Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jewish Grandmother Discusses Circumcision

On my most recent visit to Sao Paulo I had an interesting conversation with an expat friend of mine and was surprised to find out that she had no idea circumcision was not practiced in Brazil, at all.
Yep, in case you didn't know, every Brazilian men you are looking at, is not circumcised.
Even baby boys born with a birth defect called phimosis, no longer need circumcision, Brazilians developed a treatment with steroid topic creams that stretches the foreskin and avoids the costly and dangerous procedure of circumcision.
Gilson's nephew is 5 years old and had to go thru the treatment with the topic steroid cream and was able to avoid circumcision, his sister was so happy to have been able to keep her little boy intact.
It made me realize, that despite being a fundamental difference between most American men and Brazilian men, the staggering majority of people are not aware of this fact on both sides.
After the eye opening conversation with my friend, I wanted to ask my sisters and other women friend in Brazil if they had any idea most American men are circumcised.
They had absolutely no idea and were horrified with the fact. WHY would they do that to perfectly healthy babies? was the common impression I got from asking Brazilian women if they were aware of the widespread practice in the US.
I think many American parents understand now that there is absolutely no reason to circumcise their infant baby boys in 2012, you know, now that we all have soap and indoor plumbing and we don't live in tents in the desert with no plumbing and no infra structure for normal hygiene.
I know many parents in the US who feel extremely guilty for having practiced infant male circumcision on their baby boys, but it's done and it's too late to reverse it, most usually say they were young and naive and listened to their doctors or nurses recommendations, you know, the same ones who got a couple thousand dollars for performing the 5 minutes long surgery for them.
It is frequent topic of discussion in the US nowadays, mainly because Insurance Companies no longer consider circumcision medically justified and do not cover the procedure.
Young parents now are faced with the costly decision of paying 3 to 5 thousand dollars out of pocket if they insist on performing a circumcision.
So, in the past 5 years alone, circumcision rates in the US have dropped from around 90% circumcised down to only 60% circumcised, and many are forecasting this number will drop well below 50% in the next few years.
We have seen 3 baby boys born on our street in the past 4 years, and none of them were circumcised, one couple from across the street even came knocking on our door and asked us what did we think about it, considering they knew we are from Brazil and they found out on the Internet that we don't practice circumcision. We told them, just don't do it, if you are concerned your son will feel bad because he looks different from other boys, let him do it when he grows up if he chooses to do it.
That way you give him the choice, over something so important on a man's life.
They did NOT circumcise their baby boy, and 2 other neighbors followed their example.
I saw this video today on Facebook and found this to be a very eye opening conversation.
Hope you learn something from it like I did.