Sunday, November 28, 2010

Circumcision. Should it be banned?

I have been having a rather heated discussion with Brian Westley on OTDs blog post about circumcision here.

While I don't believe that circumcision has any superstitious benefits, I do believe it does have real social ones, namely avoidance of ostracism from within the Jewish community for your child (if you wish to be a part of the Jewish community). Also there isn't a reverse ostracism from outside the Jewish community either (having a circumcision is very common for non Jews as well). Since I don't think that the costs are too significant (mild memoryless pain for a short while, recovery in about a week) I think it should be up to the parents to decide whether or not their son should get one as an infant and shouldn't be banned universally.

What do you think?


  1. I don’t think anything should be banned unless it’s shown to be harmful. Circumcision has not been shown to be harmful, therefore it shouldn’t be banned.

  2. Male circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure for individuals & parents to choose. It provides benefits such as 12x less likely for UTI, +22x less likely for cancer, 28% less risk for herpes, 35% for HPV & 60% for HIV/AIDS. The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

    Parents should research circumcision and make an informed decision for the health & well-being of their son.

    More information can be found at the following sites:

  3. I have a different why I am against banning circumcision. You can read about it here ( ).

  4. The world health organization recommends it.

  5. Eliyahu Ungar Sargon made an interesting film on the topic
    "Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision"

  6. Also,

  7. Isn't "avoidance of ostracism" an unworthy motive for cutting part of a child's genitals off? If the community ostracises someone because of something someone else hasn't done to them, shame on that community! Who do they think they are? Let them mind their own business!

    @G*3: How about the fact that a significant number of men hate the fact that it was done to them? More than 70 have signed up for a class action. Apart from certain harm, the risks, from unaesthetic outcomes all the way to loss of the penis and death, go underreported.

    Bob's figures need context. For example, since less than one in 100 boys gets a UTI, by his own figure, 991 circumcisions in 1000 are wasted. His citations are laughably biased.

    #Jewish philosopher: Only for adult volunteers where AIDS is rampant. The protection (even if genuine) is only for infection by men from women, very rare in the US.

    A small but growing number of Jewish parents are choosing to name their sons without surgery. Contact details for celebrants, including a number of rabbis, are here. One, in New York, has celebrated hundreds.

  8. Hugh7,

    Many people permanently alter the bodies of their children in ways that don't affect the functionality of those bodies, but are done solely for the reason to avoid social ostracism. Such things like altering a deformed ear or nose which funtion totally normally from a medical standpoint but are seen by most in society as being an abnormality.

    I don't see why allowing a parent to alter their minor childs body is acceptable in the above case is acceptable whereas with circumcision doing it for the same reason considered unacceptable. I am willing to change my mind on this, I just haven't been convinced that the differences in either scenario are too far removed or that the effects of circumcision are so negative and harmful to oppose the practice universally.

  9. Skeptitcher Rebbe,

    The above is acceptable because it is a deformity. The foreskin is not a deformity. It is a normal body part. No one is suggesting that medically necessary circumcision is unacceptable. Proxy consent has validity. But altering a child's healthy body to avoid something that may not happen or may not bother the child is bizarre.

    For example, I have red hair. I was mocked for this throughout childhood (and still am, amusingly). Should my parents have forcibly dyed my hair to save me from this social torment? That's not permanent, either. The correct analogy to circumcision, of course, is for them to continue forcibly changing my hair color now based on their opinion of my body, whether I want it or not. Since I can't undo the circumcision they forced on me.

    Yet, I'm indifferent to the ridicule I receive about my hair. Why should I care what my peers think? They can judge me for being who I am, but that doesn't lessen me in any way. I learned that because I was mocked for who I am. It's a cliche, but the social attacks made me stronger, not weaker.

    As for the effects of circumcision, it's objective harm. It's a surgical alteration that removes healthy tissue and nerves. It creates a wound. It leaves scarring. There is a risk of infection and complications from the surgery. And it alters the functioning of the penis. (An objective claim, unlike the subjective question of whether it's better or worse.)

    Does the individual want any of that? I don't. Why should my parents' misguided, inaccurate perception about my body rule over my (lack of) need while I was in their care? As I said, at 37 years old, it's a decision they're effectively still making for me. Permitting that under proxy consent is flawed.

  10. As a common slogan has it, "A foreskin is not a birth defect", and it is very odd to treat it as though it is. (People in the US seem far readier than elsewhere to modify their children for conformity's sake alone, as witness the preoccupation with straight teeth. It may also have to do with the economics of the health care system.)

    Circumcision does affect functionality. I don't imagine you have talked to many intact men in detail about exactly what is conferred by their foreskins. It has been described as "a symphony of sensation" - not just more sensitive, but better sensitive. Cutting off the foreskin, with its ~20,000 nerves specialised for feedback, is like pulling out the accelerator pedal and leaving an on-off switch. You can still get there, but the journey is not as enjoyable.

    Forgotten pain was still pain at the time, and how long does it take to forget? Taddio et al. found circumcised babies react differently to the pain of vaccination, months later. Crimes committed on drugged victims are still crimes, even though they are not remembered.

  11. But its only considered a deformity by social standards not natural ones. The weird looking ear functions just as well as any other ear. If you are indifferent by the ridicule you receive from your hair, why should you try to alter the shape of the ear so that your son or daughter wont be? If it really makes you stronger why is it altered at all if there is no medically necessary purpose? It is for purely social reasons it is altered so why alter it? Deformity is only something you in your society consider abnormal, what is to stop another society from considering it an acceptable deviation?

    I have heard opposite accounts on how sex life after a person had a circumcision was actually improved. More nerve endings doesn't necessarily mean better sex.

    Sex may or may not be more enjoyable with a foreskin, but for those who have one they will never be able to tell what it is like without it. For those without one (even if it was voluntary) will never be able to go back, so its not really like an individual can compare sex life with and without a foreskin and then choose to have his foreskin. So I don't really see that as a strong argument, since comparisons and decisions based on that comparisons with regards to sex are practically impossible.

    Hugh, I would like to see the study by Taddio if you don't mind. I think that is an interesting factor to take into account, as long as I understand what exactly was tested and what the findings were.

  12. One more comment, I just don't really agree that circumcisions really are all that harmful. I am beginning to think that the benefits I am describing are not really all that rational.

    But if I were going to try to force my views on my wife and refuse to let her circumcise my son I think I am going to have to have a really convincing argument for the horrible and terribly harmful thing circumcision is, and as of yet I am not convinced that it is. I still see it as a fairly mild operation with very little functional difference in the person. If it wasn't a common practice and my wife didn't insist on its importance I definitely wouldn't do it but as things are now I don't believe my son will be all that upset or resentful, because it really is not such a big deal IMO.

    If I had convincing evidence that showed beyond a reasonable doubt that circumcision is something that truly is harmful to a child then I would reconsider position on it.

  13. I'm not suggesting I think parents should have surgery on their children if the child has a deformity. I have a family member with a mild birth defect. It hasn't been corrected because there's no need. My only point is that I won't judge parents who face that tough decision for their children. At least they're confronting an abnormality.

    Parents who circumcise their normal children don't face that decision. They're deciding in favor of common at the expense of normal. That's not a valid decision by proxy.

    What is it that's preventing you from seeing the harm of circumcision? I'm genuinely asking because I'd like to persuade you, if you're open to listening. I think you are.

    Circumcision is objective harm. That much is undeniable, as there's a wound after the surgery. I accept that the value of that harm weighed against the claimed benefits is subjective to the individual.

    For me, it's not close. It's a net harm because I don't value the cultural conformity it was meant to confer, and I resent my parents for forcing it on me. But I don't expect that everyone will or should have that opinion. I only expect everyone to understand that anyone could have that opinion. Parents aren't psychic. Imposing their preferences on their child when those preferences do physical harm is wrong because the child may not want the potential, subjective benefits the parents value.

  14. "What is it that's preventing you from seeing the harm of circumcision?
    Circumcision is objective harm. That much is undeniable, as there's a wound after the surgery."

    Well I guess the objective harm as being minimal enough for it not to really matter. To me its like parents who choose to pierce their daughters ears as an infant. There is pain and there is permament scarring to the ears. No medical purpose, only for social reasons, and who knows if the child would want their ears pierced.

    I think your arguments are valid, but there are two main reasons I don't feel that the harm is significant enough for me to be universally against the practice.

    1) While there is scarring, it is "normal" scarring in our society and the pain for infants truly is minimal if the procedure is done properly. My son when he was circumcised cried literally no more than a few seconds, the wound healed in a couple of days, and he didn't show any discomfort in that area since the cut was made.

    2) The pain and distress for those who wish to be circumcised later on in life, even a young child a couple years old is very very high, and the healing process takes weeks and sometimes over a month. If my son did decide, at an age where he could consent, that he wanted to be circumcised, to fit in or for other reasons, I would have to put him through a horribly painful procedure. I know of one Jew who is very upset with his parents for not getting him circumcised since he did want to fit in later in life and the procedure was very painful, he said he could barely walk for weeks. I would much rather spare my child of having to make that decision at all and give him a relatively painless memoryless surgery over that scenario.

    There are no guarantees either way and a son could be equally upset with his parents for either not circumcising him, or for circumcising him. Like you said parents aren't psychic and it is impossible to tell what is the likelyhood for either case, but for a Jewish family it is likely to be higher than for a non Jewish one that the child would rather have a circumcision, but there aren't any garuantees.

    For you it was a net harm, for others it could be a net gain. For me it was a net gain, I probably would have been just as pissed at my parents as you are if they hadn't circumcised me since I would have to go through this grueling process which could have easily been avoided as a child.

    Thus I view the decision from the parents perspective to be basically on neutral grounds. There is a possibility it will be a net gain or loss for the child to circumcise, but it is also possible it will be a net gain or loss for the child to not circumcise. Since the likelyhood of all the cases are unknown I don't feel like there is a general net harm to the procedure and I basically view it as net neutral.

    btw I am enjoying this conversation very much and your comments have been very thoughtful and engaging. Thanks.

  15. If you want Jewish boys to avoid HIV keep them away from Rabbi Yehudda Kolko at Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn, NY.

  16. The facts that pain can be minimal (not entirely verifiable) and not remembered aren't relevant. Such reasons could justify any number of invasive procedures on a child. If you numb him up, you could punch him in the face and do less permanent damage than circumcision. It's an intentionally absurd example, of course, but it gets at my point that all of the extraneous factors we wrap into this discussion distract from the core. The act needs to be judged on its objective facts, not the subjective add-ons each of us value in our own way.

    Yes, I think it's likely that a significant number of boys left intact and raised Jewish would want circumcision. I don't see a conflict there. This isn't about despising circumcision, per se. Whatever might motivate someone to choose it for himself is valid for him. I don't think circumcision itself is automatically bad. But force is. This is about each individual retaining choice over his own (healthy) body.

    In economic terms, the basic concept is that all individual tastes and preferences are subjective. I don't value circumcision. I value not being harmed (however minimally one might judge it). I don't value cultural conformity. I don't value the potential health benefits. And so on. That's my collection of preferences. Yours are different and they're no less valid. But each of our preferences are only valid for ourselves.

    Overall statistics show a different story on what males left intact will likely choose or need. The percentage of circumcision among those men is very small. That's useful for the general population.

    But you raise a valid issue within the ritual subset of circumcision. It's necessary to address this. Again, all individual tastes and preferences are subjective. Circumcision has claimed benefits, claimed harms, and objective harms. Each individual can decide for himself how he weights each item. For Jewish males who would have to choose circumcision later in life, they would decide whether they value the commandment and/or social benefits more than the real physical cost(s). If they choose circumcision, yes, the healing process will be challenging, although I've read anecdotal evidence across the spectrum of possible experiences for adult circumcision. (I wouldn't confine the choice to 18+, just consenting males.) But they will be choosing for themselves that the benefits are more than the costs. Males raised Jewish who later reject circumcision or Judaism entirely are stuck with their parents' choice.

    I think our difference is partially in utilitarian (i.e. community) versus individual thinking. I have no issue with decisions for communal reasons, but the individual is superior in the narrative of rights. He must choose permanent inclusion in a community. Without the option to exit, even if he wouldn't exercise it, it's an issue of force.

    The remaining issue is, of course, our evaluation of the objective harm. I think the comparison to ear piercing is useful, but the difference in degree is significant. Ear piercing doesn't remove a normal, healthy body part. It doesn't alter the functioning of a body part. The loss of the foreskin is a significant portion of the harm. Most boys will come out of circumcision with the typical, intended results, and the wound will heal. But the foreskin will be gone. It won't be there to protect the glans. It won't be there to provide gliding action during sexual activities. The nerve endings are gone. Whether or not these are acceptable is, again, unique to the individual. But they are real, and we can't know what the individual will want.

  17. "Overall statistics show a different story on what males left intact will likely choose or need. The percentage of circumcision among those men is very small. That's useful for the general population."

    Part of the reason that is the case is because the pain involved is tremendous for adults to undertake a circumcision. This is why mild pain in the procedure for an infact is indeed useful information since it is contrasted in relation to the same procedure on an adult where the pain is significantly higher.

    When you don't circumcise an infant who grows up to be an adult who wishes to be circumcised you steal from him the opportunity to have a memoryless and significantly less painful operation to achieve the same results. In my determination the choice that a parent has to circumcise their infant son is a different choice than that an adult has to circumcise himself. He can't choose to have a memoryless, less painful procedure as an infant, that option was only available to his parents who decide whether or not to chose this option for him.

    My preferences are indeed different than yours, but my preferences are as follows in decending order [circumcision as an infant(for myslef)] > [circumcision as an adult] > [No circumcision]

    The likelyhood of my preferences being in line this way was, in my own opinion, rather high seeing as many children from Jewish families do wish to be a part of the Jewish community and in so doing for the most part wish to be circumcised. Their preferences would likely be close to my highest preference, of having my circumcision as an infant.

    But to go even deeper parents are continually given license to decide for their children things that will permanently change and effect their children to a far greater degree than circumcision would. Very often do parents make these decisions for their children based on assumed preferences without the childs consent. Sometimes they get it wrong but many times when the parent is consientious they get it right. Why should this decision be excluded from a parent on the issue of circumcision but not on the countless other more impactful issues such as:

    1) Whether or not they will grow up in a specific religious community or not.
    2) Whether they will be in close contact with many relitives, like grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins or not.
    3) What type of education they will receive.
    4) What (if any) musical instruments they will learn.
    5) What (if any) additional languages they will learn.
    6) What sort of nutrition they will receive as children.
    7) Whether or not they will be immunized against various diseases.
    8) Whether they will be breastfed or bottlefed.

    The list can go on and on. These items permamently affect the child in a much more impactful way than circumcision, most of the time they are done without the childs consent and they are irreversable. The child grows up and is happy with some of the decisions his/her parents made on his/her behalf without his/her consent, sometimes they are unhappy. The same is easily said of circumcision. I am very happy that my parents made the decision that I could never make, to have an infant circumcision, for me.

  18. Tony, a bunch of your previous comments seem very similar to one another. Did you want me to delete any of them for you.

  19. I would agree with you for the most part, basically if I believed that the parents choice to circumcies was the same choice as the individuals to circumcise himself, because the significant differences in pain. If the choice was essentially the same (for example using a special dye that permamently changes your hair color) I would agree with you that this decision should not be up to the parents because the choice can just as easily be given to the child when he can consent. The choice between infant circumcision and no circumcision, and the choice between and adult circumcision and no circumcision is are significantly different choices in my determination. The person can't choose to have a circumcision as an infant.

    Also I believe that the impact of having a circumcision vs not having one is minimal, greater than ear piercings no doubt, but still relatively minor compared to most of the more impactful things parents are warranted to do (and rightfully so) to their children without their consent that are also irreversable.

  20. Yes, please delete them. Google gave me errors for length. I waited and refreshed and nothing showed up, so I assumed they were lost. I apologize for that.

  21. I agree that the pain involved for adults is a reason why more intact males don't choose circumcision. That supports me. They reveal their preference for avoiding pain more than being circumcised. That's instructive. When you circumcise an infant who grows up to be an adult who wishes to be intact, you steal from him the opportunity to have his normal body and no painful operation. There are opportunity costs on both sides. But only in refraining from non-therapeutic circumcising do you allow every individual to get as close to what he wants as possible.

    The problem is assuming that the pain is mild for an infant or milder than adult circumcision. We don't know how different they are, if at all. It's obvious that infants feel pain. How do they process it? Do they want that? That's not an end to the debate, but it looms much larger when the surgery is not needed. The facts that an intervention can be only mildly painful and memoryless are irrelevant. It doesn't add anything to the discussion of ethics.

    It's also worth noting that adults can receive proper pain management tailored to their response and can choose how much skin to remove (and whether or not to remove the frenulum).

    I concede that most Jewish males left intact would ultimately choose circumcision. I think that percentage would decrease over time, but I accept that it will be a majority for a long time. However, I can't accept that we should ignore the minority to avoid a painful choice for the majority. The majority can still get most of what they value. They also might find that their preference changes from:

    [circumcision as an infant] > [circumcision as an adult] > [No circumcision]


    [circumcision as an infant] > [No circumcision] > [circumcision as an adult]

    With infant circumcision, the minority can get none of what they value. Even on utilitarian grounds, defending circumcision doesn't work.

    I think your list of options is useful. I agree, there can be a permanent effect, but that isn't guaranteed. For 1-5, those are not permanent. They can be overcome, with a caveat about the potential death of relatives with whom parents forbid contact. Nutrition and breastfeeding matter, and to a large extent, I think interference with those decisions is wrong. As long as the child is not malnourished, it's a parental decision.

    The only item similar is vaccination. It's an intervention, it carries risk, and it's in essence permanent. However, vaccination deals with diseases that have few, if any, better prevention methods. Unlike circumcision and female-to-male HIV transmission, for example, a child can get measles in the course of normal social interaction. More importantly, vaccinations work with the body's natural functions to kick-start it. Circumcision for health (not really our focus) or social reasons works against the body, changing it to meet beliefs. That's the crux of where it differs and why standards for interfering with parental decision-making are different for the two.

    I disagree that these permanently affect the child in a more impactful way. I was sent to church as a child. I've rejected that. (Disclosure: I'm agnostic.) I was given musical lessons for an instrument I didn't want, so I stopped when I could. As an adult, I'm now learning an instrument I like. I was raised an omnivore, and I'm now a vegan. And so on.

  22. (This is the second half. I'm assuming the first half will show up before this, eventually.)

    I will always be circumcised. And I will always be against it for myself. It can't be overcome. You value circumcision, particularly that it was done to you as an infant. That is correct for you. But your conclusion is not mine, as I know you understand. We all have a basic right to be free from unwanted harm. A person can't choose circumcision in his infancy, but he also can't unchoose a circumcision in his infancy. That's the core fact. Until a child can offer consent, non-therapeutic circumcision is an unethical violation. Proxy consent is invalid.

    There is no corresponding right to grow up* circumcised. Yes, you would have to choose it for yourself, with all of the drawbacks that go with it. Again, that's revealed preferences. It leaves the individual to evaluate and determine his own life. If you value circumcision more, you would suffer for a brief time, but you would ultimately get most of what you want. I will suffer my entire life and never get back any of what I want. I'm stuck with my parents' preference, or at least what they incorrectly assumed I'd want.

    Related: On Monday, you posted Sara Bareilles' "King of Anything". Since I first heard it, that song resonated with me for a parent-child relationship, generally, and circumcision, specifically. For what that's worth...

    * As I stated earlier, with any proposed prohibition on non-therapeutic circumcision of minors, the requirement should not be iron-clad on the age of majority. With the right textual protections against coercion, I'm fine with the individual's consent at whatever age he concludes he wants to be circumcised.

  23. Tony,

    Thank you for your well thought out and elucidative comments. I will have to chew them over a bit.

    I will give you my initial reaction though. First off I think that the permanancy of all of the choices parents make in my list are in the realm of altering you in regards to your mind not your body in general. You will carry with you the connections you make as a child for the rest of your life. Sure you can learn a new language as an adult, but your mental skills will never be able to improve as much as if you had learned it as a child. I do believe that experiences you have as a child will alter your mental state for the rest of your life, either for good or for bad, and I believe a altering a persons mental state is more impactful to their life than the body altering of a circumcision.

    I just simply haven't been convinced that I should universally reject this practice. I think that if I were to agree with your logic, which I think is very reasonable, I would also have to universally reject the practice of infant ear piercings (IEP). It seems to me that you wouldn't reject IEP because of the scale of harm done in your determination is not significant (correct me if I am wrong). I can't see how IEP are different than infant circumcisions in any other way. If the scale of harm done can be a determining factor in whether or not one should reject a procedure of this kind (and I think it is) then I am simply not convinced that the scale of harm is significant enough for me to oppose it. I would oppose other similar procedures whose harm I consider too significant to allow (such as cutting off a childs arm or tattooing disgusting images to a childs face) and I would not oppose practices I don't consider significantly harmful (like IEP, or a small tattoo on an inconspicuous part of an infants body assuming doing so doesn't make the child look abnormal, or circumcision).

    As you said earlier:

    "The remaining issue is, of course, our evaluation of the objective harm. I think the comparison to ear piercing is useful, but the difference in degree is significant"

    Who gets to decide where to draw that line of where the degree of significance lies? I think it is hard to tell where it does and circumcision may be close to where that line gets hazy or it may not. I still am unsure about it being ok but I am also not convinced that it is unethical.

  24. "... You will carry with you the connections you make as a child for the rest of your life. ..."

    I don't want to give the impression that I disagree with that. I probably did, since I was nonchalant on discarding some of my parents' decisions. I do carry the connections. We're all a collection of our experiences, not just the ones we like/choose/etc. Is it better to say "reduce the permanence" or "lessen the effect" of past parental decisions, or something like that? I still think that's different from circumcision, since I can't undo any of its effects.

    Regarding IEP, I think parents shouldn't do it. It carries risk of infection. The incidence is rare but awful when it occurs. I think it treats children like dress-up dolls rather than children. Parents aren't considering that their children will one day be independent people with their own preferences. I've met women who wish their parents hadn't pierced their ears. Not many, but they exist. (Like circumcision, it should be allowed when there's consent, not the age of majority.)

    As for a prohibition, it's tricky. I'd support it, and I think it's justified. But it's not a battle I'm interested in fighting, precisely because the difference between it and non-therapeutic circumcision is significant.

    Drawing a line on significance is about objective facts. I think the line has both on the same side, against. If it's somewhere between the two, it's not so much about where that line is or who decides, but why it's drawn between them. Ear piercing affects a normal body part and exposes the recipient to some risk. Circumcision removes a normal body part, denying aspects of the human experience to the individual.

    I respect your need to ponder our discussion and will not try to convince you further. We've hit the bulk of the discussion, anyway. I obviously hope my position will eventually convince you. Regardless, I commend you for thinking. I rarely encounter anyone who supports proxy consent for non-therapeutic circumcision who is willing to think. Most proponents already "know" everything (i.e. a subset of facts with many errors) they need to know. Thank you for being decent.

  25. Tony,

    I have really enjoyed all of your comments. I commend you for your consistency and I think your reasoning is totally sound. Like I said earlier I will have to dwell on this some more before I can make a decision, but you have given me a lot to think about, and who knows I may very well oppose this practice in the future. But like all things I think all people should take their time with developing their beliefs and should do so with the utmost care, which I can see you have done with your position on circumsision.

    I don't think I have really anything more to say on the subject either. Again thank you for the engaging conversation and for visiting and reading my blog. I really do appreciate it and love discussing difficult issues like this with open minded, thoughtful and respectful people such as yourself.

    Take care and have a wonderful winter season.

  26. How delightfully refreshing to see a thoughtful and respectful dialog between opposing parties on a hot-button topic that never devolved into puerile and pugnacious exchanges. Thank you both for restoring a bit of my faith in humanity and true discourse!

  27. I'm against it for a very simple reason: bodily autonomy, which I consider sacrosanct (as far as an atheist can, anyway). People (and that includes infants) have the absolute right to decide what gets done to their bodies. Since an infant obviously can't make such a decision, the only ethical procedures are critical, life-saving ones. Others must wait until they are old enough to decide on their own. Surely that's not too much to ask?

    Suppose it were considered socially important to give an infant a giant facial tattoo that marks them out forever, regardless of their later wishes. What would we make of that?

    With the case of the deformed ear, again we must wait. Perhaps the child will not consider it so bad after all. Perhaps in the future such things will be accepted. Perhaps in the future there will be better ways to fix it. Who knows? Not us.

    I submit that parents who surgically modify their children without permission are placing their own social discomfort over the wellbeing of their child.

  28. I don't think circ should be banned for adults who choose to do it for themselves. I do think parents should not have unnecessary surgeries done on infants. especially not in synagogues with parties and smiles while the infant cries for help. I relented and had it done for my son after about a month because it would have cost me my marriage and my kids didn't deserve that.