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Archive for the ‘Circumcision’ Category

To date none of Nathan’s grandparents have asked about his uncircumcised penis. As in, no one has said, “Hey, what’s up with your kid’s weiner?” Or, “Hey, when did you guys become dirty hippies?” Or, “Hey, aren’t you worried that the only role models he’ll have growing up are European porn stars?”

All (in)valid concerns. But it’s worth pointing out that unsnipped American boys are becoming the norm:

Steep Drop Seen in Circumcisions in U.S.

Hospital circumcision rates are down, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report — and there doesn’t seem to be any clear reason.

The report from the center’s weekly report on morbidity and mortality showed that, depending on what numbers you used, hospital circumcision rates from 1999 to 2008 dropped from 62.5% to 56.9% (National Hospital Discharge Survey) or from 63.5% to 56.3% (Nationwide Inpatient Sample). And according to SDIHealth, from 2001 to 2010 the rates dropped from 58.4% to 54.7%.

You can read more here, here, and here.

Finally, because our previous conversations about circumcision got a wee bit contentious, I’ll leave you with a joke:

MG: Hey, did you know they use foreskins for replacing eyelids?

JG: No they don’t.

MG: Yeah, they do.

JG: Come on, really?

MG: Yeah, but afterward you tend to look a bit cock-eyed.

Internet high five for the first person who guesses who “MG” is.

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As mentioned here, Leigh Ann and I didn’t circumcise Nathan. (And neither did the hospital by mistake.) But here’s something I didn’t know: because there’s a huge market for baby foreskins, hospitals don’t throw them away. They sell them for about $1000 a piece.

Check out The Stir today for a post about who’s buying:

Cosmetics: Foreskins are used to make high-end skin creams. The skin products contain fibroblasts grown on the foreskin and harvested from it. One foreskin can be used for decades to produce fancy face cream like the SkinMedica products hawked on Oprah.

Skin grafts: In addition to making products for skin, a baby’s foreskin can be turned into a skin graft for a burn victim. Because the cells are extremely flexible, they’re less likely to be rejected. Currently, this technology can be lifesaving in providing a real skin “band aid” to cover an open wound while a burn victim heals. Researchers at Harvard and Tufts are working on advanced skin replacements that use human foreskins.

Cosmetic testing: All those cruelty-free cosmetics you buy? Some of them are tested on foreskins. This yields better results, since they’re human skin. And it saves the lives of the rodents your shampoo would otherwise be tested on.

I have no idea what to make of all this. But here’s hoping that by the time Nathan turns 18, his foreskin will pay for college.

So *that's* why she feels a little naughty.

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Who knew circumcision was such a hot topic?

When I posted last week about our decision not to circumcise our could-be son, I got immediate feedback in both the comments section and my inbox. Some of it was positive. Some of it negative. But all of it impassioned. There are no fence-sitters, it seems, regarding foreskin.

So what happens when a hospital accidentally circumcises your newborn, even though you told them not to? Cue the Miami Herald:

MIAMI — A Miami family says a hospital mistakenly circumcised their baby even though they repeatedly told staff they did not want the procedure.

Vera Delgado said she told staff at South Miami Hospital several times that she did not want her baby, Mario Viera, to be circumcised last month. But eight days after his birth and without his mother present, doctors performed the surgery even though he was in intensive care.

A statement from the hospital said the circumcision was “an unfortunate mistake caused by a misread consent form.” Hospital staff quickly told the family and have implemented new procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Delgado’s attorney says they will file a lawsuit next week.

Hello, a trillion dollars in damages.

I bring this up because it illustrates how vehemently people feel about this issue. You know where I stand. Whatever benefits circumcision brings, none of them trump the issue of consent, especially not when those same benefits can be obtained through less permanent means (like teaching your kid how to use a condom).

But I also don’t think that parents who make the opposite decision are child-abusing baby mutilators. 99.9% of them are just doing the same thing I am: trying to protect their kid from what sucks about the world.

We just don’t agree on how best to go about that.

In the meantime, as a wise man once said . . .

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Circumcised Nanner

Photo: Hannah Whitaker/New York Magazine

I have no foreskin. Either it fell off when I was too young to remember or, more likely, it was removed at birth by an evil man medical professional.

But the good news is that I hardly miss it. I enjoy the hell out of sex still. I don’t burst into tears when I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. And, unlike those amputees who get itches in their phantom limbs, I’ve never felt anything in my phantom foreskin.

So I’m gonna circumcise my son too, right?

Wrong.

I’ve read the arguments for it. It protects against HIV (so do condoms). It reduces the risk of penile cancer (so does castration). It decreases the tendency to masturbate (didn’t work for me). And it would make my son look like his daddy (note to self: stop walking around the house with my junk hanging out). But none of those resonate with me.

More to the point, I think you’ve got to be pretty skeptical of any “medical procedure” that started as a religious sacrifice. I mean, far be it from me to doubt the word of God. But I may or may not take my son to the city gates and stone him to death the first time he calls me a stupid head.

And what if little Nathan grows up and wants to be circumcised, you ask?

Then he’ll have one more reason to look forward to his 18th birthday.

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