How to Prevent Forced Retraction at the Doctor's Office
These tips will be helpful in keeping your son protected from forced retraction.
Use the Your Whole Baby Intact Friendly Doctor List to find a doctor in your area. If there is not a doctor in your area or one that fits the needs of your family, be sure to ask the doctor to specifically describe care of the foreskin before s/he examines your child. Find out if the doctor encourages manipulation of the foreskin in any form. (This list is meant to guide you in finding a great doctor for your son and family, but you still need to be vigilant and ask about their practices. For example, sometimes a parent will recommend a doctor who is great with newborns, not realizing that they push retraction at the preschool age.)
Send any doctor who might examine your child a preventing forced retraction brochure to help ensure the office is well versed in care of the intact penis. (Or, even better, print one and hand deliver it.)
Ask your doctor to read and sign an Intact Care Agreement.
Prior to your son’s diaper being removed by a medical professional, inform them that they may not manipulate your son’s foreskin in any way. Stand close to the doctor and your son to ensure that no manipulation occurs.
Establish a “look, but do not touch” policy where during visits the doctor may use only their eyes to examine your son’s penis. Stand in close proximity to your son and the doctor to ensure this is followed.
You might also consider establishing a more cautious “diaper on” policy. Ask that your son’s chart indicate that his diaper is to remain on during visits unless he has an issue with the genital area that requires examination. In this case, be sure to remind the doctor not to retract the foreskin and stand close by to ensure this is followed. For visits where the diaper area is not a concern, be sure to remind the medical professional before they begin the exam that child’s diaper is to stay on.
Do not go into the appointment assuming that your doctor wouldn’t attempt to retract your child’s foreskin. A good portion of the complaints we receive about forced retraction are about doctors who had not previously tried to manipulate the child’s foreskin. Be on guard. Assume the doctor will try to retract and act accordingly before the situation is one that can’t be reversed.
Be brave. Doctors can be intimidating. They can try to make you doubt yourself. Speaking up and being assertive can make your hands and your voice shake, especially for a new, first-time parent. Know that the information you have is correct. If you are bullied, it is due to the insecurity and ego of the doctor and not something you are doing wrong. You know your child better than anyone and you must advocate for him. Stand your ground and protect his body.