satisfaction.  Stop blaming circumcision for your sex life being lousy.  Your sex life is lousy either because you have ‘issues’ or because you are unskilled.

  • christy

    I am shocked that anyone could watch videos of babies being circumcised, and yet still choose to have a child circumcised without any pain relief at all.  This greatly disturbs me, but nowhere near as much as the babies this is done to.  Read this article: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/10/mri-studies-brain-permanently-altered.html to see how trauma in a newborn being circumcised with no pain relief caused lasting damage. 

    Circumcision is unnecessary genital reduction surgery.  Why would anyone want to cut off part of their precious child’s body?!  The foreskin is fused like a fingernail to the rest of the penis.  Would you want to have your fingernails ripped off?  Would you want to be strapped down and have part of your genitals cut off with NO pain relief?!!! 

    There are people who derive pleasure from watching the torment a child suffers from being circumcised.  Since your doctor does not use any type of pain relief, I would suspect him of enjoying the babies’ agony.  There is no logical reason to deny pain relief to a baby undergoing excruciating pain.  Babies feel pain even far worse than we do.

    The foreskin is also the most important part of sex for both men and women.  It allows for easy gliding within the female instead of the jackhammer style of sex that circumcised men do.  Both my husband and I wish that he was still genitally intact, but that choice was made for him at birth.  Our three sons are happily intact with no problems at all.  When our first was born, my husband wanted him cut so he wouldn’t feel “different.”  Now though, he has learned just what was taken from him.  What guy wouldn’t want an extra 10,000 to 70,000 erogeonous nerves? 

    There is nothing special to clean as the foreskin does not retract until generally much later in life.  Once it does retract, a few seconds in the shower does the trick. 

    I’ve seen little boys who have almost no penis left at all after being circumcised. Around 200 babies die annually from circumcisions, and “mishaps” are common.

    For someone who is all about “my body, my choice,” your decision to amputate a non-consenting person’s genitals is surprising, to say the least.  I am passionately against abortion, and I certainly recognize that I have no right to cut part of someone’s penis off! I am not attempting to debate that issue at all, but I would think that you would respect a person’s right to choose what to do with his body. 

     

  • arekushieru

    You had me, right up until your last paragraph.  Why is forcing a woman through hours of agony during labour less problematic for you, than a few minutes of agony for an infant (whom I don’t really believe is more sensitive than an adult because it has been suggested by those professionals in the know that a man/woman has the psychological conditioning to BE more sensitive to pain than a newborn) as he/she is circumcized, if pain is really the issue for you?  I despise ANY kind of mutilation of a reproductive organ, including circumcision, female genital mutilation and forced pregnancy/childbirth. 

    If someone/someones initially/mutually consented to an action is my concern, not the pain they may cause the one attacking them.  If someone is using my body against my will, after all, I do not care about what pain I may cause them by attempting to remove them.  That is ALso why I am against any such kind of mutilation.