Circumcision Stories -
Experiences of Parents with Sons

Parents of newborn sons have an important decision to make in the best interests of their infant boys. Making a decision not to circumcise, or being talked out of it by doctors or midwives ignorant of the lifetime consequences, has led to later regrets by some parents when the consequences unfold for their child. Here are some of their stories.

Thank you doctor

"My wife and I are about to have our first child in the next week or two. We have been trying to decide whether to circumcise or not. We went straight to the internet to find relevant and recent information on the topic. Most of the articles that we found were strongly opposed to the procedure. We continued to search. We found your article and read it thoroughly. I am pleased that you took the time and effort to post such a comprehensive piece of work. Thank you.

It concerns me that there will be many people who do not spend enough time researching their decision as to whether or not to circumcise their child. Although we are told time and time again about the inherent pitfalls of a medium device such as the Internet, it is all too easy to read the first 10-12 hits that you find and leave it at that. I am glad that I persisted in my research and I am glad that I found your paper. Thank you so much for helping us in our decision of whether or not to circumcise."

Glad to read objective information

"I want to thank you so much for your web article on circumcision. My husband and I were undecided about the circumcision of our forthcoming son. The information we were getting seemed to be highly emotional and somewhat irrational. Yours was the first article we have read that was factual and written objectively. Because of your article we have decided to go ahead with the circumcision. We now have the information which lets us make this decision with confidence, knowing that we are doing this for the benefit of our son and his future wife. I am so glad we found your artic

Misled in Sydney's West

"We have a 14 month-old son and was advised when he was born by hospital staff that if we were wanting him circumcised that we would have to wait until he was twelve months old. After reading your paper on the net, I now realise that we may have been mislead. Could you tell us how we would find out a medical practitioner experienced in this field in Sydney's Western suburbs."

Sore penis for uncirc'd 8 year-old in Seattle

"My 8 year old son [name deleted] is not circumcised, and has recently been complaining of soreness. He does have some visible fusion of the skin on a portion of the head of his penis, preventing him form properly cleaning it, and causing increased challenges in hygiene."

Re-do for infant in UK

"I emailed you a few months ago telling you that we were considering circumcising our then unborn son. Well he has just been circumcised (at 7 weeks). He was done using the plastibell method, but he started to bleed and then ending up having a "classical" snip. Anyway, he is fine and both my wife and I have recovered."

X-Men comics as bribe before circ for white boy in Singapore

"Break out the champagne, Doc! My son, Mark, got circumcised on Dec.1, 1998 at my cousin's medical clinic at Metro Manila! I thought that the surgery would be traumatic for him, which is what my Singaporean wife had feared, but he coped with the operation very well, and had no problems during his 2 weeks of convalescence.

Just to make sure that he was healing well I gave him 400 I.U.s of Vitamin E daily plus 1 gram of vitamin C every 8 hours, on top of the prescribed antibiotic plus analgesic (mefanemic acid). He also religiously cleaned his 'petit mon frere' with Betadine after bathing. At first he was reluctant to go through with it, but I bribed him with some expensive X-Men comics (with holograms). And in less than 2 weeks after the procedure he was running with his Filipino cousins, playing tag! I almost had a fit!

I preserved his foreskin in a bottle and will keep it for a month as a prized memento of his rite of passage. That's one more step to manhood! Now he can boast (if he wants to) about his 'new look' to his Singaporean class mates, who will not understand what the fuss is all about.

Only the Muslim, Jewish, and Filipino men, and you and I, know what it's all about. By the way, the style of cut on his foreskin is called 'Cobra' style or German cut in old parlance. It seems that the surgeon left some of the foreskin on the penis and sewed it on the shaft to make it more sensitive, and to make the penis look like a cobra poised to strike when aroused. Talk about phallic symbols! Now he's one of us!"

Message 2:

"It's been about 3 months since we last e-mailed each other. My son's coped well with his 'new look'. In fact I was surprised and envious to find out that he had a bigger 'armament' than mine. Mine's only 5 inches fully erect, but my son's petit mon frere is 5 inches in its flaccid state! I wish I were that long.

Glad you spruced up the web-page, as I intend to download this page to all my ex-classmates at the university, encouraging them to have their sons circumcised. I was mildly disappointed though when I did not find any data concerning the Filipino males, who are for all intents and purposes, 100% circumcised. Maybe you should have accessed some web-sites in my country to get more facts.

The fact is that my fellow countrywomen are so used to the culture of circumcision back home that they are surprised Chinese and non-Muslim Singaporeans are 'supot'. They giggle out loud when I tell them that. I guess most of their lives, they have seen only the circumcised penises of their fathers or brothers or partners.

Some of the Filipinas who have never seen an uncircumcised penis ask me what it looks like. I tell them it looks like a piece of drooping rubber hose with a tapering end, and they laugh aloud, saying how ugly that looks! You're right doc, having no foreskin looks cleaner, nicer and sexier. Now if only I can get my wife to give me a blow-job.

More power to you!
Tight schedule, baby boy in the way

"Help. I'm in the midwest in the USA, not Jewish, but want to have my soon-to-be-born son circumcised for religious reasons. However, the Old Testament says to wait for 8 days. We know there are health benefits to the dietary Law, but why wait the 8 days? I can't find any info about this. Any ideas? I'm kind of on a tight schedule, my son could be born any day."

[Note: The 8 day edict may have more to do with high infant mortality than anything else. When this was written the chances of a newborn surviving his first week was not high, so circumcision (or naming the child) may not have been important until such time as the boy's survival was likely.]

Penis "goop" worries foster parents of adopted Russian 8 year-old boy

"Forgive me for taking your professional time, but I need further medical advice.

We recently adopted an uncircumcised 8 year-old boy from Russia. Recently, he got up in the morning crying of severe pain in his penis. He said he had to remove 'yellow sticky goop' from the hole of his penis with a tissue before he could urinate. Later that day, obviously in pain, he cried again after urination and mentioned removing 'sticky stuff' again. I took him to local family doctor who said "he just slept on it wrong".

There was no sign of UTI in culture. [Name deleted] has not complained since we told him the doctor said he was fine, but I'm not easy with the explanation of no problem. Something was clearly wrong. Also, I seriously doubt this child has ever practiced any type of special hygiene.

Your article was recommended by my Internet support group for Russian/Eastern European adoptive families. Having read it, I am concerned that we should look for a specialist to check for other types of infection associated with the presence of a penile foreskin. I would also like to know your opinion on putting a child this age through a circumcision procedure.

Thank you in advance for your time and expertise."

Expert opinion from Dr Tom Wiswell: "I suspect the child may either have a viral urethritis or a viral urinary tract infection (much more rare than bacterial infections) that will not yield a positive culture when routine bacterial urine cultures are obtained. Pain on urination is almost always a urinary tract infection.

Potentially, he could also have balanoposthitis, but it is hard to say. Personally, I would try to get a repeat urine culture to make 100% sure that it is not a bacterial UTI. Additionally, I would culture around the urethral meatus and under the foreskin to see if there is pure growth of a single bacterium. In the interim, I would start therapy with an oral antibiotic (pending culture results) as well as with a local antibiotic ointment.

As you know, I believe there are many benefits to circumcision, even in a child of eight years. Unfortunately, at this age I think it would likely require general anesthesia, as most 8 year-olds will not tolerate a procedure like this even with good local anesthesia. Obviously, the latter would be preferred, if possible. Expert opinion from Dr Edgar Schoen: "Needless to say, without examining the boy it is impossible to say what he has/had, but there are a few things he might have had:

(1) Phimosis -- a small pinpoint opening at the tip of the penis which makes it impossible to retract the foreskin. This can be ruled out simply by seeing if the foreskin can be retracted. With some reassurance to the boy and the parents, they should be able to do this;

(2) Balanoposthitis -- this is inflammation/infection of the foreskin and the glans and results in severe pain as well as swelling of the foreskin/glans area, as well as a discharge of pus. But I would have thought the doctor would have recognized this, and it doesn't resolve as quickly as it seemed to do;

(3) Meatitis , which is redness and often crusting of the external urethral meatus, the little hole in the tip of the penis. This is usually due to irritation, results in pain on urination, and there may be a drop or two of discharge. If I had to bet on the diagnosis based on the info you sent, meatitis would be it, but as I mentioned, long distance diagnoses are risky and I don't think anyone can say for sure without doing a proper medical history and examination.

As far as doing a circ on an 8 year-old boy, that is a matter of parental preference in combination with the diagnosis. Needless to say if he has phimosis, circ is mandated. Circ at this age is not as clearly warranted as in the newborn period, when it a quick procedure and many MDs can do it well.

At his age it is harder to find a urologist adept at circ and willing to do it under local anesthesia. General anesthesia increases the risk. Also he is past the period of risk for severe UTI, which occurs in the first year of life. There are still preventive health benefits, but they are not as clear-cut as in the newborn, and it is a matter of discussing the pros and the cons with a knowledgable professional, of which, I should mention, there are fewer than there should be."]

Expecting parents in Seattle attempt to educate wife's anti-circ family

"My wife and I are expecting our first child on May 6th and we are not interested in knowing the sex of the baby until the baby is born. We live and work in the greater Seattle, Washington, United States area.

My wife's family is very opinionated. If we have a boy, my wife's family is pressuring her into leaving the boy uncircumcised. Both my wife and I feel strongly about circumcision. I printed out your article as they do not have access to the internet. I myself feel more educated about male circumcision. I am going to have each one of my wife's family that are opposed to circumcision to sit down and read your article and share with me their thoughts after reading your article.

As an adult, I myself am very glad and proud that I am circumcised. My wife explains to me that she as an adult has in the past had for a while a sexual partner that was uncircumcised and found it to be repulsive at times (in short, he didn't always take care of himself). My brother-in-law is uncircumcised and he tells me that he wishes that he was circumcised.

Man in Honduras wants to get his 13 year-old boy circumcised

[Some editing carried out to improve readability]

"Sorry for the language, and thank you for your quick answer. Never though you were in line. [?] What happened is that my English is not good, but I will try to ask you my question about the theme of circumcision anyway.

I intended to get my boy of 13 years circumcised, after thinking about all the things you mentioned in your article I found in the Yahoo services. I would like to know what kind of risk there might be after the procedure, if local anesthesia is recommended, and how long will the pain remain in my boy in both cases.

I will appreciate your free advice to me. Pleasure to email you and congratulations on your website."

Foster parents of adopted Korean child do research that proves doctor wrong

"My wife and I recently adopted our son from Korea. As you may or may not know circumcisions are not done on male children born in Korea. My wife and I decided we would have [name deleted] circumcised just after his first birthday. We were told by the adoption agency and others to wait until he was at least one before subjecting him to anesthesia.

Last week we brought our son to a surgeon who came highly recommended by our pediatrician. We were caught a little off guard by some of the comments the doctor made during our visit.

Although he was professional in his comments, he made it very clear that he was anti-circumcision and asked my wife and I why we were opting for circumcision. We honestly did not have any solid information to back up our decision, other than the fact that every one of our friends and family have had their son's circumcised. What also added to our decision was the fact that my father-in-law was circumcised as an adult and he strongly suggested we circumcise our son.

A few comments the doctor made stand out clearly in my mind. "You know ... things have changed ... 50% of the boys born today are not circumcised and the numbers keep going down." "The American Academy of Pediatrics says that circumcisions are totally unnecessary." "There is no medical evidence that shows circumcisions are of any medical benefit." And finally the comment that drove me to do some research on the subject and that led me to some of your work .... "as more and more research is done on this subject people are choosing not to circumcise their sons because they are making smarter decisions." I'm not sure if he realized the inference he was making, but I took it as he felt my wife and I were making a dumb decision.

I do have to thank him for his comments because it made me do my homework on this subject. After hours of research I cannot find one "legitimate" reason NOT to have a circumcision.

As a matter of fact there seems to be an overwhelming amount of scientific information suggesting just the opposite of what this doctor told us. I won't waste your time with the facts because you are well aware of what they are, but I just wanted to drop you this note to say thanks for putting out information that is well balanced and factual. It has helped us feel good about the decision we've made for our family.

"Almightly row" for Natasha Kinski and husband over circ for 14 year-old son

"I hear Natasha Kinski and her Egyptian husband had an almightly row that ended in blows and police charges over the fact that he had booked their fourteen year-old son in for the "chop" without telling her.

Which only goes to show that, once you pass neonatal, there are all sorts of complications not just surgical ones!"

Concerned mum says "Do it young, otherwise it's not much fun" (older boy's pain)
"I have one son 20 months old (uncircumcised), and another son due in December. My husband is circumcised.

When my first son was born I was only given information regarding circumcision from a paediatrician. He said that you only did it if there were religious reasons. And only gave us negative information. I was concerned at the time that we were making the wrong decision. Since then I have been reading more and more on the subject and feel that I did make the wrong decision.

We would like to have our second son done, but my question is ... Can a 20 month-old have a circumcision performed or is it too late? Thank you for your help."

Message 2:

"I have read all the information you have provided, including your web page. I called a paediatric surgeon and got some further advice and we have decided that we will be going ahead with the procedure. The doctor whom we have consulted is Dr [name deleted] in Brisbane [Australia].

I can only assume that he is the same doctor who is quoted in your notes? And regarding the issue of father-son bonding: the pediatrician that we consulted before the birth of our son said that more commonly now days, most boys are not done.

Therefore a child is going to feel more concerned if he doesn't look like the other boys in the toilet, rather than looking like his dad. I prefer to think that I have done the best for my son and that he does look like his dad. If the reasons for why he is like that are explained correctly to him, I don't think it will be a problem. I assume you agree.

Also, I was wondering if you have the current statistics of newborns uncircumcised to circumcised in Australia. Thank you very much for your help and I am sure my son would want to thank you to for giving us this guidance."

Message 3:

"Thank you very much for all of your help. We had our first visit to Dr [name deleted] yesterday afternoon and he took much delight in hearing my stories about getting in contact with you. I found him very helpful and informative. Not the sort of Doctor I had expected at all. After some in-depth discussions about stats and reports, he showed us some 'never-been-seen before' photos of the build-up of smegma in toddlers around the same age as our son.

All I can say is YUCK!! After seeing that I knew for sure that we were doing the right thing. And if my husband wasn't done - he would be seeing the doctor too. [Name deleted] is due to go back in 2 weeks to be done and we are feeling very confident about the whole thing. If it wasn't for your web site I don't think I would ever have found the right answers to what I was wanting to know. Dr [name deleted] was very interested to hear about your web site and I have

promised to print him out a copy. He raved about your book and has a copy of it at "pride of place" in his surgery. Thank you so much again for all of your help. I will be recommending your book to everyone I know. Well done!!"

Message 4:

[Note: The following harrowing account is not typical and the problems are undoubtedly contributed by the incident marked below, providing an example of why older boys are generally given a general anesthetic, rather than a local as in this case. Local anesthesia is quite OK for newborns or those in the first few weeks of life, but becomes progressively less desirable as the boy grows and can "interfere", as in this case. As stated by this mother at the end, she regrets not having had him circumcised soon after birth. ]

"We had the procedure done on Monday morning. It was the most traumatic thing I have had to put [name deleted] through. We had been applying the Emla cream and he had a pethidine needle (which caused him to throw-up). We left him in the room asleep (because of the needle) with Dr [name deleted] and his nurse. Within a few minutes all I could hear was his screams, and I mean screams.

This is a child that hits his head and rubs it better himself. He has never been one to act-up with a minor complaint. But he just screamed and screamed. The more he screamed the more I cried. Then when we were called in we were greeted with a red faced, distressed little boy with a big bandage around his penis. He was so upset.

After we got him dressed Dr [name deleted] spoke to us about the procedure saying that it all went perfectly well, except for the fact that [boy's name deleted] had grabbed his penis half way through and had caused a blood blister on the side of it, hence the bandage.

We got him home and he slept for a while and then woke up screaming again. He told us he needed to go to the toilet but when we got there nothing happened. And the screaming kept going. We called Dr [name deleted] and I told him what happened. I said that I thought the bandage was causing the problem.

We took that off and still nothing except screaming and crying after twenty minutes. So we tried a warm bath. [Name deleted] just screamed more. But we held him down for as long as we could, giving him as much comfort as we could. It was awful. We could see that the urine was trying to come out and it was building up inside his penis " but it just wouldn't come out.

Finally with the build up of pressure it started spraying out. I knew something wasn't right. So after that episode we calmed him down and he was so exhausted from all the crying that he went back to sleep. One hour later we went through the same thing all over again. We get on the phone to Dr [name deleted]. He said that he thought that the problem may have been because the head of the penis, where the urine comes out had been covered by the ring. So Adam, my husband had to try and move the ring away from the head of the penis to uncover the opening.

You can imagine how [name deleted] reacted to that. It bled a little and [name deleted] just kept crying. I decided that we should take him back to Dr [name deleted]. At this point in time I was thinking that I would prefer to take him back now than to be on the phone at 10:00 pm at night trying to get something sorted out. Dr [name deleted] had a look and said that it looked o.k. and that the ring was now away from the opening and all should be well.

So we went home again, stopped at the chemist to stock up on panadol and hoped that things would settle down. Summarising the night's events [husband's name deleted] and I had about 3 hours sleep while taking turned to pacify [name deleted]. Three salt baths and a lot of tears "… later morning comes and we go through it all again on and off all day. His nappy kept sticking to the head of the penis, so whenever we went to take his nappy off it would pull on it and the screaming would start again. That night he slept with a pair of loose shorts on with 3 towels underneath him in our bed, so again - not too much sleep.

It is not that I regret getting it done - I will still be doing it for the baby, which I think won't be nearly as traumatic. I just didn't think it would be this much drama. Now [name deleted] is scared of having his nappy changed, doesn't want to use the toilet, not keen on the bath that he has loved all his life, but the worst of all he is scared of [father's name deleted] because he has been the one changing his nappies and pulling at it to try and fix it and been the one who does all the holding down.

All he wants is me. I have had an extremely emotional few days. I have just felt so bad about putting [name deleted] through this much pain and trauma. Once this is over I think we all deserve a holiday! I had two glasses of wine last night, but I thought I deserved it. I think that the moral of the story is "Do it young, otherwise it's not much fun"

We will see what the next few days bring, and hopefully the mini-frankfurt that [name deleted] has for a penis will slowly shrink back to it's normal size. And that my heavily pregnant self will get a bit of sleep so I wont be falling asleep at work all day."

Message 5:

"Congratulations on the new arrival! [Refers to birth of author's 2nd daughter] Thanks for your support - I will let you know the outcome of the second time around, with the baby. Hopefully not as traumatic.

Message 6:

[Name of eldest son deleted] was born on 29 January 1998. He is just a few days under 21 months. He is still not very well and we have been having to bath him at least once during the nights to help him to pee.

My husband works nights and had to go back to work yesterday, so I was left to try and deal with it myself last night. I had to go to bed fully clothed, without a shower because [name deleted] just wouldn't let me go. When [husband's name deleted] got home from work at 1 am [son's name deleted] woke up crying again and wanted to go to the toilet.

[Husband's name deleted] took his nappy off and put him down on the floor. [Name deleted] ran into the toilet screaming and you know yourself that when you are in a lot of pain you just don't know what you want. (If you don't know - your wife will certainly understand, having gone through labor!). So he ran back out of the toilet crying and then stopped in the middle of the hallway and just peed and peed and peed all over the tiles. I wouldn't think that so much could come out of such a little boy. But he had been holding it for so long that he just couldn't hold it any more.

After cleaning it all up and giving him a salt bath, we calmed him down and had four hours of unbroken sleep (hooray!). But the worst thing of all is when those teary eyes look up at you in pain and he says "Please mummy" you know exactly what he is trying to say - but there is nothing else you can do to help him. The swelling has gone down a little, but the wound is weeping quite a lot and we have been applying lots of antiseptic ointment to keep it from getting infected.

He wasn't able to go to kindy because he is just too upset to leave the house and we just don't want to force him to do anything he doesn't really want to do. I want to make this whole situation as least traumatic as possible for him. Things are getting a little better, well maybe we are just getting used to it. I am hoping that by next week he will be back to his normal, cheery self again.

Thank you for your concern and I support your efforts 100% with regard to NEWBORN circumcision."

Perth mother plans circ for 8 month old

"I'm glad to find a well-tempered site discussing circumcision (I already have your book). My son is eight months old and we plan to have him circumcised. I don't doubt that you are busy, but could you give me an idea of where I should begin to ask about having the operation done?

My doctor wasn't very helpful - I'm sure there are a network of doctors who are pro-circumcision, or at least wont try to talk me out of it.

I live in Perth [Western Australia]. Should I just call the children's hospital, or try ringing around paediatric surgeons?

Thanks for any information you can give."

An academic mother writes to Bob Bailey after his talk at AIDS conference 2007

We are Australian parents with 3 daughters and 1 son (now just turned 13 years old). We wanted him circumcised at birth because of the risk of infection. I had been previously diagnosed with CIN1 years before his conception and birth and we had always said that if we had a son, that we wanted to have him circumcised. We believed that circumcision might not only help reduce risk of disease to him but also to his future wife.

The medico's thought we were mad, but moreover refused to perform the circumcision. We tried other doctors, but same refusal. Some said that we weren't Jewish so why bother?  Then we were told it was too late. He was over 2 weeks old.

We were so upset, and were made feel stupid and powerless over this decision. So when I read the news alert today from the ABC about your conference presentation at the International AIDS Society Conference about the significance of male circumcision in reducing AIDS/HIV risk, it brought back all that
anger again - anger that I was not aware still existed.

All the best for your research. If you want a parent to speak up ... I will! I am an academic (not just a "stupid" parent) and am happy to co-write a paper with you from the perspectives of a parent if you would like to consider. Perhaps it can help to change cultural and government attitudes, as you have suggested, so that the practice can be universally adopted. Don't want other parents to go through what we did.

Sydney mother wants son circ'd after UTI

"Thank you for your website which is great, but I am looking for the name and phone no of a doctor who will perform a circumcision of my son [name deleted] who has just finished taking antibiotics for a urinary tract infection. His local doctor is not in favour of it and says its not necessary. Could you help me in this area. I live near Canterbury Hospital if that helps. Thank you."

Easier to get an abortion says another Sydney mother

"Thanks for your email. Dr [name deleted] circumcises at 12 mths and I have not heard from the neonatologist. It's ironic that it is easier and you get less hassle getting an abortion. You can kill your baby with no probs, but you dare not lop its foreskin off!"

Mother misled by the medical profession

I will try to keep this as brief as possible so as not to waste your valuable time.

I have a son who is three in October & is uncircumcised. This was so against my wishes & I am left feeling irresponsible & manipulated.

He was born in a public hospital and I was treated quite badly when I insisted I receive information in regard to how to have my son circumcised. I was handed a pamphlet which stated clearly that this could not be done till he was 6 months old and under general anaesthetic. I still have it. After 4 months and more accurate information I was aware that I had missed the window that was my preference.

I am still absolutely convinced I have a duty of care to protect my son (no matter how devious & misguided some in the medical profession have become).

We are a military family and have suffered with a lack of continuity of care for obvious reasons. I am hoping you can advise me of my options based on my sons age, offer your recommendation and if you think I am correct, advise me of someone I can trust in my area or whether i should come down to Sydney.

Any assistance would be much appreciated. I am trying to regain some level of empowerment and be the mother my child deserves. Up until this point I have been made to feel barbaric for wanting my son circumcised. I am ashamed to say, on this issue, I have failed my son. If you can email nothing more than a name I would be so appreciative.

Parents "dilema"

"I was very interested by your article. I am Australian, my husband is Moroccan. We have a son, and are going to move (back) to Australia at the end of the year. We're talking about this subject. When I was a child most of my male friends were circumcised, but since then it's become marginalized.

My husband and I don't know what would be best for our son. We agree that for hygiene it's better, but are wondering about the psychological aspects. We don't want him to be marginalized for this reason.

Would you have any statistics or information on the percentages of circumcised boys these days in Australia? Are they mainly Jewish or Moslem, or do Christian parents have their sons circumcised again?

I'd appreciate any information you could send me. Thanks a lot in advance."

[Note: Only a very small proportion of all circs in Australia are based on religion.]

TV producer mum very happy with her baby's circ

I'm just back at '[name of a current affairs show]' filling in for the chief of staff on holidays. I had my baby ... had him circumcised by Dr Gordon Campbell off your list in Sans Clinic .... very quick, easy and bub only cried for 10 minutes ... didn't even need infant Panadol ... slept and ate the rest of the day as normal ... even saw [famous celebrity] there having her boy done ... she was at the Mater Hospital same time as us too.

I've talked amongst my mothers group now, and one of the mothers there was really upset that she was advised wrongly about waiting ... now her bub has to undergo an unnecessary operation under general anaesthetic instead of a local .... poor thing. [Comment by BJM: according to various medical experts who practice circumcision a general anesthetic is never absolutely necessary and carries risks. A local can be used for all ages.]

I have written this week to 'Mother and Baby' magazine as they had a paediatrician suggesting you wait and think carefully about the procedure as it's not necessary ... so I wrote a letter to the Editor saying they should contact you for a more informed story about the topic.

Anyway just saying Hi and thanks for helping on my last story ... it's helped me personally too and we are very happy with the way things have turned out!

Kind Regards
Sheree Gibson
Producer for a popular current affairs program on a major TV network

An academic mother writes to Bob Bailey after his talk at AIDS conference 2007

We are Australian parents with 3 daughters and 1 son (now just turned 13 years old). We wanted him circumcised at birth because of the risk of infection. I had been previously diagnosed with CIN1 years before his conception and birth and we had always said that if we had a son, that we wanted to have him circumcised. We believed that circumcision might not only help reduce risk of disease to him but also to his future wife.

The medico's thought we were mad, but moreover refused to perform the circumcision. We tried other doctors, but same refusal. Some said that we weren't Jewish so why bother?  Then we were told it was too late. He was over 2 weeks old. We were so upset, and were made feel stupid and powerless over this decision.

So when I read the news alert today from the ABC about your conference presentation at the International AIDS Society Conference about the significance of male circumcision in reducing AIDS/HIV risk, it brought back all that anger again - anger that I was not aware still existed.

All the best for your research. If you want a parent to speak up ... I will! I am an academic (not just a "stupid" parent) and am happy to co-write a paper with you from the perspectives of a parent if you would like to consider. Perhaps it can help to change cultural and government attitudes, as you have suggested, so that the practice can be universally adopted. Don't want other parents to go through what we did.

60 Minutes TV program stirs wish to circ

"I have just read up on the extract about circumcision in the [Australian] Channel Nine 60 Minutes archive and it mentions your research or work on the topic. We have decided to have our 19 month-old boy circumcised. Dr Terry Russell [who appeared on the program] mentioned the plastibell. What is procedure like and can you recommend a Doctor in Sydney who performs that particular operation ? If it is not used in NSW, what is the normal process used? I would really like to obtain your opinion on this and await your recommendations."

UTI in premature boy

"Thank you for your article ... my boy was born 9 weeks prematurely and after 6 weeks of having him prodded with needles and tubes we decided not to get him circumcised.

However he is now 2 and he has just got an infection under his foreskin, so I am seriously thinking of having him circumcised, but do not want to put him through any unnecessary pain. The doctor flat out refused to give me a referral to a paediatrician claiming that just one infection is no reason for circumcision. My belief is that I do not want him to face this when he is older and is at school.

I have read your article and still am of two minds whether to have him done - only because of his age now."

New Jersey mother wants anesthesia for baby boy

"I am having a baby boy in August. I have talked to my obstetrician about circumcision and the use of anesthesia. They will not use it at all. My pediatrician doesn't have any helpful information as well.

I am trying to find a doctor that will perform a circumcision and use some sort of anesthesia. I am located in Central New Jersey. Is there a specific type of doctor that I should consult with? Another pediatrician or obstetrician? Possibly a neonatal specialists? I would appreciate any information that you could send to me."

Tough time for mother finding doctor in Sydney

"It was a relief to find some positive literature re circumcision. My baby is 5 months old now and I have been searching during this time for a doctor who will circumcise him. I had no idea I was going to find it so tough. Please could you help me?

I would love a recommendation of surgeons who actually still do this. I have had some resistant GPs. I live in Lane Cove Sydney. It would be greatly appreciated."

Infections in 6-year old make mother regret not having son circumcised earlier

I found your article on the web sites. My son was adopted by us at the age of 4 and we were advised by his pediatrician at the time NOT to have him circumcised. Now, that he is 6, he is having a lot of infections under his foreskin and we are NOW advised that a circumcision is badly needed.

I, as his mother, am greatly concerned about complications that might arise by having this surgery done, because he will have to be put under. Although we were told the whole procedure should not take longer than 10 minutes.

He is already highly allergic to penicillin, amoxicillin, bioxin, and takes 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of zyrtec a day.

I guess the main reason I am writing to you is to get your opinion on just how hard this will be on our son. This is a decision we will be making in the next week. He is on an antibiotic now for an infection and we don't want this to develop into something more serious.

I know, as a Doctor, that you are a very busy person, but I can only hope you can find some time to advise us on this very important matter to us and our son. 2 Thank-you for your time in this matter. And I greatly look forward to hearing from you."

Different circs for sons of Melbourne couple

"You may remember corresponding with us a little over 2 years ago regarding the present professional acceptance of circumcision, and paediatricians in Melbourne. Thankyou again for your time then, and because our circumcision story continues, I would like to ask your opinion again.

A bit of background. As you may remember, our first child was a son [name deleted], and he was circumcised (by a Dr [name deleted]) at 6 days. Since then, we have had another baby (date in 1999), again a boy [name deleted], and he too was circumcised at 6 days. He is now 2 months old.

Our second son, however was circumcised by a different paediatrician (Dr [name deleted]). The reason for the different doctors was simple. [Doctor's name deleted] is the usual paediatrician performing circumcisions at Knox Private Hospital, but he was on holidays 2 years ago, so [name of doctor deleted] was in fact the "stand in".

My present concern is about the actual procedure, and possible differences in amount of foreskin able to be removed. Prior to our second son's circumcision, I was quite keen to ensure that both of penises looked similar. I only wanted this so that should they notice each others penis, they would look similar.

It is now quite apparent that there are in fact different type of circumcisions. Specifically, our first son's glans is very clearly visible, and there is no loose skin around the base of it at all, and the corona is fully visible. This is in contrast to [name deleted], whose glans, although mostly visible, is surrounded by quite a lot of loose skin, and the corona is not visible without retracting the skin.

Subsequently, I have 3 questions.

1. Is it possible to take too much foreskin off (in case [name of first son deleted] is too "tight")?

2. Could the excess skin around the base of the glans create hygiene problems?

3. Is it possible/desirable to remove the excess skin?

I have these questions only because my paramount concern is only for my sons" hygienic and physical well being.

Thank you in advance for your time and comments."

[Note: circs can look different and loose skin can concern parents. A large fat pad above the penis will retract with age. Generally such worries go away as an esthetically pleasing penis takes shape as the boy grows and develops.]

New father glad to read pro-circ web site

"I wanted to you to know that it excellent to see an article which is pro-circumcision. I am a new father, and I had previously agreed with my partner that I would like our newborn son to be circumcised. The birth and pregnancy was very exciting, but recently our relationship is being hampered by circumcision discussion and disagreement to the extent where I have elected to possibly move out!

After visiting a Muslim consultant, he provided us with a book which happened to portray a view of negativity.

Any other new articles or evidence which could help my situation would be much appreciated."

Web site, found after seeing 60 Minutes, fuels opposing views of parents Your website was recommended by a Dr Terry Russell on a Sixty Minutes Q & A interview in October last year [2000] as a good site for parents to research for information on male circumcision.

My husband and I have a 6 week-old son and at present have very opposing views on circumcision. Therefore, if you could recommend or forward any information/articles that may help us in our decision, that would be very much appreciated.

Technical Qs by parents in USA

"We will be having our second son in about two weeks. With our first son, we were able to convince the obstetrician to use EMLA for pain relief. There was a good deal of controversy at the hospital (Memorial Hospital in Worcester, MA) about this and the nurses refused to participate. Finally the doctor decided to obtain and apply the EMLA cream himself, and after using it he said he would press to have hospital policy changed in order to allow for its use.

Now we are in New Hampshire, and the pediatrician who will perform the procedure on our second son has encouraged us instead to use the dorsal nerve block. I understand that EMLA does not offer complete pain relief. My questions for you are:

1) Your article "Medical Benefits from Circumcision" suggests that the ring block is simpler and effective. How is this procedure performed, and why do you prefer it?
2) Would the use of EMLA in conjunction with either the dorsal nerve block or the ring block be advisable in order to relieve the pain of injection?

If you can manage to respond to these questions I will feel better about the decisions we make regarding pain relief for our son. I very much appreciate your time."

Puerto Rican mother faces the "dilema" of circumcision for her son

I am an expectant mother faced with the circumcision dilemma. Concerned with the health of my child, I've opted for natural childbirth. I follow a strict diet and among other things I am now in the process of researching the circumcision issue. I've read a great body of literature both advocating and debating circumcision. Despite my good intentions, nothing I've read has prepared me to take a position on this issue. My family experience seems to be the barrier preventing me from choosing circumcision.

We are of Puerto Rican descent and circumcision is not the traditional course. Therefore I have only one circumcised relative. Throughout my large family and our many generations, the males have no history of cancer or genital infections, disease or other complications. They are all quite happy with themselves, including our odd relative, and have healthy sexual interactions. I am perplexed.

Can you direct me to two or three articles or books which you believe best represent the pro-circumcision position? Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you."

Expectant mother's questions

"If I may take up one minute of your time ... My name is [deleted]. I am expecting a baby boy on May 8, 2001. I have a little boy already - age 7, and he was indeed circumcised. At that time, I was assured it was routine, although I still believe it was for the better.

I would want this baby to be circumcised as well because of the potential infections, and stories that I have heard about uncircumcised men and boys. My only concern is the pain for my child. I have contacted the pediatrician (who is also my other son's pediatrician) who will be performing the procedure and I was told that it would take her 5 mins. She uses EMLA cream.

However, I am also concerned about the other 2/3 of the procedure that the baby will actually feel - without the effectiveness of the medication. (It wears off right?) Well my question is ... If the doctor does the procedure at 48 hours after birth (in the hospital), and provides EMLA cream, and I request [the baby] also be given a sucrose pacifier during the procedure, will he experience less trauma and pain?

The pediatrician's nurse thinks that babies don't associate pain with other reasons for crying (wet, hungry, etc). Is that true? Can babies be given infant Tylenol for the couple of days after circumcision?
I would appreciate your answers. Thanks."

Expectant in Connecticut up all night researching

"I am due with my second child in August. I have been up til all hours researching circumcision on the net in case it should be a boy. My husband and I want it done, but after seeing some of the movie clips, and very biased websites against it, I was feeling very confused and stressed and starting to second guess myself.

May I ask you a few questions?

From what I've reasearched the "ring block" is most effective for pain control throughout all stages of a circ "… correct? Is a ring block an injection? If so, how many injections would the area need?
You mentioned Plastibell, Gomco and Mogen techniques. Is Plastibell the least painful? Is it the fastest technique as well? I want it over as quickly as possible.

You mentioned that at 4 months old a doctor can use general anaesthesia. I don't want my child to experience any pain. I'm starting the think the 4 month mark may be the best time. What do you think??

I live in Connecticut. Can both parents or one parent be present for this procedure? I would strongly wish to be there throughout the process. Lastly, I don't want my child strapped down to a board like I've seen on so many webistes. You mentioned swaddling is an option? Then what exactly is the other option? The parent would hold the child on their lap? Thank you again for your informative website and thank you in advance for taking the time to answer these questions!"

Went OK, what's all the fuss about!?

"Thank you for writing such an informative and non-biased page on the subject of circumcision. With the prospect of having a son, I started looking for reliable, unbiased study material on this subject a couple of months ago. I was pretty sure I wanted my son circumcized, but did not want to do it just because I was and my father was.

Your "MEDICAL BENEFITS FROM CIRCUMCISION" answered all of my questions and then some. My son was circumcized this morning and everything went great. When reviewing the procedure with my wife and me, the doctor stated, almost like he was being told from administration to say so, that there are no real medical benefits from circumcision (which I find hard to believe).

Maybe it is just the Canadian government justifying it's present lack of funding for the procedure ... ?! Anyway, thanks again. It's on file if anyone asks my opinion."

Circumcision Info

What is circumcision?
Who in the world gets circumised?
The circumcision debate.
Circumcision history and recent trends.
Position statements by national pediatric bodies.
Why the foreskin increases infection risk.
Circumcision - 'shapshot' of health benefits + reviews.
Different specialists see different things.
Circumcision - benefits outweigh the risks.
Pain and memory.
Penile hygiene.
What motivates parents to baby boy circumcision.
Rates of circumcision.
Physical problems.
Inflammatory dermatoses.
Urinary tract infections.
Sexually transmitted infections.
Cancer of the penis.
Prostate cancer.
Cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men.
Breast cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men.
Herpes simplex type 2 virus in women.
Chlamydia in women.
Trichomonas in women.
Bacterial vaginosis in women.
HIV: the AIDS virus.
Circumcision Socio-sexual aspects.
Circumcision - sensitivity, sensation & sexual function.
Circumcision - societal class distinction.
Circumcision prevents infibulation.
Circumcision procedure.
Circumcision & Anesthesia.
Cost of the Circumcision procedure.
Cost benefit of Circumcision.
Circumcision - how do I find someone to do it?.
Circumcision - whose responsibility?
Risks in infants.
Circumcision - risks in adults & older boys.
Circumcision - breastfeeding outcomes and cognitive ability.
Circumcision, does it affect penis length?
Circumcision - why are human males born with a foreskin?
Circumcision - best not to delay til later.
Circumcision - what caused many cultures to ritually remove the foreskin?
In Alphabetical Order
(A – I)(J – R)(S – Z)
Brochures, circumcision information guide.
Anti Circumcision
Anti-circumcision lobby groups.
Links & Resources
Circumcision websites & online discussion groups.
BOOK: "In Favour of Circumcision".
About the Author - Professor Emeritus Brian J. Morris.
Adult circumcision stories - testimonials and more.
Donations Welcome
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