Reply Hey Mom! Learn more about the Gerber Life Insurance Grow-Up Plan!
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-03-2013, 09:34 AM   #1721
zandj's Avatar
zandj
Registered Users
seller
seller
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,818
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

I agree about the 'blunt insertion' feeling..

Advertisement

__________________
Mama to P 12.07 and baby Q born at home 9.30.12 <3
zandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 10:22 AM   #1722
sarchamar
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 344
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

Quote:
Originally Posted by jen_batten View Post
The breast augmentation comment is pretty out there. For one there is a reason you can't get a boob job until you are fully developed. For another there is no medical benefits to a boob job. And there are no religious reasons to do them either. So IF someone had said "I circumcised my son solely to satisfy loose women" that argument might have been comparable but as it stands it is absurd.
I'm not necessarily agreeing with the comment, but it does lead into the crux of my issue. For one thing, the penis also isn't fully developed when most males are circumcised, which can cause issues years or even decades down the road. And considering how many people in the general population still circumcise primarily for cosmetic reasons, this point is often germane to the argument.

But for me, that's mostly immaterial. There are no immediate or guaranteed medical benefits to breast augmentation that I know of. But neither are there any immediate or guaranteed medical benefits to circumcising a normal, healthy newborn. Routine circumcision exposes a non-consenting person to actual surgical risk and loss based upon nothing more than speculative, incremental benefit. And while proxy consent can be deemed ethically defensible in spite of those issues, as in cases of disease, abnormality, or injury, it is not acceptable for an entirely non-therapeutic procedure.

How routine circumcision can be tacitly treated as an exception to those guidelines, I have no idea. Sure, you could consider it preventive, but so are myriad other minor surgical procedures that could be performed on infants or young children. I seriously doubt I could convince a doctor to trim my newborn daughter's labia to spare her the possible pain of the labial adhesions that I suffered as a child, for instance, in spite of the fact that labiaplasty is quick, simple, low-risk, and not an uncommon procedure for adult women to choose to for themselves. They'd say straight out that it was unethical, if not outright illegal under our current laws regarding FGM.

Besides that, its justification as a preventive procedure is weak--partly because those potential benefits will only be realized in a very small minority, and partly because the true risks and rates of complications are almost impossible to ascertain under the current U.S. system. In order for a surgical procedure on a non-consenting person to become ethically defensible, we would have to clearly demonstrate that the potential benefits justify not only an exception to those protective guidelines, but that they significantly outweigh the risks and potential complications. That's pretty difficult to do when even the AAP admit in their last policy statement that the risks and complications have not been reliably quantified. (Which, therefore, leads me to question how it's possible to correctly and logically reach the conclusion that they did ... but I digress.) It's also hard to ignore the analysis and criticism from other equally-advanced countries that reaches precisely the opposite conclusion, and presents a great deal of in vivo evidence to back their claims that we in the U.S. cannot.

This is why I care about what happens to other babies and families. It's not a control thing; it's not about forcing my beliefs on others; it's not about being obsessed with penises. It's about personal autonomy and consistent medical ethics, matters that concern ALL of us. I'm all about personal choice when the ethical criteria are met, but routine circumcision falls definitively outside of them regardless of what our societal attitudes imply.
__________________
E, full-time WAHM & married to J since 2000, with
Ladybug, 10 Koala Girl, 7 and the C Monster, 4
sarchamar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 10:25 AM   #1723
sarchamar
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 344
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

I don't find this discussion to be a bad thing at all, BTW. But when we go round and round about the details of which is prettier, healthier, cleaner, more pleasing to God, etc., it's easy to miss the larger (and, IMO, much more troubling) problem inherent in this practice. I concede that both sides can adequately demonstrate arguments for or against circumcision itself. However, the questions above are the central ones for me, and the only ones I have yet to see satisfactory answers to.
__________________
E, full-time WAHM & married to J since 2000, with
Ladybug, 10 Koala Girl, 7 and the C Monster, 4
sarchamar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 11:03 AM   #1724
jen_batten's Avatar
jen_batten
Registered Users
seller
seller
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,645
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

I won't quote to save space, but I'm responding to sarchamar.

It's true the penis is not fully developed in the case of infant circumcision. I have heard intactivists say that it can cause issues with knowing how much skin to remove. In my (admittedly small) realm of experience I have never heard of any one having issues from this. I have heard the circ can be too tight, but I don't understand how that would happen. Seems to me that the skin and penis would grow at the same rate as everything else and not cause issues. Using examples from this thread...with the gangrene thumb, if you cut it off as an infant, the stub and hand would grow at the same rate as the rest of the body and cause no issues. However with newborn breast augmentation if you wanted the enhancement to look normal for an adult, you would have to add a tremendous amount, it would look insane on a baby, it wouldn't fit and would cause development problems as the child grew. I guess what I'm trying to say is putting something on/in would cause different developmental issues but it is less likely that taking something off/out would cause as many problems. To be clear though I don't mean you can take anything out without major consequences, obviously if you removed the brain or heart, well....anyway.

As far as the ethics comment, that pretty well sums up the huge issue I have with abortion. I view circumcision much differently though. Science and the medical community have been telling us for years and years that circumcision is good preventive medicine. Now science and the medical community have been wrong about a billion times, so I won't argue on whether they are right or not here. But circumcision is largely practiced as preventive medicine. Much like vaccines. Vaccines carry many risks that are not widely known. We do not fully know their effects because not enough research has been done about their long term use--especially not with the current recommended schedule. Many of the diseases that we are "preventing" with vaccines have been totally wiped out in the US, therefore they pose very little to no risk to the average individual. Many many children will be given several vaccines that I do not believe will benefit them in any way, much like many babes will be circumcised that may have never had a UTI. So the benefits of these shots will only reach a few, but the risks touch everyone. On the diseases that pose almost no risk, couldn't we wait until the child was old enough to consent? So how would circumcision be any less ethical than vaccinations?

FTR, I am not referring to vaccines that prevent diseases that are still a threat in the US. I am not saying that vaccines are a good thing or a bad thing. Like circumcision, I feel each family must research and weigh the benefits and risks for themselves and decide what they feel is right for their family.
jen_batten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 11:35 AM   #1725
FindingMercy's Avatar
FindingMercy
Registered Users
Formerly: Evie'sMama
seller
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 2,479
My Mood:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jen_batten
I won't quote to save space, but I'm responding to sarchamar.

It's true the penis is not fully developed in the case of infant circumcision. I have heard intactivists say that it can cause issues with knowing how much skin to remove. In my (admittedly small) realm of experience I have never heard of any one having issues from this. I have heard the circ can be too tight, but I don't understand how that would happen. Seems to me that the skin and penis would grow at the same rate as everything else and not cause issues. Using examples from this thread...with the gangrene thumb, if you cut it off as an infant, the stub and hand would grow at the same rate as the rest of the body and cause no issues. However with newborn breast augmentation if you wanted the enhancement to look normal for an adult, you would have to add a tremendous amount, it would look insane on a baby, it wouldn't fit and would cause development problems as the child grew. I guess what I'm trying to say is putting something on/in would cause different developmental issues but it is less likely that taking something off/out would cause as many problems. To be clear though I don't mean you can take anything out without major consequences, obviously if you removed the brain or heart, well....anyway.
It is very possible to take off too much skin. Yes, the skin grows as the organ grows, but a scar is created in the middle of the penis with circumcision and scars greatly alter skins growth ability. Too tight circ was very common in the 80's and Drs have learned some from that and now are much more likely to perform a looser circ. I have a friend who's son had a loose circ and she is always complaining about it because the foreskin keeps trying to readhere to the glans and she has to pull it apart again at every diaper change, even a year later.

In regards to the comparison to the fingernail, I don't think that was ever really addressed. A foreskin is compared to a fingernail only in a boy who is not yet retractable. The adhesion that holds your fingernail to the nailbed is the same as the adhesion that holds the foreskin to the glans in a boy who is not retractable. That's the only comparison being made there. Not to its healing abilities or anything like that. Many people (even in the medical community in my personal experience) do not realize this and think the foreskin is just free floating over the glans and that stuff can get trapped in there.
__________________
Married to Scott and Mama to Evelyn (5) Annabelle (3) and Abraham (1)

I blog about our family, trans-racial adoption, gluten-free cooking, and crafting

FindingMercy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2013, 09:11 AM   #1726
sarchamar
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 344
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

Quote:
Originally Posted by jen_batten View Post
I won't quote to save space, but I'm responding to sarchamar.

It's true the penis is not fully developed in the case of infant circumcision. I have heard intactivists say that it can cause issues with knowing how much skin to remove. In my (admittedly small) realm of experience I have never heard of any one having issues from this. I have heard the circ can be too tight, but I don't understand how that would happen. Seems to me that the skin and penis would grow at the same rate as everything else and not cause issues.
Truncating quotes to save space.

It does seem that way, but I think that's a function of this societal meme that we've developed wherein we've convinced ourselves that penises naturally possess "extra" skin. When you consider the mechanics of an erection, along with the knowledge that some penises can effectively double in size during one, the idea that any part of the penis skin is redundant or unnecessary becomes very difficult to justify. Typically, most or all of it gets "used up" when an erection occurs. Adult penis size is highly variable, as is the difference between each individual man's flaccid and erect size. (Think show-ers and growers, if you're familiar with those terms.) Knowing this, how can any doctor have the faintest idea of what a newborn can truly afford to lose?

Some growth or stretching of the remaining skin probably does occur, to be fair, but it doesn't appear to be sufficient to allow for optimal erectile growth. There aren't overwhelming amounts of data available, but the studies that have been conducted consistently demonstrate that circumcision results in an average loss of .25-.5" of adult length, after controlling for confounding factors. A lot of tightly circumcised men also report painful erections and even tearing of the shaft skin (among other issues), although this is largely anecdotal. The bottom line is that a penis will develop with the appropriate amount of skin for its function, just like any other body part. The only exception would be if there is some sort of birth defect.

Quote:
So how would circumcision be any less ethical than vaccinations?
I see what you're saying, and quite frankly I've asked that question myself. The answer I keep coming back to is that we have to compare apples to apples. If you notice, I was very careful to limit the ethical discussion to surgical procedures only. I don't think there's any question about whether or not routine circumcision could be classified as preventive medicine. That's a very broad category. But that isn't where the conflict lies.

To me there's a clear difference between something like a vaccine, or prophylactic Tamiflu, or Synagis shots for a preemie, and the removal of healthy, functional, normal tissue. (I would guess that this is accepted as consensus, seeing that we have adapted our ethical guidelines accordingly over the years.) There's no guarantee that any of the former interventions will alter the body permanently, or at all. And even if they do, the manner of alteration is intangible and often transient, perhaps potentially reversible. Relatively few individuals will have measurable or long-lasting loss of function based on the currently available information. None of that is the case for circumcision, wherein 100% of patients experience some loss of normal function, sensation, and appearance. Moreover, it's an operation that permanently alters a very physically sensitive organ that is central to male gender identity. To me, that fact alone argues for the approach of making surgery a very last resort, not the first line of defense.

However, regardless of whether everyone agrees with me on that point, the question still remains: In terms of guidelines regarding proxy consent for surgical procedures, is routine circumcision an ethically justifiable exception? The risks are real, immediate, and largely unquantified, there is a guaranteed loss, and the benefits are speculative and not at all overwhelming. Overall, every other surgical procedure performed an unconsenting person is subject to the same general ethical guidelines; yet this is the lone outlier. This, a procedure which is at best scientifically unimpressive and frequently described as scientifically neutral, is what we as a society disregard our hard-won principles of medical ethics for. I don't get it. I don't think I ever will. Not only because of my own research, but because the complete lack of any credible scientific justification offered for this disparate and unwritten standard--no matter how many times the question is posed--leads to the inescapable conclusion that there isn't any.
__________________
E, full-time WAHM & married to J since 2000, with
Ladybug, 10 Koala Girl, 7 and the C Monster, 4

Last edited by sarchamar; 05-09-2013 at 09:15 AM.
sarchamar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2013, 04:13 PM   #1727
jen_batten's Avatar
jen_batten
Registered Users
seller
seller
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,645
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarchamar View Post
Truncating quotes to save space.

I see what you're saying, and quite frankly I've asked that question myself. The answer I keep coming back to is that we have to compare apples to apples. If you notice, I was very careful to limit the ethical discussion to surgical procedures only. I don't think there's any question about whether or not routine circumcision could be classified as preventive medicine. That's a very broad category. But that isn't where the conflict lies.

To me there's a clear difference between something like a vaccine, or prophylactic Tamiflu, or Synagis shots for a preemie, and the removal of healthy, functional, normal tissue. (I would guess that this is accepted as consensus, seeing that we have adapted our ethical guidelines accordingly over the years.) There's no guarantee that any of the former interventions will alter the body permanently, or at all. And even if they do, the manner of alteration is intangible and often transient, perhaps potentially reversible. Relatively few individuals will have measurable or long-lasting loss of function based on the currently available information. None of that is the case for circumcision, wherein 100% of patients experience some loss of normal function, sensation, and appearance. Moreover, it's an operation that permanently alters a very physically sensitive organ that is central to male gender identity. To me, that fact alone argues for the approach of making surgery a very last resort, not the first line of defense.

However, regardless of whether everyone agrees with me on that point, the question still remains: In terms of guidelines regarding proxy consent for surgical procedures, is routine circumcision an ethically justifiable exception? The risks are real, immediate, and largely unquantified, there is a guaranteed loss, and the benefits are speculative and not at all overwhelming. Overall, every other surgical procedure performed an unconsenting person is subject to the same general ethical guidelines; yet this is the lone outlier. This, a procedure which is at best scientifically unimpressive and frequently described as scientifically neutral, is what we as a society disregard our hard-won principles of medical ethics for. I don't get it. I don't think I ever will. Not only because of my own research, but because the complete lack of any credible scientific justification offered for this disparate and unwritten standard--no matter how many times the question is posed--leads to the inescapable conclusion that there isn't any.
I've always hated the phrase you're comparing apples to oranges. It's true they aren't the same, but they are comparable (and also contrast-able, if that's a word, lol). They are both fruit, both provide important vitamins, both the same general shape, contain natural sugar etc. Nothing will be the perfect example to compare, because it's true, there's nothing just like the situation we're talking about.

I get where you are coming from with the ethical thing, but I just don't agree with your conclusion. Infant ear piercing has (albeit small) risks, guaranteed change in appearance, and no benefits other than people thinking it's cute, if you could call that a benefit. You could probably even term it mutilation, though I disagree with the term in both instances. Generally a person must consent to the procedure. Is it unethical? I personally don't think so. I wouldn't do it to my girls, but I don't think it is morally wrong.

And then there's a big comparison, that I kind of hate to even throw out. What about abortion? Risks to the baby (or embryo, or whatever you want to call it) are real, immediate, irreversible and guaranteed. Risks (emotional, and sometimes physical) to the mother are also likely. Baby has zero say in the matter. Is that ethical? Isn't the first rule of medicine something like "first do no harm"?

While neither of these is the same as circumcision, I don't think that circumcision is a loner as far as being an exception. Even just a doctor prescribing antibiotics when he knows good and well that the child has a viral infection....there are risks associated with that, no benefits, no consent on the child's part, but it happens over and over again because the mom expects something.

Then you've also got the issue of whether circumcision is in fact medically justified...because research is small, biased and conflicting. But many people feel that it is. I know that you may not agree, but I don't agree with several medical decisions parent's make for their families. But it's not my choice, and not my place to tell them they are wrong.

Last edited by jen_batten; 05-10-2013 at 06:26 AM.
jen_batten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2013, 07:47 PM   #1728
DesertRat's Avatar
DesertRat
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,547
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarchamar View Post
Truncating quotes to save space.

It does seem that way, but I think that's a function of this societal meme that we've developed wherein we've convinced ourselves that penises naturally possess "extra" skin. When you consider the mechanics of an erection, along with the knowledge that some penises can effectively double in size during one, the idea that any part of the penis skin is redundant or unnecessary becomes very difficult to justify. Typically, most or all of it gets "used up" when an erection occurs. Adult penis size is highly variable, as is the difference between each individual man's flaccid and erect size. (Think show-ers and growers, if you're familiar with those terms.) Knowing this, how can any doctor have the faintest idea of what a newborn can truly afford to lose?

Some growth or stretching of the remaining skin probably does occur, to be fair, but it doesn't appear to be sufficient to allow for optimal erectile growth. There aren't overwhelming amounts of data available, but the studies that have been conducted consistently demonstrate that circumcision results in an average loss of .25-.5" of adult length, after controlling for confounding factors. A lot of tightly circumcised men also report painful erections and even tearing of the shaft skin (among other issues), although this is largely anecdotal. The bottom line is that a penis will develop with the appropriate amount of skin for its function, just like any other body part. The only exception would be if there is some sort of birth defect.



I see what you're saying, and quite frankly I've asked that question myself. The answer I keep coming back to is that we have to compare apples to apples. If you notice, I was very careful to limit the ethical discussion to surgical procedures only. I don't think there's any question about whether or not routine circumcision could be classified as preventive medicine. That's a very broad category. But that isn't where the conflict lies.

To me there's a clear difference between something like a vaccine, or prophylactic Tamiflu, or Synagis shots for a preemie, and the removal of healthy, functional, normal tissue. (I would guess that this is accepted as consensus, seeing that we have adapted our ethical guidelines accordingly over the years.) There's no guarantee that any of the former interventions will alter the body permanently, or at all. And even if they do, the manner of alteration is intangible and often transient, perhaps potentially reversible. Relatively few individuals will have measurable or long-lasting loss of function based on the currently available information. None of that is the case for circumcision, wherein 100% of patients experience some loss of normal function, sensation, and appearance. Moreover, it's an operation that permanently alters a very physically sensitive organ that is central to male gender identity. To me, that fact alone argues for the approach of making surgery a very last resort, not the first line of defense.

However, regardless of whether everyone agrees with me on that point, the question still remains: In terms of guidelines regarding proxy consent for surgical procedures, is routine circumcision an ethically justifiable exception? The risks are real, immediate, and largely unquantified, there is a guaranteed loss, and the benefits are speculative and not at all overwhelming. Overall, every other surgical procedure performed an unconsenting person is subject to the same general ethical guidelines; yet this is the lone outlier. This, a procedure which is at best scientifically unimpressive and frequently described as scientifically neutral, is what we as a society disregard our hard-won principles of medical ethics for. I don't get it. I don't think I ever will. Not only because of my own research, but because the complete lack of any credible scientific justification offered for this disparate and unwritten standard--no matter how many times the question is posed--leads to the inescapable conclusion that there isn't any.

I think I love you! Very well said.

I think the problem is that there is so much emotion and cultural bias in the equation. If no one in the US circumcised and we used current "pro-circumcision" arguments to get try to get people to start circumcising, nobody would buy it. But because most adult men are cut, it seems weird to envision an intact penis, and people buy into the myths because they literally don't know better. They have zero experience with intact men to know the myths are false. Parents who choose not to circ today are going into uncharted territory as almost all men they know are circumcised. And that's really hard to do!

Also, men are very defensive about their manhood. My DH's first response when I started questioning circumcision was defensive too, as though I was saying something was wrong with him and he didn't want to hear it. (even thought I wasn't talking about him specifically when I brought up my concerns) Mothers who chose to circumcise also don't want tot hear that they may have made the wrong choice either. It's a hard pill to swallow when you learn that men are permanently and negatively altered by circumcision. Thankfully my DH did his homework and chose not to make the same mistake with his sons, but I do think it was hard for him to accept that things could have been different/better if he had been able to make the choice for himself.
DesertRat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2013, 01:08 PM   #1729
Andbabymakes2's Avatar
Andbabymakes2
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: SE Kansas
Posts: 6,640
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

I haven't kept up with this thread, but I am thankful that I found it 2yrs ago. And I am proud to say that we are very happy with the choice to NOT circ and looking forward to NOT circ'ing our new baby boy!
__________________
Vanessa, Wife to Jeff, SAHM to Vivian(9/26/06) Lauren(10/04/08) Evan (8/31/11), and Samuel Dean (8/17/13)
Andbabymakes2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2013, 03:51 PM   #1730
zandj's Avatar
zandj
Registered Users
seller
seller
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 6,818
Re: Top ten reasons not to circumcise your son

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andbabymakes2 View Post
I haven't kept up with this thread, but I am thankful that I found it 2yrs ago. And I am proud to say that we are very happy with the choice to NOT circ and looking forward to NOT circ'ing our new baby boy!
__________________
Mama to P 12.07 and baby Q born at home 9.30.12 <3
zandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Copyright 2005 - 2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.