Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Foreskin: Trash it? - OR - Sell it?

I interrupt my regularly happy blogging of kids, chickens, and the occasional rant about Hillary Clinton to talk about this topic, which has become close to my heart. 
For our boys. 


I'm not sure which is worse when it comes to infant circumcision:
 throwing that organ away in the trash?
 - OR - 
the hospital turning around and making a profit 
off of what is actually a precious part of the body God knit him together with? 

Sadly, my research showed me that our society knows very little about what circumcision really is.

It is this: a $1-2 BILLION industry. Did you know our babies foreskins aren't just being thrown away? Hospitals make a profit on them (which is probably why they aren't helping to spread the word on how risky, painful, and unnecessary they are). Without asking anyone's permission--particularly the donor's--they are selling these body parts. Oprah is wearing them on her face (I'm not trying being crude, it's an ingredient in her favorite skin care line, SkinMedica).

The saddest part? While the hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are making money off the foreskin--which my research tells me that baby needed more than Oprah's face does--parents often pay out of pocket for this procedure. A surgery performed on healthy newborns that even the American Academy of Pediatrics deems is unnecessary. You pay for it, your baby needed his foreskin, but never mind all that: the hospital gets to sell it like a commodity.

Since the mid 1800s, when Christians in America (most of Europe doesn't practice circumcision on infants, some countries even outlaw it) resumed the practice as a method of preventing...ahem..."sinning" (ironically, one 1992 study actually shows it has the opposite effect on young men), the medical industry capitalized on the practice and is--in my angry opinion--failing to fully inform parents and society about the truths of this money-making, pointless surgery. I don't blame the parents...we were once dead set on doing it to our son too. Society has told us an awful lot of great things about circumcision, and we've all believed it. But it's time to start sharing the difficult truths, for the sake of our sons. Look, this topic is hard to face, but it needs to be faced because the reality is...

It's tragic. I hope Americans continue to learn the truth, as the dropping rate in this practice suggests. At the very least, parents should make their decision for themselves, but fully informed. Many parents know next to nothing, other than "it's cleaner" (it's not) and "my husband had it done and doesn't regret it" or, my favorite, "my sister's co-worker's dog walker's friend from high school didn't have their baby circumcised...and then he got UTIs!!! So then instead of having him treated for the UTIs like his daughters were--with antibiotics--they HAD to perform the surgery when he was older! Can you imagine???"  I used to think like that. Now I know better. #themoreyouknow

P.S. Need a foreskin? Buy one here! Sadly, our babies can never recover what is lost during circumcision, but you can make Oprah some cold creams with it. See the going rate for the product of a surgery parents paid for and the not-useless organ the baby lost so he could look like his daddy (cosmetic surgery) or avoid a 1%* higher chance he'd get a UTI. Although my daughter and myself both have had during our childhoods and survived without surgery. Go figure.

* That 1% higher risk has been researched and is likely due to forced retraction of the foreskin, which ill-educated doctors have been telling parents to do to intact babies, when that really leaves them more open to infections. All this eventually led to "intactivists" coining the clever phrase:

If intact, don't retract! 
Only clean what is seen! 
Intact babies are 100% (no pun intended right there, but it's true, they are 100%) maintenance free as far as the foreskin goes. They don't need surgery.

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