Circumcision Debate

Nurses General Nursing


Hi all. Our HealthGate topic of the week is a debate about circumcision. Is it a minor operation, (endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics) that improves cleanliness and that a baby doesn't feel or an unethical mutilation, with no medical basis, that has long-lasting effects

It has no real benefit other than preventing any foreskin infections (but by that rationale I guess we should pull out childrens teeth to avoid cavities). I just don't understand why parents would want to do this to their child. I could not imagine having a nurse strap my baby down so a doctor could cut off a piece of his skin. I have seen babies scream until they threw up and nearly choked. It is just sick to me.

Specializes in CV-ICU.

Fergus, I agree 100% with you. My first job as an RN was charge nurse nights, newborn nursery. A pediatrician would come in and do the circumcisions and would always say "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" but those poor babies would scream and their screams and cries would change with the procedure-- don't ever tell me they can't feel it!!! I refused to let my son be circumcised because I didn't believe in it, and I wouldn't ever let them do it to anyone I care about.

Good debate topic.

I have seen many circs done in the nursery, and absolutely believe that the babies feel it! I however, do plan on having my male children circed, just because I think that it is important for a child to look like their father. The docs at my hospital use a lidocaine injection to numb the area first. I would not let them do it without a local! I do not have children as of yet, but I can not see my opinion changing.

About 60% of male babies in our nursery get circumcised. We give the parents literature and educate them on the pros and cons. Ultimately, it's each parent's individual decision.

We have been using EMLA cream for a local anesthetic, with excellent results. Put the cream on the baby's member and wrap it with a piece of op-site and leave on for about 1/2 hour before the circ. It's amazing how well it works!

Ok, here's my opinion from my own experience. I have 3 sons, the first 2 I had done, then 10 years later, I had my last son. Hubby and I talked about it, and both agreed that for us, the surgery was useless. The Dr's couldn't give me any PROOF that there was any MEDICAL reason to make my baby scream in pain. We didn't have it done. I don't believe that a child has to look like it's father. I personally think it's a cruel process and if that skin wasn't meant to be there, it wouldn't be.

I had my first 2 sons, very young, and didn't bother to question it, but believe me, now I wish I had questioned it. All it is to me, is LEGALIZED CHILD ABUSE. Would we allow a part of our daughters genitals to be removed????

Specializes in LDRP; Education.

Nearly 90% of our babies get circumsized. Personally, I feel it's a personal choice and there are pros and cons to it. Yes, it is more hygienic, less prone to infection, does not interfere with sexual functioning, etc. Also, all of our OB's use 1% lidocaine for the circ, and we also swaddle the baby's arms and soothe with glucose syrup on a pacifer - these seem to soothe them quite dramatically. In addition, we also give tylenol elixor q 4 hrs post circ to help with pain.

My personal belief is that the baby should be "just like his daddy" - if the dad is not circumsized, then it may be more wise to keep the baby that way and vice versa.

I did not have my son circumsized. Neither my father nor my 3 brothers were either and no one had any problems. My husband, however was circ. at 12 years old. I see no need for my son to look like his dad. If I had to have a mastectomy at an early age should I think my daughter should have one to look like me??

My father always said, teach your child to keep himself clean and he will have no problems with infections. Besides there is growing evidence that men are more sexually sensitive if they have not been circumsized. Any comments from the guys out there?

I agree with a lot of what's already been said here. When my son was born almost 4 years ago, I didn't know much about the procedure, just that the foreskin was removed. My doctor told me he didn't even use any kind of anesthesia because it didn't hurt the baby at all. So, I agreed to it. In hindsite, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but at the time, I had no reason to doubt him.

The following day, they came to take my son down the hall to have it done. After they walked out the door with him, I begged my husband to go and stop them. He thought I was just being overly sensitive, not wanting to let my new baby out of site, so he didn't go and stop them. I've got to admit, I still harbor a bit of resentment that he didn't take me seriously. Had I been able to get out of that bed myself, that circumcision NEVER would have happend. And when I think that the doctor didn't EVEN use an anesthetic, it just breaks my heart.

I think anyone who wants their son to be circumcised should at least witness one performed in person.

Let me begin by stating that I believe this practice is mutilation of a defenceless individual. What benefit is gained by the child? A few seconds time in not having to wash a specific body area? Where is the evidence of any health gain? As to looking like his father, in what situation would anyone but his parents be likely to be able to compare them? This violation of the human rights of a minor should be treated as the crime it is.

Okay, I gotta jump in here for the opposite side. My husband and I are reading thru the responses so far... yes, he was mutilated as an infant and, folks, if he was any more sensitive, he'd be riding my leg all day. (Its okay for me to say that, he's laughing)

Heck, yeah! it hurts. No, I don't think the lidocaine injections help, they just leave bruises on the little guys nuts on top of the poor sore member. The topical is great. Is circumcision necessary? Living in an area with a huge geriatric population, I've taken care of at least a dozen older men with raging foreskin infections. The last one I remember quite clearly as having that unique pseudomonas odor and talk of amputation. At that point, he was regretting not having had one. Up to that point I think he had fun.

Is my son circed? Yes. Would I do it again if I could go back and think it over? Yes. Will I someday feel guilty? Nope. Do I have a hissy if the parents I work with don't want one their sons? Uh-uh. Its a personal choice based on not only societal values but also religious beliefs.

Finally, "mutilation" is a pretty strong word to describe removing a piece of skin. Mutilation is what a burn leaves behind, what a knife can do, what a gunshot causes. I just reviewed the results of my husband's "mutilation." Have to go to bed now...;)

I can not remember when I got mutilated My mother said I was 5 days old.As it seems I dont miss what I had. I have all the sensitivity I need and then some just asked my wife.So from a man's perspective it is the parents right to choose. I do not regret my parents decision.

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