I tried to think of a witty blog title for this, and finally came to the conclusion that everyone just simply needs to become informed about routine infant circumcision. Simple. Nothing complex about it. I circumcised my 7 1/2 year old son. I did not circumcise my 1 year old son. "When you know better, you do better."
Let's start with the basics:
Circumcision is an elective surgical procedure that removes healthy tissue from a healthy body. And, there's no solid medical basis behind non-medically indicated circumcision.
At this time, there is insufficient data to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. Although there are potential benefits and risks, the procedure is usually not essential to the child’s well being.i
Approximately 117 infant boys die each year of circumcision complications. These deaths were 100% avoidable.
Baby boys can and do succumb as a result of having their foreskin removed. Circumcision-related mortality rates are not known with certainty; this study estimates the scale of this problem. This study finds that approximately 117 neonatal circumcision-related deaths (9.01/100,000) occur annually in the United States, about 1.3% of male neonatal deaths from all causes. Because infant circumcision is elective, all of these deaths are avoidable. This study also identifies reasons why accurate data on these deaths are not available, some of the obstacles to preventing these deaths, and some solutions to overcome them.ii
The prepuce is highly vascularized, so it is likely to hemorrhage when cut, and severing the frenular artery is very common. Infants have a miniscule amount of blood in their tiny bodies and can tolerate only about a 20 percent blood loss before hypovolemia, hypovolemic shock, and death. A 4000 gram male newborn has only 11.5oz (340 ml) of total blood volume at birth, 85 ml per kilogram of weight. Blood loss of only 2.3oz, (68 ml), 20% of total blood volume at birth is sufficient to cause hypovolemia. Many newborns, and especially premature infants, weigh much less and a smaller amount of blood loss would be sufficient to trigger hypovolemic shock in those infants. Circumcision of infants, therefore, carries the inherent danger of hypovolemic shock and death.iii
Circumcision should be a human rights issue, not parental choice.
I talk to women all the time who are horrified over the idea of female circumcision. Why? Girls get infections FAR more often than boys do. Yeast, UTI, irritation (especially in young girls), etc. If you claim that male circumcision is necessary for infection prevention, then we should be circumcising our daughters as well. Bottom line? If you are horrified over the idea of girls being strapped down and circumcised, you ABSOLUTELY need to be horrified over the idea of boys being strapped down.
Watch this video. Is this okay to you? Would you be okay with someone strapping you down without your consent, forever changing your genital anatomy? Decreasing the amount of nerve endings, increasing the risk of sexual dysfunction, and putting you at pointless risk of death? All to look "nicer"?
Circumcision changes sexual function for both men and their female partners.
Now researchers prodding dozens of male penises with a fine-tipped tool have found that the five areas most receptive to fine-touch are routinely removed by the surgery.iiii
Circumcision removes the most important sensory component of the foreskin - thousands of coiled fine-touch receptors called Meissner's corpuscles. Also lost are branches of the dorsal nerve, and between 10,000 and 20,000 specialized erotogenic nerve endings of several types. Together these detect subtle changes in motion and temperature, as well as fine gradations in texture. iv
The New Zealand study found that females experience an orgasm twice as often from an intact man than the cut one. When it is cut, the coronal ridge is abnormally exposed, which causes undue friction on the vaginal walls that would not occur if the lubricating and gliding mechanism of the foreskin remained intact. The cut penis usually prefers an unnatural elongated an arrhythmic stroke, breaking the delicate build up the female arousal system.vi
Most likely, reported vaginal dryness and the related clinical designation ‘female arousal disorder’ is but a normal female response to coitus with a man with an iatrogenically deficient penis.vi
The prepuce is primary, erogenous tissue necessary for normal sexual function. The complex interaction between the sensitivity of the corpuscular receptor-deficient glans penis and the corpuscular receptor-rich ridged band of the male prepuce is required for normal copulatory behavior. – Dr. Christopher Cold, M.D. and Dr. John Taylor, M.D.
But I don't want my son to look different than his father/peers!
There are SO many things wrong with this reasoning, most of the time I don't even know where to begin. First of all, don't MOST of us parents try to instill in our children that they should strive for individuality? That they don't need to look like everyone else, or act like everyone else? That they should be themselves? What about when your daughter comes home from high school every day after P.E. in tears because her breasts are smaller/larger than the other girl's? Will you take her in for breast augmentation? Or will you explain to her that her body is her own, and she is beautiful?
I could also go into the possible hidden implications of a father wanting his son's genitalia to become disfigured just so that he looks like him...but I'll leave that as something to ponder. I still have to wonder - how many men would *volunteer* to undergo the experience that the baby had in the video above? Would they still if they knew that it would remove vital tissue containing extremely sensitive nerve endings? If not, then why on earth are they turning around and inflicting this on their sons, just to look the same?!
I have women tell me constantly that the decision is not theirs. That it is out of their hands, up to their husband/partner. WHY? Why is the decision to permanently alter your son's body, putting him at risk of death and sexual dysfunction as an adult, any less YOUR decision? If someone was holding a knife to your baby's ear, wanting to remove it, would you not risk life and limb to rescue your baby? HOW is this any different? My husband wasn't fully on board when I said that I would not allow any of our future sons to be circumcised. He thought I had gone nuts. Until I showed him the research. Until I showed him just what purpose a foreskin has, and what risks we took by doing so to our older son. Stand firm. Most intelligent, caring men will be receptive if you show them why you are so concerned about this. Many then question why their parents did it to them. We are living in a society full of men who were robbed of their full sexual function. Why don't more people see a problem with this?
Circumcision cannot be claimed as "religious" unless done in a Synagogue by a Mohel
I get so tired of hearing people claim religious reasons for routine infant male circumcision. However, not only is this 100% irrelevant and UNbiblical for those who are not Jewish, many Jewish people are shying away from the practice as well. If you had your baby strapped down to a plastic board and circumcised in a hospital or doctor's office, there was nothing spiritual about it. For those who aren't Jewish, Paul in the New Testament speaks about NOT circumcising, that it is ritualistic and holds no favor. Circumcision of the heart is much more valuable to God, than complete removal of the foreskin that He designed with a purpose. There are scholars who have studied Biblical text regarding how circumcision was done. Most of the circumcision spoken about on the Bible was done to adult males. And when it was done, it was NOT the complete removal of the whole foreskin. Some suggest that there is evidence of it being a nick in the skin, as a blood offering. Others suggest that it is a fraction of what is removed in routine infant circumcision done by hospitals and pediatricians. And again, Paul in the New Testament speaks out against circumcision.
Gal. 5:6: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love."
Gal. 6:15: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation."
Col 3:9-11: "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all."
1 Cor. 7:17b-20: "This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything. Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called.'
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Healthy male foreskin has many purposes. Your son's foreskin is "knit together" in his mother's womb. There is no valid medical reason to routinely strap infant males down to a plastic table and remove it. It puts his life at risk, his sexual function and pleasure at risk, and robs his wife of a normal sex life. I don't even know what my sex life could be like with an intact man. My husband is circumcised, and he's the only man I have ever been with. It frustrates me to know that because of this routine, senseless procedure I will never know how much better sex can be with a man whose body is just how God intended it to be. It frustrates me even further that we have this idea in our culture that removing healthy tissue without our sons' consent is OKAY. I did it to one son. Not to my other one. The son I did it to, I did it to out of complete ignorance. I will never make that mistake again.
Parents, I urge you to do your research. The only thing that cannot be undone is a circumcision. If later in life your son experiences problems that cannot be resolved with other measures, by all means pay for him to have it done. At least he will be the one making the decision. Take a long, hard (no pun intended) look at what you are thinking of doing to your innocent baby, who has absolutely no choice in the matter. Please, keep your whole baby whole.
"I support the choice to circumcise when the man whose body will forever be changed is the one making the choice."
i: American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statements on Circumcision and Urinary Tract Infection
ii: Lost Boys: An Estimate of U.S. Circumcision-Related Infant Deaths
iii: Increased Danger of Neonatal Circumcision
iiii: Study: Circumcision Removes Most Sensitive Parts
iv: Losses from Circumcision
vi: Effects of male circumcision on female arousal and orgasm