Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chop chop!

One thing I didn't expect when we brought Tricky home was to be questioned by nearly every visitor over the age of 50, it seemed, as to whether or not we were going to get him circumcised. None of the midwives asked me. The paediatrician didn't ask either. It seems to go in and out of fashion (unless you're Jewish in which case it's always in) and people my parents' age are all for it. Did our younger visitors not ask because they don't care, they felt uncomfortable, or did they think it none of their business? Ooh let's hope they chose door number three, Susie, let's see what they've won!

It was mentioned at antenatal classes, but only to say that it is not routinely done unless there is a medical or religious reason. One thing that I know for sure though, is that it is a touchy subject with people falling very clearly in to the cut or don't cut categories – there are no fence sitters in this debate.

I hadn't even looked in to it, Hubby and I had a two second chat sometime during the pregnancy that went “You don't want to circumcise him do ya?” “Nah, don't like the idea.” End of conversation. If he wants it done when he is older then it is up to him – just like when he decides to get a piercing or tattoo or whatever the cool thing is 17 years from now. Turns out though that if we had wanted to, there may have been some hurdles... cosmetic circumcision (when there is no medical or religious reason behind the procedure) has been banned in all Australian public hospitals since 2007. And a research paper from the Queensland Law Reform Commission concluded that "On a strict interpretation of the assault provisions of the Queensland Criminal Code, routine circumcision of a male infant could be regarded as a criminal act", and that doctors who perform the procedure may in fact be able to be sued by the child at a later date. There is a legal precedent for botched circumcisions in Australia thanks to a Perth man who successfully sued the doctor who operated on him as an infant, but this interpretation of the law allows for men to sue the doctor even if the circumcision is deemed 'successful'. I had no idea about any of this – and wish I had when everyone had been asking me last week if we were going to do it or not!

My opinion (and yes I'm opening the door for abuse here) is completely opposite to that of my parents. I believe we have evolved over millions of years to have that little piece of skin there, and who am I to say that nature got it wrong and have it lopped off? There are websites galore for both sides each claiming that their stance is the correct one. They tout statistics on infections, sexually transmitted diseases, loss of sensation and more. I'm not ready to think about my little Tricky all grown up and having sex so I'm quite happy to stop at the “It's an operation and operations hurt” argument. Some people will say I'm wrong and they're more than welcome to feel that way – we'll just have to agree to disagree, hopefully while cooing over how cute each others' son is (for the record, Tricky is pretty cute so your kid is gonna have to try to be super special when I meet him).

Do you feel strongly on this subject? Were you criticised for your decision - no matter which decision it was? Leave your story in the comments section below.


  1. thank goodness nobody even questioned our decision to keep my newborn's willy exactly the way we found it. my feelings are spot on with yours and i also couldn't really give a rats... what anyone else thought! evolution is a fair argument. my argument was "if God puts it on my kid, im not taking it off... if God doesnt put it on, then perhaps there is substance in an argument for others to take it off."
    i think younger people don't bother asking because these days, we are aware that it is something clearly better off left in the stone age.
    we kept our son's 'hood' on and it has already proved to be great fun (for him) as he discovers (at two years old) all the tricks he can do. "hey mum! look at this!" a boy's love of his willy starts early. :-s

  2. Totally Agree.Let wee willy winkie run through the town upstairs and downstairs IN HIS NIGHT GOWN ;-)

  3. Hmmm could'nt do it myself! Heel pricks are bad enough! But having said that I did see my cousin when he was 10 years old have it done due to constant infections. He was so embarassed and in a lot of pain so thinking about that, and if your tough enough, based on that I might say would be a fair enough decision. I have friends that have had their little bubby boys done because "daddy is done"
    To be completely honest the thought never crossed my mind has I had enough to think of!!
    It would definately be easier in teaching them how to wash it however. With my 1st boy I had the "Im not touching it! Its his and its just wrong!" approach and only realised when he was about 4 that I was supposed to be pulling it back and washing with warm water. But when I came to do it, it would'nt come back! My approach was sure turned around as I then had to fiddle with the little thingy up to 3 times daily with a special cream to try and get it to come back and if it didnt he would then have to have it snipped. Fortunately it did come back and when my 2nd came along I made sure I started cleaning it and teaching him to clean it asap. Im not sure on what age they say (Maybe check with a doc!) But I was always under the impression that you were never meant to pull it back at all when they were little!
    So I guess everyone has their own views and if it did'nt cause them any pain I properly would do it. But it does and I've heard they scream their little hearts out and I personally could not go through with that!!

  4. I now have the Wee Willy Winkie song stuck in my head!

    Reading Kristie's response reminded me of a mate (who shall remain nameless) who a few years ago found himself in constant pain with recurrent infections and had to get the chop at 24 years old! He managed to keep it a secret from everyone until the day after his surgery when it became clear what part of his body was hurting!

    For those who want to know, the age when you can retract a foreskin is different for each boy - some can be done at a few months, some it takes years. So best to just keep an eye on things and as Kristie said, ask your doctor if you're unsure.

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  5. I didn't have my son circumsized. I guess I feel pretty strongly about it, but at the same time I don't talk about it much because I don't want to criticize those who opted for it. For me, the biggest reason was he was born with it so it probably had a purpose, I didn't want him having an unnecessary painful surgery, and I didn't see the point of following a religious custom from a religion we don't believe in.

    I was worried my husband would want him to be "the same", but he was also against it, especailly after he looked it up and saw a video of it being done. My parents and sister criticized me for it some, but I gave them my reasons, refused to argue over it, and it hasn't come up again.

  6. We had this conversation when we found out we were having a boy and decided against it.
    One of the reasons we decided against it was because we knew it was no longer a common thing or an easy thing to get done.
    We also decided that we'd only have it done if it was medically necessary.
    It was a pretty brief conversation :)


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