Saturday, July 19, 2008

Circumcision - why not?

So I realized that I left out an option on my poll. Sorry to those of you who are undecided and didn't know how to vote. :p Maybe you're thinking the way I used to. If doctors perform circumcisions, there must be some benefit, right? And then you're wondering, why is this a "hot topic"? I have to admit that when I was pregnant with my first son, I did wonder for a while why, if there are some medical or health benefits, routine infant circumcision was not practiced in Germany (where I grew up). I never did explore the issue, however, and just trusted that if doctors were performing routine surgery on a newborn, there must be some very good reason that the rest of the world just hadn't heard about. Soon, other issues became more important, and when Tyler was a day old and the doctor came in to take him to be circ'ed, I never really thought twice about it. Well, I wish I would have done more research then, so whatever decision we ended up making would have at least be informed. If you're one of those people who are on the fence, here are a couple of websites for you to check out. My husband would argue that they are biased, and I suppose I have to agree and say that they are. They most certainly exist to discourage routine infant circumcision. There are lots of good articles to read, though, and lots of common questions that are answered. Go ahead and check them out, that way you can make a more informed choice. :o)

Circumcision Resource Center - this one has links to articles discussing common issues and questions
NotJustSkin - FAQ's, check this one out for quick answers!
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers
Circumcision Information and Resource Pages - complete with a reference library


NielDC said...

I never thought about circumcision until I was in my late 20s. Despite the fact that it was done to me. When I did research it, I was shocked. A part of my body, with feeling and function, was forcibly torn away and cut off, leaving a big scar. WTF?? It's no wonder people assume (and imagine) that there must be some medical justification, but there is not. I am very much against it now, and would never subject a son to this unnecessary surgery.

Those websites are indeed biased -- towards the truth.

Mark Lyndon said...

You might also want to check out the following:

Canadian Paediatric Society
Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed
Circumcision is a "non-therapeutic" procedure, which means it is not medically necessary. Parents who decide to circumcise their newborns often do so for religious, social or cultural reasons. To help make the decision about circumcision, parents should have information about risks and benefits. It is helpful to speak with your baby’s doctor.

After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions.

RACP Policy Statement on Circumcision
"After extensive review of the literature the Royal Australasian College of Physicians reaffirms that there is no medical indication for routine neonatal circumcision."
(those last nine words are in bold on their website, and almost all the men responsible for this statement will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision in Australia in 1950 was about 90%)

British Medical Association: The law and ethics of male circumcision - guidance for doctors
"to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate."

National Health Service (UK)
Many people have strong views about whether circumcision should be carried out or not. It is not routinely performed in the UK because there is no clear clinical evidence to suggest that it is has any medical benefit.

Hugh7 said...

Those British, Candadian, Australian and New Zealand medical organisations Mark Lyndon cites only have a policy on circumcision because it used to be commonplace there and they now discourage it. (In New Zealand it used to be almost universal; now only Polynesians do it, as part of their culture, and in most cities it's hard to find a doctor who'll do it without a good reason.)

In most of the rest of the non-Muslim world (Europe, Scandinavia, Central and South America, India, China, Japan, much of South East Asia), circumcision has never been common and they don't need a policy. The US is now alone in the world in circumcising a majority of babies for non-religious reasons.

Another site that is unashamedly biased towards leaving babies alone, and looks at many issues, social, cultural, medical and religious, surrounding this strange practice, is The Intactivism Pages

Keith and Nicci said...

This is definitely something we'll have to research more... glad we have some resources to check out now:)

Melissa said...

DH is uncircumcised and insisted that both boys be circ'd. Lots of reasons including problems growing up (mainly because of poor care by his parents) and looking different from others.

Lari said...

I'm so glad I researched circumcision myself. It really opened my eyes. Before I did any research, I just figured, "Hey, every body does it. So what's the problem?"
I realize now that cultural norms aren't always the best option... especially when it comes to performing unnecessary surgery on defensless babies.