Saturday, April 5, 2008

Where do the foreskins go??

Did you ever think to wonder what might happen to a boy’s foreskin once it is removed? It might provide some insight as to why this practice is still going on in the United States and why some doctors are wary to tell you why you SHOULDN’T have it done.

Taken from this website:

"I received an email January 1997 from someone who prefers to remain anonymous who said that the going rate for infant foreskins at a large hospital in the greater San Diego area was $35 each -- and that "ethical" doctors deducted that amount from their circumcision fees."

Maybe that’s not so much money - excect that it could be YOUR baby’s body that is being sold.

From the same source:

"The after market for human foreskin is where the real money is made. Foreskins are sold to biomedical companies, which use them in the manufacture of insulin. They’re also sold to middlemen, who package them for sale to research companies that in turn use them for biochemical analysis. Corporations such as Advanced Tissue Sciences (ATS), Organogenesis, BioSurface Technology, Genzyme, and Ortec International are taking cells from amputated foreskins and experimenting with artificial skin. Products like Dermagraft-TC, which sells for about $3,000 per square foot, are grown from the cells in infant foreskins and used as a temporary wound covering for burn patients. One foreskin contains enough genetic material to grow 250,000 square feet of skin."

And right here, for the low price of $250, you can buy your Epidermal keratinocytes, harvested from infant foreskins.

Ask THIS doctor if Circumcision is right for you

This is quoted from:
Ask Doctor Sears


This is a decision that many parents face. There are many misconceptions and out-of-date information that parents may read. Here is a summary of the pertinent issues that you should consider when making this decision.

Medical benefits - THERE ARE NONE! Do not circumcise your baby because you think there are some medical benefits. A recent review by the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at all the data from the past decades to see if there truly were any medical benefits. Their conclusion - NO. There are no significant medical benefits that make circumcision worth doing. Here are a few benefits that we used to think were true, and now know are not.

- Cleanliness - although it is true, a circumcised penis does not collect any white stuff underneath the foreskin like an intact penis does, THIS IS NOT A MEDICAL BENEFIT. It is really just one less area to wash in the shower.

- Decreased risk of STD’s - this was a myth that we now know is not true.

- Decreased risk of penile cancer - it used to be thought that circumcised men had a much lower chance of cancer of the penis. We now know that this benefit is much smaller than previously thought. The AAP determined that this benefit is so tiny, it is not worth circumcising for this reason.

- Avoiding infections in the foreskin - it is true, occasionally intact foreskins get irritated. This is easily treated with warms soaks and washing. Rarely, the irritated foreskin becomes infected. This requires antibiotics to clear up, but is easily treatable. Even if this does happen once or twice in a person’s life, it is not a reason to circumcise at birth.

- Avoiding the need to do it later on - very rarely, someone has a problem with recurrent infections in the foreskin that need antibiotic treatment. Some of these men then need to be circumcised in an operating room under general anesthesia. This is extremely rare, however, and is not a reason to circumcise everyone at birth.

- Avoiding bladder infections - it used to thought that circumcised boys and men had a much lower chance of bladder infections. The AAP now knows that this benefit is very small, and is only true for the first few years of life. After that, there is no difference in the number of bladder infections. Again, not a reason to circumcise.


- Religious reasons - some people choose to circumcise for religious or cultural reasons. This is a personal decision.

- Don’t want to be teased - while this may have been true in the U.S. decades ago, the truth is that your uncircumcised kids will be in good company in the locker room when they are teenagers. Less and less people in the U.S. are now circumcising their boys.

- Too much trouble to take care of - some people think that an intact penis is too much trouble to pull back and clean, especially during childhood. Well, the truth is, you are not even supposed to pull back the foreskin until it naturally comes back on its own between age 3 years and adolescence. So there really isn’t anything to even take care of until then.

- Want your boy to look like dad - the main difference that your child will notice between him and dad is the hair. He won’t even notice any difference in the penis until he is old enough that you can then explain to him the difference.

So, what are the reasons TO circumcise? Here is the list:

- Religious reasons - as discussed above. That is all. There really is no good reason to circumcise other that personal preference and religious reasons.

Are there any reasons NOT to circumcise? Consider these:

- Leave nature alone - whether you believe God created men with a foreskin, or nature simply evolved this way, there must be some reason men have foreskins. Why change something that God/nature has created?

- Sensation and sexual pleasure - the foreskin is filled with nerves, and is therefore extremely sensitive to touch. This enhances sexual pleasure.

- Protects the glans (head) of the penis - the glans is another highly sensitive area. The foreskin protects the glans from constant rubbing and chaffing against clothing that can desensitize it over the years. This preserves sexual pleasure.

- Ethical issues - there are groups of people worldwide, including medical societies, that oppose routine circumcision because they feel it is unethical for a parent to decide to alter the penis of their child without the child’s consent. Parents who are deciding whether or not to circumcise their son may wish to consider the impact this may have in the future if the child decides they wish they were not circumcised.

So, when making this decision, the first thing to ask yourself is this - "Do I have any good reason to circumcise my baby?" If your answer is for religious reasons, then follow your faith. If not, and you can’t think of any other significant reason other than just "because", then consider the above information as you make your decision.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Parents Stop Circumcision

Here are a couple of stories that I have run across in the past few weeks of parents who were in the room when the doctors were circumcising their babies, and stopped the procedure before the actual circumcision occured, but not before the foreskin was separated from the glans.

Both babies had anesthetic applied to the penis before the operation started,
yet they were still in extreme pain.

They are important to read if you are considering circumcision.

Father stops circumcision

Mother stops circumcision

What about Jewish Circumcision?

There is a growing movement involving Jewish parents who do not circumcize their sons.

Here are some websites of interest:

Jews Against Circumcision

Jewish Circumcision Resource Center

Uncircumcised!?!? Gross!!

Don't worry. I haven't switched sides so quickly.

This is a statement made by many women (and some men) when asked their opinion of the whole, intact male penis.

I have to wonder, to these folks - have you ever seen one?

I think I am in the minority of women who has NEVER seen a circumcised penis in real life.

I come from a family of intact men. My husband is European (Europe has, I believe, a 1% non-religious circumcision rate) and he, along with his entire family, is intact.

I grew up thinking that only Jewish boys were circumcised. It was a bit of a reality
check to realize that over half of American male babies are circumcized at birth or shortly after.

So, for you women (and maybe some of you men) who have never seen an intact penis, here is a gallery
of beautiful intact men.


Routine Infant Circumcision

I posted this as a bulletin on my Myspace a few days ago. I wanted to make it a bit more permanent and hopefully inform more people of what they may not (or, if my own previous knowledge is any clue, don't) know in regard to routine infant circumcision - also known as male genital mutilation (a scarier term, but a bit more applicable).

I am against circumcision.

Well, let me restate that - I am against circumcizing humans without their consent.
A baby cannot give consent to the doctor to remove part of his body.

At first I could only read a transcript of a circumcision video. That made me sick. Then, I watched these videos. Actually seeing a circumcision and hearing the baby's screams (and it's not just a normal cry - it's a scream of pain), I'm set in my decision to NEVER EVER circumcize any boys I may have.

You might not know that baby boys are circumcized without anesthesia in 75% of obstetrician-attended circumcisions.

The overall anesthesia rate for circumcisions in America is 45%.

You also may not know, if you have never seen an intact penis, that the foreskin is not just a "little bit" of "extra" skin. In a baby boy, the foreskin covers over half of the penis. It is adhered to the head of the penis with the same tissue that connects fingernails to the tips of the fingers.

So it would, to put it bluntly, hurt like hell when it is removed.

Watch these videos. Inform yourself. When you are informed, you can inform others and hopefully one day this barbaric pratice will be outlawed in America the same way that female circumcision is.

These videos bullshit all the claims as to why a circumcision is a "good idea" as your pediatrician or obstetrician may tell you.

Plus, it's Penn & Teller. So you'll be entertained too.

Protect your babies. Don't circumcize.

(If anyone who reads this has circumcized baby boys, I won't judge you. It's quite possible that you had no idea. But, if you have this data and then continue the trend, I can't guarantee that I won't).

Aurora's Birth Story

So she made it! Her name is Aurora.

Things did not go quite as we planned to bring her into the world, but despite the surprises, it worked out well.

My water broke at 9pm on Saturday night, one week and a day before my due date.

I noticed right away that the fluid was tinged green instead of light and clear, and I called my midwife right away. About an hour later, new, thick black meconium was right there in the fluid. The problem with this is that, first, the baby isn't supposed to have any bowel movement before birth, and it is a sign of some kind of stress. Second, the baby could possibly inhale this during delivery which could cause serious infection or worse, and the midwife doesn't have the equipment to suction the baby's lungs. So instead of having a calm, water-birth at home, I transferred to the hospital at 10pm.

Our friend Diana picked up Serena, and Serena stayed at her house overnight (her first sleepover!).

Once we got to the hospital, I was put in an observation room for a few hours so the nurse and Certified nurse midwife at the hospital could monitor the baby's heart rate during my labor.

The hospital midwife was somewhat concerned because the baby's heart rate would occasionally decelerate too much during contractions. She told me that it wasn't too much cause for concern, but there could possibly be a problem and that she wanted hook me and the baby up to an internal monitor, as it is more accurate than the external monitor and could better tell her that everything was fine (or not). I agreed to this (I felt better about the internal monitor as opposed to the hours of Doppler ultrasound that I was currently getting).

After this, at about midnight, I was transferred from the observation room to the labor and delivery room and they put in the internal monitor.

Tim's stepmother, Shawn, came at this point. She was a major help throughout the
entire labor, and I am very glad she was there.

Her being there allowed to to be with me the entire time and not have to deal
with the hospital staff much at all. She also helped me get through the worst parts, feeding me ice and cooling me down.
At this point my contractions were about 4 or 5 minutes apart and about 30 seconds to a minute long each. I was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced. They were painful, but not bad.
This lasted about an hour, and then things picked up drastically, and pretty much without warning.

After about 3 major contractions, the nurse wanted to check my dilation, which at first I refused. I knew something was happening, was in pain, and didn't want some lady sticking her fingers in me for no good reason. And secretly, I really didn't want to hear how far I was, in case I hadn't opened anymore.

After about another 15 minutes, the nurse pretty much pleaded with me to let her check me, because she thought I was nearing the end and wanted to be prepared. I pretty much knew that I wasn't close to being done, because despite the pain being bad, I knew I wasn't in transition yet. But she was anxious, and I let her. I should have told her to keep the number to herself - I was still at a four. But I also knew the number meant nothing and I could have another hour to go or another 5.

Pretty soon after this I knew transition was close. The contractions were extremely intense, about a minute long and about 30 seconds apart.

Because the baby was posterior, I had some painful back labor. My first daughter was also posterior, but I had a water birth, at home, and the pain was not nearly so bad.

I knew I had finally reached transition when the contractions didn't stop. They would build and build, and then get slightly less, and then build again without actually taking a break in between. As any woman who has done it probably knows, this is the most intense part of labor. I knew that if someone HAD offered me drugs at this point (the hospital was given very specific instructions that NO ONE was to mention it to me) I probably would have thought about for a second before flipping out on whomever asked.

And then, after the worst contraction of all, I had a feeling it was done. I remember actually feeling my cervix sort of pop over the baby's head. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I didn't want to go through another one. I also knew if I had to, I would have no choice. I pretty much dared my body to do it again. But it didn't.

With the next contraction my body was pushing the baby down. I yelled to the nurse that it was pushing, and she (silly lady) told me to hold on. I was like "It's PUSHING!!!" This was probably the funniest (in hindsight) part of the labor because there is pretty much nothing to be done, and I wasn't about to try to stop my body doing it's job.

She "had to" check me to make sure I really knew what I was on about (silly lady again) and she then declared that I was right! (go figure), and the head was right there. Then I got pissed because she wouldn't take out her damn fingers. I yelled at her to get out and tried to kick her away (as far as I remember). I asked Tim about it later, and the nurse had said something about that
she was checking my pelvis. I still have no idea what that was about.

And then I was pushing. This stage was much easier this time than with my first birth (even though the first one was easy too). The difference was that I KNEW what to do this time. Still, it is somewhat a scary experience and at one point, the midwife's instruction really helped, and the baby was out really fast. I had my hand on her the whole time she was coming out, and the feeling of touching her body and feeling her cry was indescribable.

I was somewhat scared during the labor that something would be wrong, and was so relieved that she was all right.

She cried right away, and was put on my chest. She was so slippery!

It's an amazing thing, this birthing stuff. I was in so much pain, and now, just as I was done, I couldn't help smiling this huge, goofy grin. I finally had my baby, and absolutely nothing was wrong. She was healthy, and nursed right away.

She was born at 4:02am, after exactly 7 hours of labor. Tim was with me the entire time. I am almost crying right now remembering it. It's another funny thing, but I think I felt more love for him in those 7 hours than I ever knew. Maybe he'll read this and know, but there is absolutely nothing in the world more amazing to me than those seven hours, the help he gave me, and then to see his face when his baby was born. I will say right here for all you folks, I love him so so much, and I know I am a very very lucky girl to have him.

I'll also let you know, Serena absolutely loves her baby sister. I was so scared, imagining what kind jealousy I would have to help her overcome, but my worrying was for nothing.

The first time the Aurora cried and Serena heard it, I was reading a book with Serena. She looked at me and said "Go, go! The baby is crying, the baby needs you!"

To me, that was amazing! I love her so much, my baby who is not so much a baby anymore. It has never been more obvious than the past 2 days of my new life, I have little girl, and I can hardly remember her being so small as my new little one.

So all, life is good. And to anyone who took the time to read this, thanks, and may you all experience the same happiness. :).