Complications of Infant Male Genital Cutting:
Haemorrhage (bleeding)

Patel found 35 cases of haemorrhage from 100 circumcisions, mainly just oozing, but a baby's body has pitifully little blood (a breakfast-cup to a soft-drink can full, 300-350ml), and so a tiny loss, 30ml, about two tablespoons, may call for a blood transfusion.


Circumcised baby 'almost died'


14 June 2000 Daily Telegraph
(Sydney, Australia)

A SYDNEY GP circumcised 14 infant boys without adequate anaesthetic and caused one baby to "almost bleed to death", a tribunal heard yesterday.

Dr Aladdin Matter is accused of professional misconduct over the circumcisions of the babies, aged from 32 days to eight months at his Greenacre rooms between March 1996 and July 1998.

The Health Care Complaints Commission alleges the procedures were contrary to a condition of his registration imposed by the Medical Board in 1996. The commission alleges in circumcising an eight-month-old boy, identified as Child N, on May 31 1997, Dr Matter: failed to provide adequate analgesia or anaesthetic; removed an excessive amount of the outer foreskin; failed to remove part of the inner foreskin; failed to stop the bleeding and failed to provide adequate post-operative care.

"He (the baby) was admitted to the New Children's Hospital, having almost bled to death," Lisa Stapleton for the commission alleged.

The hearing continues.

(September 17, 2000)
Dr Matter was convicted and banned from medical practice for three years.

Real headline: 1 in 10 cut babies suffers bleeding complications

The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, Vol 31, 2018, issue 11, pp 1513-1516 https://doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2017.1319931

Circumcision bleeding complications: neonatal intensive care infants compared to those in the normal newborn nursery

Abigail R. Litwiller, Courtney Browne, David M. Haas


Purpose: To determine if a significant difference exists in the bleeding complications following circumcision in neonates admitted to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) versus the normal newborn nursery (NNN).

Materials and methods: Observational cohort study of 260 infants undergoing circumcision with Gomco clamp. Vitamin K was given to neonates at delivery. Demographic data, procedural characteristics, bleeding complications, and interventions were recorded. The bleeding rates of the two groups were compared using chi square.

Results: NICU neonates experienced increased bleeding complications versus NNN neonates (22% vs. 9.6%, p = .029 [So at least one baby in 10 suffers bleeding complications wherever the cutting is done. Are parents told of this?]). No differences were found regarding gestational age at delivery, age at circumcision, and birth weight. Neonates with circumcision performed at ≥5 days of life experienced increased rates of bleeding complications versus those performed at ≤4 days (28% vs. 10.3%, p =  .023). All neonates with circumcision performed ≥5 days of life were initially admitted to the NICU.

Conclusion: NICU neonates had increased rate of bleeding complications following circumcision when compared to the NNN neonates. [The ethical question arises whether infants in intensive care should ever be subjected to {parentally} elective surgery. The answer should be obvious.] There was an increased rate of bleeding complications in neonates who undergo circumcision at ≥5 days of life. [This gives the lie to the claim that the risk of bleeding is least on the 8th day.] Further research may help to determine if redosing of vitamin K or variations in the circumcision procedure are necessary for circumcision at >4 days of life. [No further research is needed to determine that babies who aren't cut don't bleed.]

They forgot one huge myth; the myth that circumcision itself is a safe procedure. It nearly killed my son. He was a perfectly healthy, normal baby, I brought him home after the plastibell procedure, and his wound never stopped slowly oozing blood. After his nap, I changed his diaper and it was like a crime scene. He needed a blood transfusion and emergency surgery to save his life. It is not a risk free procedure, it is surgery on a tiny infant! He is ok now, although he had issues with adhesions for over 2 years.

Jessica S. on Pregnancy Beat, February 26, 2013


... My husband and I took Quinn to have his circumcision performed at the office of a recommended urologist. We naively believed that this was “just a routine procedure”. ... Quinn was strapped down and the doctor numbed his penis. He screamed in pain and I felt my stomach drop. A few minutes later the doctor did the cut and the nurse commented, “That’s a beauty.” The doctor invited my husband to take a look seemingly proud of what he had just done. ... my mom took Quinn into my room to change his diaper before we sat down to dinner. I heard my mom yell for me in a frantic voice. I rushed in to see what was alarming her and was shocked to see Quinn had bleed through his cloth diaper and the diaper cover. There was a lot of blood and it was still oozing out of the circumcision site. ... I called Quinn’s pediatrician. He instructed us to apply very firm pressure to his penis for 10 minutes and if the bleeding did not stop to go to the emergency room. ... By the time we got to the ER Quinn had lost a lot more blood. I was holding him in the waiting room and my jeans were soaked with his blood, the blanket I had wrapped him in was soaked with blood, his little socks were soaked with blood. ... he was losing more blood and was answered with “Mmm.” I then questioned why Quinn was looking so pale and why his lips were turning blue. The EMT responded “There could be a lot of reasons for that.” ... When we finally arrived at the next ER the paramedic on duty there took one look at Quinn and said “His color is awful. We need to get an IV in this baby right away.” They put in the IV and placed an oxygen mask on my baby’s face. ... I looked down to see his car seat full of blood. ... The urologist that had performed the circumcision came in and placed four sutures in Quinn’s penis. He had cut the frenula[r] artery when performing the original surgery. The bleeding finally stopped. ... due to his rapid heart rate and breathing as well as his listless state that I needed to call 911 right away and go back to the ER with Quinn. ... We were then sent by ambulance to a hospital with a pediatric unit. We were admitted to the hospital and spent 23 hours there being observed. ... He lost 5 ounces and needed to show the doctors that he could eat well before we could go home. The next two weeks we had follow up appointments and more blood work to make sure Quinn’s hemoglobin and hematocrit continued to rise. He has to take iron supplements until his levels are normal again. All of this because we believed the LIE that circumcision is “just a simple procedure.” ... I believe Quinn is alive today because my midwife let his cord pulse. He had that extra blood in his little body and it acted as his safety net. Our family was blessed with another son 15 months after Quinn’s birth. Ezra remains intact as will any future sons.

Holly Lowmiller on Facebook, May 10, 2013


Unreported bleeding, ex Facebook

Facebook, August 23, 2013


''He nearly died''

Facebook, December 31, 2013


Baby with anaemia from loss of blood

Facebook, June 26, 2014


Had to be cauterised - took three hours

Facebook, June 30, 2014


...complications...doing blood transfusion

Facebook, July 15, 2014


...bled horribly...through 2 diapers...drs said it was fine

Facebook, July 17, 2014

bloody diaper of boy in Tennessee ''my granson bout bled to death''

Bleeing in Florida - 3 diapers, 3 medical treatments + homeopathy

''back to ER''

haemorrhage in Kentucky
Unsurprisingly, the grandmother delected this picture
after negative comments were made about genital cutting.

haemorrhage in Nebraska

bleeding-''gone wrong''
- Saving Our Sons, Facebook, October 1, 2015

- Facebook, October 12, 2015

6 years ago today. It's safe to say this was the worst day of my life. I had done a lot of research. I knew circumcision was not necessary, and had serious risks of complications. I shared this information with Hunter's dad, who refused to hear me. I later found out that his insistence on getting our son circumcised was based on his (entirely incorrect) assumption that I had cheated with an uncircumcised man and "liked it better". Not even going to start on how many levels of creepy that assumption is. That assumption is the reason my baby almost died. We did everything right. Found the best pediatric urologist to do the procedure. Got the vitamin K shot. The procedure went perfectly. I didn't suspect anything wrong, even when there was a bit of bleeding in his diaper when we got home. We took a 5 hour nap, and I woke up to a nightmare. His diaper was saturated with blood. I held pressure on him while dry heaving and calling the doctor, who sent us straight to the ER. By the time we got there, he had bled through another diaper. By the time they took his blood, he was lethargic and didn't even cry. The next few hours were a whirlwind. Blood transfusion. Emergency surgery. If he hadn't been such a chubby 11 pound boy, he wouldn't have made it with the blood he lost. There was no underlying cause. No bleeding disorder, no hemophilia. Just a healthy baby boy who nearly died from a common procedure. If you're pregnant with a baby boy, or plan on having kids in the future, please research this. Please don't put your little boy through this. Don't put yourself through this. Please feel free to share this on the public page.
- Jess Walls on Intact America's Facebook page, November 2, 2015

compoic- ''he lost tons of blood ''
- Facebook, December 30, 2015 (original post deleted)
bleeding - "he is screaming bloody murder an shaking"

(Her first reaction was to take pictures and post them to Facebook. In her defence, she was lied to about what to expect, as she was lied to about pain.)
The baby was put in the ICU where he was in a critical condition.

- Facebook, February 25, 2016
''...they hit an artery...his bleeding would not stop...''

Complications, bleeding "a Pamper full of blood"
Briefly on Facebook, April 17, 2016

complic-bleeding all day
- Reddit, May 31, 2016

bleeding ''a diaper full of blood''
- Facebook, June 12, 2016
bleeding- two diapers soaked withf blood

complic-bleed ''hemorrhaged three times yesterday''
- The Village Midwife, LLC Facebook page, October 2, 2017
complic-bleedx3 ''Dr screwed it up...both my sons had mishaps''

post-op-cautery''the nurse tried to hide the blood-filled diaper''

estremely traumatic ''His whole diaper was filled with blood'' ''They weren't expecting his foreskin to be so long and thick''
Why were they "not expecting his foreskin to be so long and thick"? It was right there in front of them. This is just blaming the victim.
baby after botched genital cutting
botched genital cutting
An unfiltered copy of this picture is behind a warning here.
Attorney David J Llewellyn, who specialises in botched male genital cutting cases, comments:

"Indeed it is lawsuit time. The reason the foreskin was "so long and thick" is that it was both foreskin and his shaft skin bunched up by the action of the dartos fascia layer directly under the skin. That is the reason for the bleeding, the stitches, the dehiscence, and the excessive bleeding. He will probably need reconstructive surgery. Outrageous. I would be happy to speak with these parents. BTW, they have been deceived by both the operator and the ER doc. These cases are quite common, not rare, IMO."

bleeding -''his diaper alsmost fell off him''
- Facebook, April 29, 2020
After a "perfect" operation...
''he started having periods when he would stop breathing''
This give the lie to the claim that with a well-chosen surgeon all will always be well.

Image: a blood-soaked diaper Text: "My sweet seeet boy was circumicised today and the doctor MESSED UP. 
                               My poor baby was bleeding for hours, wouldn't eat, wouldn't stop crying, turned completely pale,                                wouldn't stop rolling his eyes back in his head, his heart rate kept dropping. IT WAS TERRIFYING. 
                               This was the worst decision of my life and I can't believe I put him through that.                                We were in the ER for 7 hours, the bleeding stopped, his colour came back, and he was finally eating. 
                               We're home now and he's doing okay [heart] I guess I'm just posting this to say I will neer judge someone                                for choosing to or choosing not to circumcise.. But just think long and hard if it's worth it. 
                               I wish I had never done this to him and I feel like the shittiest mother alive.                                He would have been just fine without it. [broken heart]
- August 2023
Why this exaggerated fear of judging, even to the point of both-sidesing the issue? Deciding to cut a sensory organ off your perfect baby is a single issue, and should be open to judgement. This hands-off attitude leaves babies and men at the mercy of parental whims.

(33 cases of excessive bleeding)

If a baby proves to be haemophilic (having blood that doesn't clot, leading to uncontrollable bleeding), circumcising him can be catastrophic.

Damon Courtenay was born in Sydney in 1966:

By the time we'd had Damon home ten days and he was due to be taken back to hospital for his circumcision, we were into a routine. ... I think it was simply a common social custom which we took more or less for granted, happy to let the hospital undertake the inconsequential operation. After Brett and Adam, we knew circumcision wasn't a big deal and we brought Damon straight back home from the hospital.

[That night at a wedding reception, his father has a premonition and they hurry home.]

I pulled the blanket away from my sleeping son and reached down for him. Then I saw that his nappy was soaked with blood.

Damon proved to be haemophilic. He was given an HIV-infected blood transfusion some time before 1985 and died of AIDS complications on April 1, 1991, hence the title of his father's book about him:

- April Fool's Day: A Modern Love Story
by Bryce Courtenay
(Also sold as April Fool's Day: a Modern Tragedy

No test of blood-clotting is usually done before genital cutting, so for these parents, uncontrollable bleeding from the wound was their first inkling that anything was wrong.

Parents of boys with haemophilia, who learnt of it when they were cut
- Hemophilia mother on Facebook, May 1, 2015
(17 cases of haemophilia disclosed by genital cutting. There are less traumatic ways of finding out.)

Degloving and haemorrhage

LiveJournal, June 5, 2008

He had his circumcision yesterday and it was a NIGHTMARE.

... The procedure was done so we waited 10 or so minutes before he was to be checked again being told he was the first baby they had seen never cry during all of it. My doctor came back to check to see if there was any bleeding and as soon as he took the bandage off there was a lot of blood. The skin of the shaft had beccome completely seperated which i was told can sometimes happen but from the head to the shaft skin was almost a full inch! His skin was almost completely at the base of his penis. I watched as the docter tried pulling it up and could only help but think that it didn't seem normal for it too be that bad.

... They strapped him down again and we watched as the put a gel foam on him to adhere the shaft to the head. Screaming at this point, bleeding all over and me by this point lactating all over the place, practically through my breast pads. The gel foam took and they wanted us to stay another half hour.

... We stopped at the store for gauze and Vaseline and let him sleep for 10 minutes when we got home before i checked him and tried to ready him for a full feeding.

I opened his diaper to find that he had soaked through the guaze already and i had to get 2 napkins to control the bleeding. I yelled at my fiance to get the car to we could go to the hospital. Of course we get there, had to register, see the triage nurse, do insurance crap and FINALLY get into pediatric ER.

Doctors come in to see him and he is GUSHING blood, soaking gauzes, and they give me more gauze and tell me apply pressure here & there and then leave the room. At this point it is just my fiance and I with my screaming little boy holding him down watching him bleed all over. He's hungry again, I'm lactating like crazy again and we have to keep calling the doc's back in because he's going through so much gauze. I asked the doctors about stitching and the likeliness of it happening. One response was "Oh no, that wouldn't fix this".

... there were other kids in there but with (by the looks of it) only sprains and such. Not any others bleeding profusely. Especially not any babies. You'd think we'd get more attention. All the while asking me if any blood diseases ran in my family on the ocassion that they did come in. (Which they don't and i explained this 5 or 6 times)

... AGAIN NO HELP and me furious that nothing had been done yet, him still bleeding and i can't hold him and feed him.

So i get pissed and after a good 45-60 minutes of all of this and i said seriously, what the fuck are you waiting for?! Then they tell me that they are waiting for the right size suture. We had to demand to know this, were never informed. Then more waiting....and more aking from us of what the hell the hold up is. "Oh, we're still waiting for the sutures." FINALLY, the urologist comes in, straight to the point looks at it and knows he need a stitch or two because guess what.... THEY NICKED AN ARTERY. An artery! Which of course would explain the pumping blood and prove my other doctors IDIOTS.

The urologist and the lady with him were very quick to access and close him up, saving the day. They were kind, explained everything that was going on and very reassuring that he'd be okay. I had to watch him be stitched up at 6:30 close to almost 2 hours after we had gotten to the ER. Bleeding stopped almost immediately when they closed the artery and almost had to so his shaft so it would stay up. The bed, a pile of guaze, the bed, his clothes,blanket and myself all covered in blood. He was real pale so then they hooked him up to an IV and kept him on it for an hour and a half.

... Needless to say i am beyond upset. I was a scary calm the whole time and a nurse even commented on me 'taking this so well' being a first time mom. I couldn't cry, i couldn't do anything....i had to worry about keeping my son together because no one else was!

Oh, and then [the father] overheard the urologist say to the doctors that if my son had bled for 15 more minutes he would have gone into shock.

... How often do things like this happen with this procedure?



Back to the Complications page.
Back to the Intactivism index page.