My genitals hurt.
My brain hurts.
My heart hurts.
For the past few weeks I’ve been researching the nitty gritty infant male circumcision.
Less than two months ago, a 22-day-old Ontario infant died from bleeding due to a circumcision his parents claim they never wanted in the first place.
Then there’s this jury verdict: over $1.3 million to an Illinois boy whose circumcision was so botched that doctors had to surgically reattach his penis.
And the medical miracle of a successful penis transplant described in this April 2015 Washington Post article: A penis from a dead man was successfully attached to a young South African who lost his own penis in a botched circumcision. Doctors are celebrating. The part about the young man losing his penis is the part of this story that stays with me.
We are told that severe complications from circumcision are “rare.” Yet the reported rates of acute complications from circumcision are 1 in 500, which does not seem that rare.
Then there are the COMMON complications from infant circumcision that your doctor may not have mentioned.
Penile adhesions–also known as skin bridges–are considered a “common complication” after circumcision. The skin left over from the circumcision adheres to the head of the penis, which can cause pain and bleeding when a baby has an erection.
This common complication can create lifelong problems for boys and young men:
“I am an adult male of 25 with a skin adhesion,” writes an anonymous reader in a comment on a BabyCenter discussion about what do to about infant penile adhesions. “I would just like to tell all you parents who are struggling with this to please continue your efforts in correcting it! I can’t even tell you how conflicted I am as an adult with this thing. When I realized as a teenager that my penile adhesion was something unnatural, I was quite embarrassed, and even angry. I had absolutely no one to turn to. I couldn’t confront my parents about it. Too awkward, asking for help to correct an issue with my penis that THEY CAUSED. Fix it before your sons become more cognizant and understand what is happening, please. All that’s left for me now is surgery. Not fun. To be fair, I do have a normal sex life and my adhesion was not bad enough to cause any lasting problems, but it does cause some self-esteem issues, and from what I’ve read, these CAN cause worse problems if the adhesions are bad enough. I will NOT be circumcising any sons I have. Please end the FAD of circumcision. It is cruel and unnecessary.”
That BabyCenter thread was started years ago but is still getting comments from parents whose baby boys are suffering from penile adhesions.
Journalists are supposed to remain impartial.
Journalists are not supposed to begin blog posts by stating that their genitals hurt.
But I do not know how anyone can read the current scientific literature on circumcision complications or that young man’s words of anger and regret and not come to the conclusion that the harms of circumcision vastly outweigh the benefits.