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Circumcision

(35 Posts)
Ivortheengine8 Wed 13-Jul-11 09:10:28

Me and DH were having a conversation a couple of nights ago about it.
We are not sure yet what we are having but DH says he would want a boy to be cirumcised. I'm not keen myself, When I was in hospital with my DD last time there was a little boy there who had been circumcised and it had gone wrong and got infected etc and I just cringed when his mum told me.

DH is of African origin so I can see why he would want to culturally, I'm sure my dad would have been because his mother is of Jewish descent but personally I don't have any reason and the thought makes me whince. DH also informed me I would have to take the baby because he would be at work!!!
He only wants it done by a professional Dr though.

Has anyone any experience of it and what are your views?

ShowOfHands Wed 13-Jul-11 09:13:00

Perhaps have a little search of the archives? This topic is very hotly debated with the vast majority being horrified that anybody would cut off a healthy part of their child's genitals.

You won't get it done by a Dr here unless you go privately btw. It's not available on the NHS.

I fall into the 'horrified' camp btw.

Ivortheengine8 Wed 13-Jul-11 09:14:27

Really Show? Sorry, I should have looked before posting. I will tell DH that the NHS don't do it though. That might put him off!

ShowOfHands Wed 13-Jul-11 09:21:45

Oh no, you must post when you have a question. That's the beauty of MN, real time responses. BUT this is one arena where you're best prepared for the strength of feeling.

dreamingbohemian Wed 13-Jul-11 09:24:27

It's a very cultural thing. From what I've seen, 95% of those on MN will tell you it's cruel, horrifying, mutilation, etc. But I'm from the US, where the norm is for men to be circumcised, and it really isn't seen as a big deal (although this is changing a bit). I had many boyfriends and male friends in the US, all of them circumcised (or so I hear smile) and if you had told any of them that they had been mutilated they would have laughed at the idea, because it's simply seen as normal.

If your DH comes from a place where it's seen as normal, then I wouldn't necessarily try to convince him not to do it on the basis of it being horrific. I would tell him you can't get it done on the NHS and because it's rare here they don't have many experienced people to do it privately so there's a greater chance of something going wrong (or something like that).

I do sympathise with the anti-circumcision camp (and I did not get my own son circumcised). But it's hard to square some of the arguments with what I have seen myself living in the US and I imagine it might be the same for your DH.

Primafacie Wed 13-Jul-11 09:34:00

Oh, shall we play circumcision bingo? I've got FGM, mutilation, child abuse, sex-won't-be-as-good, and watch-that-youtube-clip-with-no-pain-relief on my card.

Op, sorry to be flippant, but SOH is right, MN is not the right place to post questions or have a debate on circumcision. This being said, many GPs will do it for you privately as well as various private hosps if you are in London.

LDNmummy Wed 13-Jul-11 09:54:59

Oh boy this really is a hot topic on MN. From past threads I think the general response will be to tell you it is barbaric.

I am African as is my DH and we both massively disagreed on this issue as I am against it and he is for it. Luckily we are expecting a girl so it has not blown up into a full scale family issue. My MIL amd my own DM would have been horrified if I didn't do it as would extended family and I would have had a battle on my hands.

It is a matter hygiene and cleanliness which (depending on where you are from) can be a very big deal. For example, in my country it is expected for a man to shave his armpits and genital area out of hygiene or he is thought of as having poor personal hygiene.

All I will say is that you should not be pushed into doing something you are unhappy with. I would be honest and ask him to respect that as this is a very big deal. A circumcision cannot be undone but if you wait till the child is older, the child can make the decision themselves when the time is right. Doing it for them takes away a fundamental human right in my opinion.

Plus there is a lot of research now that show's circumcision is not at all necessary for hygiene or to prevent infection. Doctors would recommend it anyway if the child has a tight foreskin or other issues that will be seen as a genuine problem in the future. In fact, the risk of infection after circumcision and other problems if it is done incorrectly are much greater and can (in a few cases) even lead to infant death because of serious infection or bleeding.

Maybe find some research and present it to him.

If you choose to do it, make sure it is done by a professional and don't allow people to judge you on it either. It is your choice and though I do not agree with it, parents make all sorts of choices that they feel are in the best interests of their child and it is all down to what you feel is best.

ShowOfHands Wed 13-Jul-11 09:55:42

Primafacie, can I have any mention of hygiene issues, references to would your dh have your ds otherwise surgically altered just to look like him and 'I once knew a circumcised/uncircumcised man who...' on my card please?

Primafacie Wed 13-Jul-11 09:59:47

Of course you can grin

dreamingbohemian Wed 13-Jul-11 10:19:14

SOH I believe you can get 'I knew a circumcised man' from my post grin

ShowOfHands Wed 13-Jul-11 10:22:20

And hygiene's been mentioned. C'mon, somebody make a silly comment about will your ds be having facial surgery and I win a hamper.

NearlyHeadlessnickelbabe Wed 13-Jul-11 10:31:00

Ivor - the plain answer is that it is unnecessary and cruel.
full stop.
if your DS had medical issues that warranted the procedure, then fine, but if there is nothing wrong with his penis, then leave it be

I will never understand why men have this obsession with mutilating their child's genitals just because theirs were. What does it prove, except to say "well, mine was removed, so my son's should be!" that's not a reason, that's just a pathetic excuse.

I'm far too lazy to go look it up (and have a splitting headache on top) but with regards to the US thing, I follow a US anti-circumcision pressure group on Twitter (they followed me first!) and I'm sure that they were saying that over the last couple of years it's actually swung the other way. Not by much, maybe 60:40, but a definite shift away from routine, standard circumcision in American hospitals.

ohanotherone Wed 13-Jul-11 10:53:27

I think you should post. Basically, it is an infringement of a child's human right, it will cause pain, it may get infected and there is no medical agrument in favour of having it done. It's not done on the NHS becuase of those reasons, it would be ethically wrong for a Doctor to do it. The fact that private Doctors do it is ethically wrong aswell. For people who bang on about the hygenie issue, we live in a society where we can access soap and water and therefore keep clean.

Ivortheengine8 Wed 13-Jul-11 11:22:26

I honestly didnt know it was such a hot topic and really didn't want to get into a mumsnet debate about it. Even so, I am surprised at the response but thanks for the replies.

Tbh, DH is very 'British' now, Been here for 20 years or so and hardly ever goes home. Our DC's will be growing up here as well. He doesn't practise any religion now, although he was and I were both brought up in christian homes.

I guess it must be the done thing in many countries without giving it a second thought. I'm not sure if Muslims do?

LD thats an interesting point - I always wondered why DH shaved under his arms!

We had a similar conversation concerning piercing my daughter's ears when she was a baby, obviously not quite the same thing but I refused to do it because I didn't want my daughter to be in pain or for them to get infected. But again, I do understand that for some cultures it is an important issue as is circumcision. I guess its almost like a religious ritual.

NearlyHeadlessnickelbabe Wed 13-Jul-11 11:42:03

so, he's not even got a religious reason for doing it?
Jesus madea comment along the lines of "circumcise your hearts" - basically saying that you don't need to have a piece chopped off your penis to follow Him.

Crosshair Wed 13-Jul-11 13:04:34

Is circumcision more hygienic?

ohanotherone Wed 13-Jul-11 13:59:24

No, not cock washing is unhygenic!

NearlyHeadlessnickelbabe Wed 13-Jul-11 14:01:24

of course it's not more hygenic!
that was bandied around as an excuse - again, if a boy is taught how to wash his bits properly, then in this society it can never be a problem.
and if it is, it's because the man can't be arsed to wash his tackle, not because he's got a foreskin.
even if you go visiting a country where they don't have soap and water, then you can take baby wipes or something similar and still be able to wash it properly.

Primafacie Wed 13-Jul-11 14:42:03

The WHO accepts that circumcision reduces HIV transmission from female to male by about 60%, and is an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention. I am not saying all boys should be circumcised because of this, but it is not true that there is no medical benefit whatsoever.

Worldwide, about 30% of men are circumcised. That figure is less than 1% among white British males. Attitudes to circumcision on MN simply reflect the demographics of the site's users.

NearlyHeadlessnickelbabe Wed 13-Jul-11 14:56:30

yes, but that's because in a lot of African countries, men refuse to use condoms.
in the UK, and most of the western world, condoms are freely available (literally free if you go to the GUM clinic), so there is no need at all to use that excuse.
If you don't have high-risk sex, then again, it's down to education, isn't it?

LDNmummy Wed 13-Jul-11 15:26:53

Ivor your DH and I might be from the same place, or a close by country.

I am West African.

Girls also have their ears pierced young as you said but I don't think that is as big an issue now. Mine were done before I was even 6 months old, but I won't be doing it to my LO.

Nearly it is just as important in my culture as in some religions. And my DH didn't want it done to make his little boy look just like him, it is a genuine issue of cleanliness and infection that makes him and all the men I know from m y culture as well as the women, feel it is necessary.

eurochick Wed 13-Jul-11 15:32:51

There was a thread on AIBU on this very recently. Take a look on there if you want to find out more but be warned that some very strident views were expressed.

Ivortheengine8 Wed 13-Jul-11 15:37:12

He is West African too. I think it's maybe more a 'symbol' of cleanliness too though isn't rather than taking it literally which might be harder for people to get their heads around. Prim, thats right, there are many things I don't understand about other practices/rites/rituals and about some different cultures, I wonder why people do the things they do everyday but that generally makes me want to know the reasons behind it or try and understand from another perspective.

BertieBotts Wed 13-Jul-11 15:38:40

I just couldn't imagine handing my newborn son over to a doctor, knowing he would be upset enough by being restrained, and then knowing he was about to be caused a significant amount of pain, without very compelling medical reason. The heel prick test was bad enough!

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