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Home Wellness Research Circumcision If You Ask an Obstetrician Why Male Babies are Routinely Circumcised in Western Hospitals, He Will Probably Give You One of 10 Standard Answers

If You Ask an Obstetrician Why Male Babies are Routinely Circumcised in Western Hospitals, He Will Probably Give You One of 10 Standard Answers

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 15:21

Removing the penile foreskin guards against urinary tract infection

There is no evidence that this claim is true. There is, however, significant evidence that the hospital setting for birth, particularly the newborn nursery, is responsible for a significant increase in the rate of infant urinary tract infection. Babies (of either sex) born in the hospital and taken to the newborn nursery are at much greater risk of urinary tract infection from stray bacteria than are home-birthed infants. (See Reason #71, "You don't want your baby exposed to hospital germs.")


An intact foreskin makes proper cleaning of the penis difficult.

If hygiene were really the concern, obstetricians would also cut off your baby's ears and toes at birth. Since obstetricians don't do that, we know that cleanliness is not the issue. Further, a girl's genitals are far more difficult to keep clean than a boy's, and we don't see clitoral circumcision gaining acceptance in Western hospitals. Obviously there is another reason besides concern over "cleanliness" that compels obstetricians to cut off the most sensitive tissue on your baby boy's body, often without anesthesia and in some cases without informing you beforehand.


An intact foreskin increases the risk of cancer.

There is no evidence that this claim is true.


Men who remain intact may give their wives vaginal disorders.

There is no evidence that this claim is true. In fact, the foreskin protects the vagina from frictional irritation during intercourse


An intact boy may be confused by the difference between his penis and his circumcised father's penis, and he may suffer psychological problems as a result.

There is no evidence that this claim is true.


Circumcision guards against contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

There is no evidence that this claim is true. Contrary to popular belief, circumcising male infants does not reduce their risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, a benefit that physicians have long been associated with the practice. In fact, circumcised men were found to be slightly more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease in a study of 1,410 American men. While none of the intact men in this study ever had chlamydia, for instance, 26 of the circumcised men had contracted the disease.


Circumcision guards against herpes.

There is no evidence that this claim is true.


Circumcision guards against AIDS.

There is no evidence that this claim is true.


Circumcision reduces the risk of "sexual perversion."

Although circumcision has been performed for religious reasons for centuries, the practice became widespread in the 1870s when physicians thought it would limit sexual practices such as masturbation and oral sex. But studies show that men who have been circumcised are more likely to engage in varied sexual practices. One study shows that circumcised men are 40 percent more likely than non-circumcised men to masturbate at least once a month. They are also more likely to have had homosexual oral sex and heterosexual anal intercourse.


That's just the way it is.

Interestingly, this answer, while devoid of scientific information or expert analysis of any kind -- analysis that one might expect from a graduate of years of medical schooling -- is the best answer your obstetrician can give. That is, it's the best for him. Since no scientific studies support circumcision, and since evidence clearly shows that there is no medical or health benefit derived from circumcision, obstetricians have at least a vague understanding that linking circumcision with medicine is to perpetrate fraud. "That's just the way it is" is your obstetrician's best answer to the question, "Why circumcise?" because it's an answer that he rightly sees as the easiest way around the briar patch of parental questioning on this thorny subject. The subtext of "That's just the way it is" is, "Stop asking me questions."Of course, although obstetricians are loathe to think about, or speak the truth about, the issue of circumcision, childbirth educators, midwives and doulas cannot be so squeamish. Circumcision rates for male newborns are currently at 60 percent in U.S. hospitals--an unconscionably high rate.


-Jock Doubleday
Director Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc.
A California nonprofit corporation
http://www.gentlebirth.org/nwnm.org
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