Circumcision in boys

I recently received this question from a reader through Twitter. I thought this would be a great subject that will hopefully inspire you to share your opinion, readers: 

Dear Dr. Meg: What’s your opinion on circumcision?

As a pediatrician. I advocate circumcision for infant boys. Here’s why. Some studies show that circumcision reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, perhaps meningitis and it lowers the risk of penile cancer. There are other reasons that circumcision can help boys and this is more of a social issue. Most boys in the US are circumcised and as they move into junior high and high school, they shower together. Some boys feel strongly about wanting to fit in and therefore like being circumcised.

I advocate circumcision but don’t push parents. I have personally seen a number of boys over my 25 years, who have had complications from not being circumcised and they have had to get circumcised later in childhood. This is tough for them to go through. Certainly, many boys who aren’t circumcised grow up completely fine. I often leave the decision about circumcision of sons to the father. Many fathers have strong opinions and I feel that it is important to honor those decisions.

What’s your opinion, readers?

  • ACL

    What are your thoughts on leaving things alone for older boys or having “mixed” families where one sibling is/isn’t or the father is not circumcised?

  • Mah

    Under the advise of my sister, who is a pediatrician, we didn’t get our son circumcised when he was born. She said it would be better if he’s circumcised when he’s older.

    Plus, I also want him to go through what I experienced when I was younger and had to get my circumcision. ;-)

    • Roland Day

      Mah says, “I had to get a circumcision.” This is entirely erroneous. Circumcision is an ELECTIVE operation, which means that circumcision is completely voluntary. NO one HAS to get a circumcision.

      Almost all conditions for which circumcision was previously recommended may be treated conservatively and non-surgicallly.

  • http://Www.Jimjacobson.org Jim Jacobson

    Dr. Meg, what do you think about the pain aspect of the procedure with infants. Many moms recoil at the thought of their newborn subjected to pain. They even call it torture. I am personally of the opinion that pain can be helpful at times. Thoughts?

  • Brad

    Circumcision is genital mutilation. Period. I am a male, circumcised at birth, and hate the fact that part of my penis was chopped off for no reason.

    Meg, please answer these questions:

    Women get UTI’s more often than intact men. Does that make it ok to cut them?

    If cut women were more numerous,and made fun of intact women, would that make female genital cutting ok?

    Can you name one other instance in which it is deemed acceptable to perform surgery on a perfectly healthy part of a perfectly healthy person without their consent? In fact, that’s not a question, it’s a challenge. If you can’t, why should we make an exception for the genitals of baby boys of all things.

    The Royal Dutch Medical Organization recognizes, correctly, that circumcision violates the rights of boys, just as FGM violates the rights of girls. For male circumcision IS MGM.

    • Christina Ruth

      Brad – Thank you for your male point of view. We did not circumcise our son and I’ve felt the social pressures being in the bible belt for not doing so. However, I could not bear to do something painful to my infant son that was not medically necessary. He has learned proper hygiene so that’s not an issue and I’m glad his dad is supportive. He likes his son being whole.

      • Brad

        If his dad is cut, then kudos to him for having the guts to come to grips with the unpleasant truth.

        But more importantly thanks for not cutting your son. Every mother like you helps, because unfortunately we can’t count on the dads to make the right decision.

  • Brad

    Penile Cancer if more rare than breast cancer. If penile cancer justified chopping off part of the penis before there was any cancer and without consent, then we must also remove breast tissue from girls without their consent. That would actually prevent far more cases of cancer than circumcision.

    Meg, what would be wrong with subjecting women to forced breast tissue removal? It would be done on the same principle as male circumcision.

  • Brad

    Fathers have strong opinions because fathers that are cut don’t want to acknowledge that circumcision is wrong and has negative effects, and thus doing it to their own sons in effect is a kind of proof that it’s ok.

    They want their sons to look like them. Isn’t that a selfish reason? It’s completely centered on themself, not their son. They are insecure, because they lack a whole penis. Instead of admitting that fact, they pretend it’s normal and right by continuing the practice. Not doing it to their sons would demand they acknowledge the harm that was done to themselves. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure this out.

  • Rebecca

    I know a couple of men who were circumcised in their teens/early 20s for health or social reasons. They all said it wasn’t pleasant (big surprise!) and they would rather it had been done when they wouldn’t remember. So it just seems like good preventive medicine.

    • Susan

      Oh no….are we still in the dark ages??? I had my first son circumcised because I was an uninformed 22 year old. When I was pregnant with my next child, I researched everything. (This was in the 1970′s) Based on what I learned, I chose to leave my next son intact. He has thanked me several times for my decision.

      Are we all aware that the majority of adult men who are circumcised are Jews, Muslims and Americans? Circumcisions are a cultural choice….NOT a medical necessity. Educate yourselves people.

      • Brad

        Susan, it’s also a WRONG cultural choice.

        Just to be clear, religion does not justify genital mutilation of women, OR men.

    • Brad

      Rebecca,

      Those men had a choice. I had no choice. Part of my penis, a very sensitive part no less, was chopped of without need or my consent.

      How would you feel if someone chopped off part of your genitalia?

      The men who had it done later in life had it done because something was wrong. Even though it probably wasn’t really necessary, providing relief to that problem, when most men never have ANY problem, means you’re looking a special group of men, not remotely indicative of most intact men. You’re looking at only those who had problems.

      If you asked intact men who don’t have any problems, which is the VAST majority, like pretty much all of Europe how they feel about having their foreskin removed, you’d get a different response.

      The male ego is fragile, and i suspect even those who had it done as adults are prone to delusion, just as those who had it done at birth are when they proclaim how wonderful it is to be missing part of their normal penis.

  • http://thefrontporchswing.blogspot.com Sarah

    Dr Meeker,

    I’d like to invite you to read a post on my blog about my experience protesting circumcision at an ACOG convention. Included in that post is the text of the flier I was handing out called “Ten Great Reasons for Obstetricians to Quit Circumcising Babies” I hope you enjoy the post and that it gives you plenty to think about.

    http://thefrontporchswing.blogspot.com/2010/03/todays-genital-integrity-post-is-going.html

    Before giving too much credit to the strong opinion of men who were forcefully circumcised as infants, I suggest that you look deeply at the emotional issues at play (I suggest “Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma” by Ronald Goldman Ph.D.) he has a name for it, “the adamant father syndrome” and by taking advantage of it, you opportunistically back mothers against a wall and disempower them when they need your support in a critical time of finding their footing in their new role as mother. You also should have the emotional honesty to own the fact that the status quo of the locker room is a social construct that YOU, not adolescent bullies, are responsible for creating.

  • Jackie

    Men would not need to get it done at a later age if doctors who don’t know how to care for a intact penis weren’t telling parents to forcefully retract the foreskin. The foreskin is fused to the glans, and when it is forcefully retracted that causes problems. It will retract on its own anywhere for the ages of 2 up until puberty.

    Do you think every baby boy was born with a birth defect? No. The foreskin is there for a reason. It has functions in infancy all the way up to adult hood.

    Nobody should be making permanent decisions about a penis unless that penis belongs to them. His body/His Penis.

    Also the circumcision rate is now 33% so the ones who will feel different are the circumcised boys. A intact penis is a normal penis. We should not be giving our sons cosmetic surgery so they “fit in” anyways.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQiVdAq-U4s Tora Spigner RN MSN

      I am not surprised that an American woman physician advocates circumcision for it’s spurious claims. They are not taught normal penile anatomy in medical school and are taught how to do circumcisions but not care of the normal, intact penis. It is sad that so many boys are cut because of the ignorance of their physicians. A true commitment to “First Do No Harm” would mean encouraging your patients in keeping their sons intact and teaching them about care of the normal male genitalia. 85% of the men in the world have foreskins, I am sure that American boys can learn to wash themselves and practice safer sex by using condoms. I will spend my life educating and informing parents about why they should not subject their sons to genital modification. His Body, His Choice.

      • Mike

        Thank you so much. Your statement His Body, His Choice is right on the money. I am a male that has hated being circumcised ever since I was almost 11 years old and found out what happened to me. Parents need to know that if their son resents his circumcision, he is stuck, because there is no undo button.

        I resented my circumcision so much that I spent 4 years and 2 months stretching out what I like to refer to as a “fauxskin”. It looks like the real thing, it increased my sexual sensitivity and it restored the gliding action that the whole penis comes with. I call it a “fauxskin” because it cannot ever restore the extra sexually sensitive nerves that were stolen from me at my birth.

        Mike

  • Lacy

    What do you say in response to these medical organizations statements against infant male circumcision?

    2004 College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, Infant Male Circumcision: “Current understanding of the benefits, risks and potential harm of this procedure no longer supports this practice for prophylactic health benefit. Routine infant male circumcision performed on a healthy infant is now considered a non-therapeutic and medically unnecessary intervention.”

    2003 British Medical Association, The Law and Ethics of Male Circumcision: Guidance for Doctors: “The medical benefits previously claimed have not been convincingly proven… The British Medical Association considers that the evidence concerning health benefits from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it.”

    2002 Royal Australian College of Physicians, Policy Statement on Circumcision:
    “There is no medical indication for routine male circumcision.”

    2002 American Academy of Family Physicians, Position Paper on Neonatal Circumcision: “Evidence from the literature is often conflicting or inconclusive… A physician performing a procedure for other than medical reasons on a nonconsenting patient raises ethical concerns.”

    2000 American Medical Association (AMA), Report 10 of the Council on Scientific Affairs: “Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine infant circumcision…The AMA supports the general principles of the 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

    1999 American Academy of Pediatrics, Circumcision Policy Statement: “Existing scientific evidence … [is] not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”

    1996 Canadian Paediatric Society, Neonatal Circumcision Revisited: “Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

    1996 Australian Medical Association, Circumcision Deterred: “The Australian College of Paediatrics should continue to discourage the practice of circumcision in newborns.”

    1996 British Medical Association, Circumcision of Male Infants: Guidance for Doctors: “To circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate.”

    1996 Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, Guidelines for Circumcision: “The Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons does not support the routine circumcision of male neonates, infants, or children in Australia. It is considered to be inappropriate and unnecessary as a routine to remove the prepuce [foreskin], based on the current evidence available… We do not support the removal of a normal part of the body, unless there are definite indications to justify the complications and risks which may arise. In particular, we are opposed to male children being subjected to a procedure, which had they been old enough to consider the advantages and disadvantages, may well have opted to reject the operation and retain their prepuce.”

  • Erika

    Don’t we tell our children they are wonderful and beautiful just the way they are? Would you give your daughter cosmetic surgery so she’ll fit in?! We teach our children to love their bodies just the way they are, why is the penis any different? What are we telling our boys when we cut up their private parts for cosmetic reasons? Circumcision is dangerous and kills babies. The benefits are miniscule, if that. Why risk killing or maiming your child (more so than “normal” circumcision already does)?

  • Mel

    I am appalled that anyone would advocate for circumcision of healthy genitalia. Circumcision is illegal in the U.S. according to the FGM and 14th amendments even in the cases where religious folks think it is a must. Also, my husband was damaged forma normal circ and has recurrent prostate infections bc he has no foreskin to cover his urethral opening. My intact daughters and son have zero problems. Hubby’s urologist confirmed that r.i.c. causes pain and numbness in adult males as young as hubby as well as older, he is 32. Perhaps this doctor advocates for circ bc it yields profits twice, once for the circ and once for the sale of the foreskin?

  • Devon

    It only takes about 5 minutes on a computer to figure out that circumcision is based on Victorian-era anti-sexuality and continues because of biased medical studies. Were it not fraud, the alleged “benefits” of R.I.C. would be apparent in comparisons with other “modern” nations which are not “cutting cultures”. This is not the case. The U.S. has higher rates of HIV and STDs.

    It is painful to acknowledge the deception, but as a father, it was much more important to me to afford my son the same most basic human right he would have received had he instead been born female: his whole body and protection from non-therapeutic forced genital cutting– masquerading as preventive medicine.

    I do not deny the obvious, that doctors’ recommendations are heavily influenced by their own personal lives:

    “To cut or not to cut? Personal factors influence primary care physicians’ position on elective newborn circumcision.”

    “Although most respondents stated that they based their decisions on medical evidence, the circumcision status of, especially, the male respondents played a huge role in whether they were in support of circumcisions or not. Another factor that had an influence was the circumcision status of the respondents’ sons.” http://www.jmhjournal.org/article/S1875-6867%2810%2900050-3/abstract

  • Harmed

    I’m glad to see a doctor supporting genital cutting for questionable medical reasons, my family also believes that it can be healthier for children’s genitals to be ct for looks, and the pleasure of others, that is why we had my daughter circumcised at birth. (it was hard to find a doctor that would do it!) It’s so much cleaner and she’ll never get cancer of her girl parts. Thank you for your support of our family decision.

  • Jennifer

    I am a mother of 3 boys. I chose not to circumcise my second child because of the complications we have experienced (and still continue to experience, six years later) from my oldest son’s circumcision. It was a big mistake, and he has suffered far more yeast infections than my two non-circ’ed boys who have had zero. The risk of infection drops drastically when the barbaric practice of premature retraction is avoided. Leave the penis alone, cleanse it just as you would an intact vagina on a girl: wash it externally and leave it alone. There is zero justification for this inhumane practice. As parents, all of us who have subjected our boys to mutilation, making them feel as though their perfect, natural, WHOLE body was less than ideal. Circumcision treats the foreskin as if it’s a birth defect; it most certainly is not.

  • jen ward

    I think that circumcision is a wholly cosmetic procedure. The routine circumcision of infants is not recommended by any major health organization in the world. Further, the origins of the practice (as a method for Egyptians to mark Jewish slaves and later in the American Victorian era to discourage masturbation) are purely disturbing. I will not be altering my child’s anatomy so he can “fit in” or have matching genitals with his father. Besides, the CDC reports that as of 2009the only 32% of boys are being cut (in the U.S.).

  • Vanessa

    “Most boys in the US are circumcised and as they move into junior high and high school, they shower together. Some boys feel strongly about wanting to fit in and therefore like being circumcised.”

    This may have been true for our generation, when circumcision was routine, but I’m sure if you fact checked you would find that it’s close to 50/50 now. So no, ‘most’ boys are not circumcised now a days.

    As for the fitting in, if another boy is making fun of my son for being intact, I’m sure my boy (& the others) will wonder why he is looking at their penis’. Who won’t fit in then?

    Honestly, i don’t understand what the debate about circumcision is, we don’t cut off any other healthy body parts, even ones that may one day cause medical issues, why do we cut off foreskin?
    Where does it end?

    “Some studies show that circumcision reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, perhaps meningitis and it lowers the risk of penile cancer. ”

    Studies show that having an appendectomy will lower the risk of appendicitis, let’s start doing that at birth too!
    And tonsils, what about that? They get infected, probably better to cut those out. I bet it will be easier at birth, going by your logic!

    Cutting of viable, healthy body parts to prevent medical issues that ‘may’ arise sounds silly when you look at it that way. Why would foreskin be different?

    Did you know that 100% of botched circumcisions are preventable by not circumcising!!?

    “I often leave the decision about circumcision of sons to the father. Many fathers have strong opinions and I feel that it is important to honor those decisions.”

    Funny, i feel that we should leave important choices about someone’s body up to the person that owns the body, not someone else. Their body, THEIR choice.

    Little boys are born PERFECT, leave them that way!

  • Valkyrie

    For a doctor, “Dr. Meg,” you don’t seem very well informed. And the whole locker room scenario is utterly ridiculous. Really? You think teenage boys stand around staring at everyone’s penis, wishing theirs looked like everyone else’s? What nonsense. As far as fathers having strong opinions about what should happen to a penis that is not even theirs to live with…really? Huh. You know, women in Africa who had their genitals cut also have very strong opinions that cutting their daughters is the right thing to do. I hardly think we should give credence to anyone’s preferences or “feelings” about circumcision other than the person actually living with the body part. This is just common sense, “Doctor.”

  • http://www.wildmotherarts.com Jacquie

    “I often leave the decision about circumcision of sons to the father. Many fathers have strong opinions and I feel that it is important to honor those decisions.”

    Seriously? I’m a mother and I have strong opinions, too. I wouldn’t see any doctor who decided that my husband’s opinions were superior to my own. Which century is it? You had me forgetting there for a moment.

    I live in BC, in Canada where circumcision (a fancy name for genital mutilation) is no longer the norm and anyone who has it done to them is now in the minority. It is not a social issue. It shouldn’t be a religious issue. It is, at its base, a sexual assault on an infant child who has no say in the matter. I know in my heart, that in the future (and for the enlightened – now), people will look back on this barbaric practice and recognize it for what it is.

  • Shanna Thurber

    Penile cancer is more rare than male breast cancer, and more baby boys die from circumcision surgery than men die from penile cancer. What a horrible reason to remove healthy skin essential to the proper function of the penis.

  • Dr. Christopher Guest

    Dr. Meg,
    The non-therapeutic amputation of healthy genital tissue from powerless infants is medically unethical, it is unscientific and irrational, it is a violation of human rights and, as physicians, we have a moral obligation to oppose this cruel practice and properly educate the public. The prepuce is richly innervated erogenous tissue and it provides the primary gliding mechanism of the penis. There are approximately 20,000 highly sensitive corpuscular neuroreceptors located along the inner prepuce, more than any other part of the penis. Circumcision is steeped in pseudoscientific claims, superstition, ignorance and cultural transference. Bronze age religious blood rituals should never trump rational scientific judgment, contemporary medical ethics and the universal right to bodily integrity. Shame on you for using your position of public trust to endorse this barbaric practice to credulous parents. Circumcision is a disgrace to our profession and so are you.

    Dr. Christopher L. Guest M.D.,F.R.C.P.C.
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada

    • Mary Lanser

      I did some checking into “meningitis”….. and how on earth do you connect this illness to natural male foreskin? The incidence of meningitis occurs in about 10 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. and babies are not mentioned. It is disturbing that you have tried to suggest that meningitis might be prevented by cutting baby boys, with statistics like that. Do you really tell your patients this, really???????

  • Mary Lanser

    Finally…..a doctor who is well informed! Dr. Guest…..what an excellent response to this other Dr., who seems to be out of touch with the times. Genital cutting, IS genital cutting…be it females or males. I just wonder when people will be able to grasp this very simple concept and leave baby boys alone.

  • Mary Lanser

    Besides any doctor that touts infant male circumcision as a “preventative” measure, should check their credentials at the door!!!!

  • Mary Lanser

    Wisdom?????? Mother????????? what kind of doctor or mother advocates for unnecessary procedures to be performed on newborns???? I just wonder.

    • Brad

      No shit!

      Most MOTHERS intuitively protect their children, not take a knife to their perfectly healthy genitalia. Even those that allow it to happen, often experience anxiety at the event. It’s mothers intuitively know not to let it happen, but succumb to cultural pressure.

  • Mary Lanser

    Even before I knew all there is to know about circumcision…..I felt strongly that it wasn’t right. Mothers need to trust that inner feeling, but sadly childbirth can be a vulnerable time for mothers and often they are pressured into it by “well meaning” others. But if a doctor is advocating for circumcision, that is even worse!

  • jamie

    I am proud to report that my 2 intact boy ages 9 and 6 have had no problems. It brings my heart so much joy to see so many informed and respectful comments. I hope the op changes her mind. How insane it is to cut little babies? I never felt very strongly either way at birth, we just figured if it needed to come off later, then fine, you cannot undo it though.

  • Joanne

    If God wanted boys to have foreskin, they’d be born with it…..!!!!!!

  • Joanna

    Dear Dr. Meeker,
    I am a nurse so I am very aware of the arguments both for and against infant circumcision (although I ultimately opted not to circumcise my son). I am very curious about your mention of circumcision preventing meningitis. I have never heard this. How are the two connected and are there studies you can share?
    Thanks!

  • Joanne

    Also: to those dads that want their boys to be cut so they look like them- if you were missing one finger or even your hand (for whatever reason!!) would you chop off your son’s finger/hand too???? Seriously people, OPEN YOUR EYES AND GET INFORMED!!!!

  • Ashley Payne

    My opinion is you need to go back to school. You also need to update yourself on CURRENT statistics. MOST parents EDUCATED themselves and realized how barbaric and old fashioned this MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY procedure is. THerefore, from 2006 forward, LESS than 40% of boys are being mutilated. With regards to the “infection prevention” and other crap for facts you are promoting baselessly: there are more studies that refute that data as there are backing it.

    All the same arguments were used for female circumcision not so long ago (read: FGM Bill of 1997). So, for the same reasons you claim, are YOU circumcised. You would DEFINITELY not be allowed ANYWHERE near my kids. You are the most dangerous kind of fool: one who blindly follows, never questions, and apparently doesn’t care to FULLY educate before speaking. Scary.

  • Maryanne Sewell

    You are disgusting and heartless: How are these SCREAMS “intuitive mother?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAGNnqyNidY

    “Only a small percentage of…babies today receive anesthesia”

    It’s EXCRUCIATING and you are straight up UNEDUCATED!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tommy G

    Dr Meg – I am strongly opposed to circumcision and find the wealth of misinformation in the medical community to be radically unsound. As a male circumcised at birth, I am angry and feel that I have been cheated of a vital part of my sexual anatomy. Given that millions of men worldwide are left intact, it seems the American medical community would do better to investigate methods of caring for the intact male instead of cutting off a part of the body because it is inconvenient. Rates of penile cancer in uncircumcised male are negligibly small (in the fractions), and nowhere in any medical research have I ever heard that circumcision can prevent meningitis. Urinary tract infections are common in both men and women – uncircumcised males in America may be more prone to them because American parents and doctors do not know how to care for the intact penis.

    I strongly suggest you think about the rights of the man whose sexual organ is being affected by removing his choice at birth.

    The issue is a matter of PERSONAL choice – not the choice of the parent or doctor but of the individual whose rights are being taken against his will.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpdzh_VBxbM SwordOfJustice

    Circumcisers and their victims who in this case are also the deceived parents and people in general, even our judges and politicians, are obviously not aware that circumcision is OUTLAWED.

    Everybody needs to know that they are breaking the most basic laws of every Democracy, the US Constitution and the International Laws of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rights of the Child which clearly state that inflicting preventable injuries on others is a Human Rights violation and a severely punishable crime.

    THE GREATEST CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY IS THE
    TORTURE & MUTILATION OF CHILDREN

    The First International Symposium on Circumcision in Anaheim, CA on March 1-3, 1989 and again at the Fourth International Symposium on Sexual Mutilations held at the University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland on August 9-11,1996, affirms that the genital mutilation of children is torture and is in violation of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Article 37 of the U.N. CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD: (a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    U.S. Federal Law makes female genital mutilation a crime and baby boys/children are protected by “the equal protection of the laws” of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Any intelligent and compassionate person will have to agree that freedom of religion does not mean that you can harm others. Circumcisers purposely misinterpret the First Amendment of the US Constitution as they want to force their religion onto others by deceiving and coercing religious people with lies about God and medicine so they can mark their child victims in the flesh. They torture and mutilate for profit and to make obedient and dumbfounded little slaves out of people and with it they also break the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the basic laws of every Democracy. They take away their victims’ right for intact genitals, their body integrity and the choice not to look like belonging to certain religions.

    Awakened people from all over the world are uniting to bring all perpetrators to justice if they don’t stop preaching and committing this crime immediately. All their further actions are being recorded and their data is being kept as evidence for the day when they are getting sued, arrested and trialed by the people. Nobody will be exempt from punishment if they further preach, promote, enable and commit this crime on defenseless and non-consenting children.

    We demand from our governments to obey and enforce our Superior Laws.

  • Stan

    The standard of care for pediatric surgery requires the medical benefits of the surgery to far outweigh the medical risks and harms or for the surgery to correct a congenital abnormality. Non-therapeutic male circumcision does not even come close to meeting that standard of care. It is a clear violation of the principles of medical ethics that govern all other pediatric surgery.

    Furthermore there are effective, non-invasive ways to prevent and treat the medical problems that male circumcision is supposed to prevent. Medical ethics requires doctors to use effective, non-invasive methods of prevention and treatment first, before they use surgery.

    Shame on you doctor for performing medically unnecessary surgery on babies!

  • =)Valerie

    My husband had strong feeling for circumcision and his son looking like him, until he educated himself! Education makes all the difference. I too, saw my nephew go through older child circ, however, this was due to incorrect information being given by the pediatrician. My sister was informed to pull back the foreskin and clean it! My son is 5 nd has never had a penile issue. Again, it all goes back to education! Just because there is a diploma on the wall doesn’t make the Dr. right.

  • Jeff Brown

    Every American doctor should be required to watch this video.

    Anatomy of the Penis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD2yW7AaZFw

    Ken McGrath, Senior Lecturer in Pathology at the Faculty of Health, Auckland University of Technology and Member of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Scientists discusses his research into the neural anatomy of the human penis and the physical damages caused by circumcision.

  • http://www.reallywhatwerewethinking.com Dana K

    My opinion is that circumcision is a cosmetic surgery, except in very rare cases. thankfully, after reading actual medical studies & information regarding the correct care of the intact penis, my husband agreed. Our pediatrician also agreed.

    He has had absolutely no issues with his foreskin but most of my friends who circumcised their sons have been heart broken when they had to watch their sons suffer through the pain of having adhesions ripped long after the circumcision.

    My husband assured me that he has no idea what his dad’s penis looks like & that most guys don’t go around comparing penises in the locker room…especially in middle & high school.

  • Danielle Netherton

    “I believe the time has come to acknowledge that the practice of routine circumcision rests on the absurd premise that the only mammal in creation born in the condition that requires immediate surgical correction is the human male.” ~Thomas Szasz, M.D.

  • Andy

    Circumcision is a violation of human rights. The only possible justification would be medical necessity after EVERY effort has been made to avoid a circumcision, and failed.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQiVdAq-U4s Tora Spigner RN MSN
  • roger desmoulins

    Everything I feel when I pay my marital respects to my spouse, I feel thanks to tender moving bits I would not have had I been circumcised at birth, like nearly all white middle class boys born in urban maternity wards in 1949. My spouse climaxes every time I pay her my respects, and often three times. I have had zero medical issues with the tip of my penis, lifelong.

    While growing up, I was deeply embarrassed by my nonconforming penis. I was not bullied or mocked while growing up, but I am not sure if anybody noticed. I did not read that being intact was perfectly healthy until my 30s, and did not discover the sexual advantages of being intact until my 40s.

    My having a Weird Dick made me very careful about beginning intimacy with women. I remained a virgin throughout high school and college. Hence I walked along the open sewer that was American sexuality during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, but never fell in. I am deeply grateful for that. I now believe that my wife and I are extremely lucky to be able to enjoy vaginal intercourse to the fullest, despite our ages, thanks to my having all the factory installed moving parts.

    The articles in the American medical literature claiming that circumcised is healthier are junk science. The relevant comparison is with Japan and continental Europe, nations whose standard of living and sexual sophistication is comparable to that of the USA. There is no evidence from those countries that the male foreskin is unhealthy. Much of the claim that circumcision reduces STDs is based on data from eastern and southern Africa, regions where the way of life and standard of living are profoundly different from the USA and Canada.

    Finally, I fully agree with the quote by Thomas Szasz M.D.

  • admin

    Thanks sincerely to everyone for their comments on what is clearly a hot button topic!

    I respect and honor each and every opinion offered here. I ask readers to consider the myriad of pros and cons and to seek the counsel of your trusted physician so you can feel confident and informed about the decision of whether or not to circumcise.

    Warmly,
    Meg

    • Brad

      Perhaps we ought to consider the pros and cons of cutting up a girl’s genitals. Why not? Are girls “just different?”

    • http://progressive-parenting Gena Kirby

      If people, especially doctors knew HOW the penis functions there would be no debate. Anatomy lesson: alter the form, alter function. As an MD, surely you know what meissners corpuscles are? WHY would you cut off a USEFUL part of an infants body?!
      Educate yourself.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgoTRMKrJo4

    • http://MegMeekerMD Jack

      Dr Meeker, I grew up uncircumcised and in my late teens started having probablems with a tight foreskin and recuring infections. I, for one would have benefited by being circed early. I had to be circed at twenty years old. NONE of the creams and other cures worked for me. After the circ. healed, I felt so much better. No doubt that you have saved a great many boys from what I have endured. Not that all boys should be circed but many should be. I belive that you understand boys and the problems they have by not being circed. Thank you for caring.

  • Lawrence

    Meg, in all these comments, there is 1(one) underlying personality. He is very likely an old queen who loves foreskins. There are probably anything between 1 and max 5 of these champions of the foreskin,(often posing as women!) WORLDWIDE, who troll the internet daily in a religious manner for anything and everything to do with circumcision for males and then vehemently flame it!
    I know a lot of circumcised guys, not one is unhappy with his circumcision.
    I was circumcised as an adult and it is truly amazing for sex as compared to being “intact”. Much much nicer! I had many many bouts of inflamation of the glans and foreskin as a child with a “normal” foreskin. I wish so much that my parents had believed in circumcision and had me snipped as a baby rather. It wasn’t sore, just a little uncomfortable for 3 days. (Vasectomy by comparison was sore!)
    I am all for all boys to be circumcised, routinely.

    • dave

      You accuse anti circ commenter’s as one or as many as five, (posing as women) in the world and post as if there is large population of them. How do we know you aren’t being deceitful clamming to be a man circumcised at adult hood and preferring it? maybe you are a mom who circed her boy and hate the idea that it was a bad idea. I didn’t occur to me that people would use deceit to make a point but now that you presented the concept I wonder about your projecting what you are doing upon others.

    • http://www.circumstitons.com Hugh7

      I sometimes suspect that many of the men who chose to be circumcised as adults are all handpuppets of the same circum-fetishist. Certainly the opinion of a person who chose to have their own genitals reduced is the last I would listen to in considering whether to do it to a baby – though Lawrence gives the lie to the claim that it’s more painful for an adult.

      It really doesn’t matter how many men don’t mind that their genitals were reduced (they could always have it done whenever they want – but very few do), compared to the opinions of those who object to having had it done before they could resist. These 140+ men, for example: http://www.circumstitions.com/Resent.html

  • MamaBear

    Lawerence, I am against routine infant circumcision. Because then it takes away the choice of the man. You were lucky. You got to choose. You were properly medicated and even said that you were only “uncomfortable” for 3 days. Everyone goes through pain differently, so maybe some baby boys are only “uncomfortable” for a few days after their circumcision, but others may go through a tremendous amount of pain, yet they can’t speak up and let their caregiver know they would like some pain relief. I am 100% for personal choice. I know plenty of guys who are intact and happy with it, and they are glad their parents didn’t make the choice to have them circumcised. Let’s leave it up to the man who will be affected.

  • http://ali-oop@zeronet.com Ali-oop

    Some day crime advocating hypocrites like this woman will be recognized for what there are. These are the same kind of lies that people like her told back in the 1890′s. Every one of those lies has already been exposed as lies. She is pimping wrong information to promote her perversion.
    Ali-oop

  • http://MegMeekerMD Sandra

    When all three of my sons were born,I had the same OB for all three boys and she was of the same opinion as Dr. Meeker. She did the procedure for my boys and everything went perfectly. None have had any complications at all, I would do the same if I had to do it again. I do not think it should be mandatory, but there is certainly nothing wrong with a boy having it either.

    • Robert Samson

      Nothing wrong with circumcision?

      How about the loss of up 3/4 of penile sensitivity and sensation?

      BRITISH JOURNAL OF UROLOGY, Volume 77, Pages 291-295,February 1996.
      The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision
      by J.R. Taylor, A.P. Lockwood and A.J. Taylor

      Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis Morris L. Sorrells, James L. Snyder, Mark D. Reiss 2 0 07 BJU INTERNATIONAL 2007

      Lord, the extent of ignorance by people who should know better is so sad.

  • karen

    Did you read any of the above comments? Circumcision damages 100% of the victims it is performed on. It amputates erogenous and protective tissue. How would you feel if you were held down and part of your vulva was removed? And your mother said “everything went perfectly and I would do the same again”.

  • John Sachs

    In other words, “Most kids are abused as infants and we don’t want them to feel bad, so we should take a knife to all boy’s genitals, particularly if the father wants it done”.

  • http://www.circumstitons.com Hugh7

    It’s striking that Dr Meg has NOTHING to say about the structure and functions of the part she’s so happy to cut off. I suspect she knows nothing about them.

    To talk about “complications of not being circumcised” is ridiculous. Does she speak of athlete’s foot as “a complication of not having had the toes amputated”?

  • http://www.circumstitons.com Hugh7

    Meningitis? Here is a case studies of four babies with meningitis, one fatal, CAUSED by circumcision: Scurlock JM, Pemberton PJ. Neonatal meningitis and circumcision. Med J Aust 1977;1(10):332-4.

    http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/scurlock1/

    This is one reason the circumcision rate has fallen below 12% across Australia, well below 5% in some states.

  • http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/ Roland Day

    One wonders why Dr. Meeker focuses on the complications from lack of circumcision, while ignoring the huge number of complications of every sort from circumcision. Some are very serious and can result in the ablation of the penis and a sexual reassignment and others can result in death. What advantage does circumcision provide that is worth such risks?

    It appears that Dr. Meeker formed her opinion many years ago and is totally out of date.

    Dr. Meeker would leave the decision about circumcision to the father. Does she NOT realize that circumcised fathers frequently have emotional issues about their own involuntary loss of penile erogenous tissue that render them incapable of making a rational decision about circumcision.

    Clearly Dr. Meeker needs to refresh her knowledge about circumcision.

  • Robert Samson

    I might take this ill-informed “doctor” seriously if she was able to provide a single scientifically PROVEN benefit claimed for circumcision was EVER found in the real world!

    Over 100 years and countless dollars and man-hours spent on looking for one–and NONE have ever been found.

    Here is the state of medical studies–most are worthless..

    Why Most Published Research Findings Are False John P. A. Ioannidis

    An Epidemic of False Claims–Competition and conflicts of interest distort too many medical findings By John P. A. Ioannidis

    Amd I would LOVE to see a study with this claim for meningitis–have never seen it or can even think of a mechanism for it–it sounds like sheer quackery to me!

  • Wow

    And you call yourself a doctor, must have got your medical degree in some backward country still stuck in the dark ages.

    Did you forget about things like “Primum non nocere” (First, do no harm) or the Hippocratic Oath in general?

  • http://MegMeekerMD Amy

    Almost all of my friends had this done for their sons. Frankly, I have seen very few who wasnt done. I support Dr. Meeker and her views.

    • Robert Samson

      So, the herd mentality justifies this HOW? Do you know that the rate in the US has dropped to ~53% (32% if you believe the CDC)…so even your herd excuse doesn’t hack it.

      If you support Meeker, perhaps you can provide valid evidence to justify forcing this onto helpless infants–she sure hasn’t.

    • Alissa

      Had it done “for” their sons? More like had it done “TO” their sons. It makes me sick that people would cut little babies for no reason but their own disgusting agendas.

      • Mike

        Had it done “for” their sons? More like had it done “TO” their sons.

        Thank you for saying that, because that is EXACTLY how I feel about what was done TO me!!!

  • Alissa

    I’m proud to say that no male in my family has ever been circumcised. No one has had “complications” either. My Dad and brother were in the military, as part of the “whole” minority at the time and had no problems. One of my four sons told me that if anyone made a comment to him about his penis in the shower in junior high or high school he would ask the jerk why he’s looking enviously at his privates….but turns out that none of my boys ever had a “social” problem with being intact. Now I have a grandson who is also whole. The thing is, we know that there is no reason to subject babies to the pain and risk of circumcision. The body is designed perfectly. Don’t mess with it. And after reading Dr. Meg’s ignorant article about circumcision I would find it hard to trust anything she has to say.

  • Mike

    Circumcision helps prevent meningitis??? While I never heard that one before, here are some things that circumcision was supposed to help prevent or even cure.

    Masturbation, now that was a huge reason to perform the operation and the thing that made it a medical procedure from a religious rite: “In cases of masturbation we must, I believe, break the habit by inducing such a condition of the parts as will cause too much local suffering to allow of the practice being continued.” Athol A.W. Johnson

    Hip trouble: “Hip trouble is from falling down, an accident that children with tight foreskins are especially liable to owing to the weakening of the muscles produced by the condition of the genitals.” Lewis A. Sayer

    A veritable list of things it fixes: “In all cases in which male children are suffering nerve tension, confirmed derangement of the digestive organs, restlessness, irritability, and other disturbances of the nervous system, even to chorea, convulsions, and paralysis, or where through nerve waste the nutritive facilities of the general system are below par and structural diseases are occurring circumcision should be considered as among the lines of treatment to be pursued.” Charles E. Fisher

    No doubt about it; circumcision certainly looks like it has some REAL value!

  • Mike

    “What are the key statistics about penile cancer?
    The most recent American Cancer Society estimates for penile cancer in the United States are for 2012:
    • About 1,570 new cases of penile cancer will be diagnosed
    • About 310 men will die of penile cancer
    Penile cancer is very rare in North America and Europe. Penile cancer occurs in about 1 man in 100,000 and accounts for less than 1% of cancers in men in the United States.”

    To achieve some perspective on the number of men per year that may die from penile cancer in the United States, keep in mind that we are a country of approximately 308 million people. Also remember that this disease generally afflicts men over 50 years old, not infants, and is easily detected. When more men know what to look for, the numbers of deaths will undoubtedly drop.

    Now compare male breast cancer to penile cancer, and we aren’t recommending any prophylactic surgery for that. Both of these statistics come from the American Cancer Society.

    “What are the key statistics about breast cancer in men?
    The most recent American Cancer Society estimates for male breast cancer in the United States are for 2012:
    • About 2,190 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men
    • About 410 men will die from breast cancer
    Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been fairly stable over the last 30 years.”

  • Lynn

    My son won’t “fit in” with the males in his family or, likely, many of his Midwestern peers. So he’ll be out of luck when they stand around comparing foreskins later in life- you know how guys do that, right?

    Fortunately for my healthy, perfect boy, he can say with pride that he has all the nerve endings he was born with. He has the natural lubrication system that most of the men on the planet have, and he doesn’t have a keratinized glans that his peers will. Plus, his penis will look bigger in the locker room.

    I see no disadvantage to leaving boys (and girls!) healthy and whole, just the way nature intended. It works for the rest of the world, why not for the prolific Faulty American Penis?

  • Josh

    Why would circumcision be left up to the father? If he’s circumcized, he knows nothing more about an intact penis than the mother does.

    And you should check your facts, Doctor. This isn’t the 1950s. Boys rarely shower together anywhere, at any age, and the circ rate is around 50-50. No one is going to be making fun of anyone based on foreskins since those with and those without are in good company.