Sunday, October 31, 2010

Circumcision Myths

.....also see Part One - To cut or not to cut?

I want my son to look like daddy. Personally, I believe two wrongs don’t make a right. Over time society has become more advanced and we can admit that things that used to be acceptable and common place no longer are. I know of no man who compares his genitals to his dad’s to get self worth. Perhaps a question from a curious three year old will occur but a simple “daddy had surgery when he was a baby will suffice.”

Won’t he be teased in the locker room? The most recent statistics show that circumcision has dropped to record lows in the United States and stands at just 33% (for 2009). This means that when the 2009 babies get to the locker room only 1 in 3 will be circumcised. If your son chooses to leave the country, the number of circumcised males will likely be even less (75% of the world is intact).  

An intact penis is unhygienic and dirty. Prepuce amputation is no replacement for proper hygiene. Regardless of if your son is circumcised, proper washing is important. Amputating a portion of the penis for a slight UTI reduction is seems absurd when males contracting UTIs is rare. Again in this instance circumcision is a “cure” looking for its “disease”. 

But doesn’t it help prevent HIV? ( The journal of AIDS has actually published a paper doubting the use of circumcision as an HIV reducer. The study that resulted in all of the press has been found to be questionable and flawed. Even if that study did have accurate results, it found circumcision to only be effective in reducing the risk of transmission of HIV from an infected female to an unaffected male and it was less effective than condom use. Real world studies actually show opposite results. Even in Africa the countries with higher percentage of circumcised men have higher rates of HIV. The United States has higher rates of circumcision than Europe and also higher rates of STDs. Circumcision has also been shown to increase the infection risk for women. I plan to teach proper sexual health and condom usage instead of body alteration.

The final consideration I made when making my decision happened after actually watching a circumcision procedure performed on a newborn. This is one of the most heart wrenching things I have ever seen. I did not want my son out of my arms after birth let alone strapped down while undergoing surgery with no anesthesia in a room far away from me. 

Regardless of what you decide, please take the time to thoroughly research circumcision before making your decision. If you can’t stomach watching a clip of the procedure then perhaps your baby can’t stomach the actual procedure. Throughout this post I’ve cited a few resources and paths for further information but there is much more information out there.

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