Babies’ foreskins used to make cosmetics. Is this ethical?

The question of whether or not to circumcise their newborn baby boy is often the first of many life-altering decisions parents makes on behalf of their baby. Whether you find yourself for or against circumcision is not the subject of this article (though it could be a subset of it). The issue in question is whether or not it’s ethical to use babies’ foreskins in the making of cosmetics.

What happens to a baby boy’s foreskin after it’s removed in the hospital? Naturally, you might think that it is disposed of with other “medical waste,” but as I recently learned, that’s not always the case. There is, in fact, big money to be made in the foreskin business, not just the money gained from the removal, but from what becomes of the foreskin after the fact. Laura Hopper, a midwife who blogs at Alternative Birth Services recently wrote that wrinkle treatments are being made using American babies’ foreskins. Hopper quotes two articles, both detailing the use of baby foreskin in the cosmetic industry. From Acroposthion:

The most disturbing and alarming [controversy] is in the unethical trafficking of neonate foreskins. Not only do parents of North American baby boys have to pay between $200 to $300 to obstetricians to circumcise their boys that no sooner are the circumcised foreskins cut off that they are sold on to bio-engineering and cosmetics companies by the hospitals.

The resale value of neonate foreskins is astronomically dizzying in that from one boy’s foreskin can be grown bio-engineered skin in a lab to the size of a football field. That’s 4 acres of new skin or around 200,000 units of manufactured skin, which is enough skin to cover about 250 people and sells at $3,000 a square foot. Considering that there are 1.25 million neonate foreskins circumcised each year in the U.S alone this translates to one of the most lucrative trades, if not THE most lucrative trade in human body parts ever in the history of humanity.

Hopper ends her post saying, “Wake up people, your children are being exploited for profit.”

I have to believe that many parents wouldn’t stand for such a thing if they knew it was going on. Although I chose to leave my son’s penis intact, I would never think to ask my doctor, “What is going to happen with my son’s foreskin after it’s removed?” But surely parents have to consent to this sort of thing, don’t they? Is it listed in the fine print somewhere on the parental surgical consent form? If it’s not, is this ethical?

Jennifer Lance at Eco Child’s Play seemed shocked herself at the news when she wrote WTF? Baby Boys’ Circumcised Foreskins Used for Wrinkle Treatments and said, “Glad my son’s foreskin is still where it belongs on his penis and not injected into some old woman’s face looking for the fountain of youth.”

According to Summer Minor who blogs at Wired for Noise, the use of baby foreskin to make cosmetics isn’t anything new. Back in 2007, she wrote Human Foreskins are Big Business for Cosmetics.

Foreskin fibroblasts are used to grow and cultivate new cells that are then used for a variety of purposes. From the fibroblasts new skin for burn victims can be grown, skin to cover diabetic ulcers, and controversially it is also used to make cosmetic creams and collagens. One foreskin can be used for decades to grow $100,000 worth of fibroblasts.

Minor reports that back in 2007 concern was growing over the ethics behind using human foreskin for cosmetic purposes. “One such cosmetic company, SkinMedica is raising a stir over their use of the growth hormone left over from growing artificial skin from foreskin fibroblasts.”

SkinMedica, which sells for over $100 for a 63-oz. bottle, was made famous by Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters. Winfrey in fact has promoted SkinMedica several times on her show and website. Discussions about the ethics of using human foreskins for vanity have been circulating on the web but there has not been a response from Winfrey on this debate.

According to an article by Amanda Euringer on The Tyee, “in a discussion on Mothering.com, one querent asked, ‘If the cream was made from the bi-product of baby afro-American clitoral skin, would Oprah still be promoting it?’ There’s no answer to that question on Mothering or Winfrey’s site, and Winfrey declined The Tyee’s request for an interview.” Go figure.

There are uses for removed foreskin that may seem slightly less controversial like using it to create bio-engineered skin for burns, persistent leg ulcers, bed sores, reconstructive surgery and other skin problems. The Foreskin Mafia writes, “Now, circumcision really does have health benefits, only it’s not the baby boys who are losing parts of their penises who benefit.”

In case you are wondering if your cosmetics were made from foreskins, it’s not as easy as looking for the word “foreskin” in the ingredients. After all the foreskin is not actually an ingredient, but is used as a culture to grow other cells which are then used in the cosmetic. The ingredient you are looking for is likely called Tissue Nutrient Solution or TNS™, human collagen or human fibroblast.

What do you think? If you circumcised your son, do you care what happened to his foreskin after it was removed? Is it ethical to use babies’ foreskins for cosmetic purposes? Is this money maker part of a conspiracy to encourage Americans to continue circumcising their sons?

Thanks to Heather Farley who blogs at It’s All About the Hat for bringing this issue to my attention in the first place.

Cross-posted on BlogHer

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107 thoughts on “Babies’ foreskins used to make cosmetics. Is this ethical?”

  1. I think that many parents do assume it is tossed out as medical waste, I know that before I had just assumed that was the case. For me the money making aspect of it only fuels my inner cynic on why so many push so hard for circumcision.

  2. I am actually releived to have two girls and to never have to decide whether or not to circumcise. However, this is just another reason why I dont think I would. I just have one question from the article… do obstetricians really perform the circumcisions? Shouldnt it be a pediatrician? What does an OB know about penises?

  3. I wondered about that too, but I found this online so I guess it is not off base to say that an OB performs the circ.:
    Newborn circumcisions are usually done by the obstetrician or family doctor who delivers the baby. A number of nurse-midwives do circumcisions, also. In some regions of the US it is the pediatricians, instead of the obstetrical practitioners, who do them. Urologists generally only do circumcisions on older children and adults (under general anesthesia), and occasionally on newborns with unusual anatomy.

  4. Wow. I am so glad that I read this post. Luckily my husband and I did make the decision to leave our boys intact. I had no idea that anyone was taking the foreskin and doing anything with it, let alone making cosmetics with it! That is truly disgusting. At least I know what I need to avoid if I ever go shopping for anti-wrinkle cream.

  5. This is only exploiting babies if parents have them circumcised so that they can sell the foreskin to a lab. If a bit of skin that’s otherwise going to be incinerated can be used to treat burn victims, and part of the research for burn/ulcer treatments is funded by cosmetic treatments, so what?

  6. My son’s ped performed his circ, and I don’t care what happened to the foreskin afterwards. I think that if the tissue could be used for other purposes, like skin regeneration (for any use, really) then that’s great. I don’t like waste of any kind, and since we made the decision to circ I’m glad the removed skin could benefit someone else. It’s not like we needed it for anything.

  7. ICK! OMG ick ick ick ick ick

    As to the question of who does it, in the hospital where I delivered circs were done by pediatricians. We were referred to a urologist because our son had a “partial natural circumcision” which the pediatrician did not feel competent to handle (which resulted in not circumcising our child).

  8. I had my son circumcised for a variety of reasons. Looking back, knowing what I know now, I might have waited and let him choose to do so when he was older, but I likely would have still had it done. My father was not circumcised as a baby, and chose to have it done as an adult. I’ve been sexually involved with one uncircumcised man, and he was always quite self-conscious about it because all the other guys were circumcised.

    Beyond the ick factor of baby boy penis parts being in cosmetics (so glad I use minimal cosmetics and none are the type that would use that!), I really am not concerned about what was done with my son’s discarded foreskin. Medical research must be funded in some way, and if it’s funded by cosmetic companies, I honestly sometimes think that’s better than it being funded by drug companies who push pill after pill regardless of the consequences.

  9. Wow! I never would’ve thought that my son’s foreskin would end up anywhere, especially on someone or injected in someone. I personally don’t feel there’s anything ethically wrong w/this. If something good can come of his foreskin, why not cultivate it and help burn victims or people who are interested in cosmetic enhancement. I sure wish the hospital would’ve informed me about this harvesting. I’d like to know how many hospitals participate in this matter. I think I’ll ask my OBGYN since she’s the one who circumcised my son. I’ll see her soon and I’ll let you what I find out.

  10. It’s funny that you mention placentas JessTrev, I saw the most disturbing thing, a placenta hair treatment in my local priceline. It did say from animals but still makes you wonder eh?

  11. Sarah, That’s kind of sad, since most animals eat their placentas. I wonder how they obtain them.

    And wow about the foreskins. I had never heard of this. It’s shocking. My boy is intact, but had he been circumsized, I’d hate to think that a piece of his intimate, private body part was being exploited in such a manner. I’m truly shocked.

  12. I was a cosmetologist for several years and it is well known in the industry that placentas and foreskins are used in hair products. They do make some of the best conditioners. The placentas generally come from cows or other agro-industrial animals. Some companies contract with medical waste groups to obtain the foreskins, I’m not sure what other source their might be. I don’t think parents are ever told that their child’s foreskin could end up in conditioner. One one hand, these things are discarded medical waste. If one is doing a circumcision for religious reasons I doubt that their parts end up on the market, but for the average family that circumcises so that Johnny will look like daddy, I’m not sure I understand what the outrage would be. I would think it would be no different than fingernail clippings. Maybe its just because its from the genitals. We seem to hold them in a different regard from say fingernails or hair clippings (both of which are often recycled into other products like garden fertilizer or wigs) On the other hand, there is a definite ick factor for some people. Even though I have no moral or philosophical issue with using placentas or foreskins in cosmetics, I didn’t use them when I worked in the salon. I wouldn’t want someone putting placenta on my head without my knowledge and I didn’t feel like having that conversation with every client that got a deep conditioning treatment.

  13. Oh my WORD, makes you wonder what else they’re taking. “Ah well, they won’t need this anymore, so let’s make some money on it” Uh, sorry, I don’t THINK so. If it can grow that much skin, I’d rather it go to help people who need it, burn victims and the like, but not for cosmetics!?!?!?! Seriously?????

  14. The question of whether or not the selling of discarded foreskins (or placentas, or any other “medical waste”) seems to me to be only half the issue. The more important question for me is how does this income stream factor into both individual doctor’s and hospitals promotion of circumcision, since we know this procedure is entirely elective and completely medically unnecessary?

  15. Whoa! You’ve got to be kidding. Wait, no, I’m not surprised at all. Aside from the obvious ICK factor, I feel as though parents electing this procedure should be aware. Thanks for bringing up such an interesting issue, I’m happy to have found your blog.

  16. I didn’t circumcise my son.

    If I had, I would have happily consented to using the foreskin for medical purposes. Growing skin for people who need it seems like a worthy endeavour, and it’s not as if I would be using the foreskin for other purposes. However, I would expect to be asked, and I wouldn’t consent to using foreskins for cosmetic purposes.

    I will say this story causes me to view circumcision in a different light. It causes me to think that it’s still subtly encouraged for financial gain. I think that would be highly unfortunate, if it were true.

  17. Ok, that’s just gross. We go to extreme lengths in our country to preserve our youthful look. It’s insane.

    Don’t know what happened to my son’s foreskin. Something I’ve never thought about. Very interesting topic.

    -FringeGirl

  18. I’d say if you are going to circ, at least the skin is going to a good use; however, you being charged, and someone else making a profit is unethical. If it were more like a blood donation, it would be a different story, but it is not!

    Also, as a footnote, both the pediatricians we asked when making this decision for our son (experienced, career pediatricians, both male, and one who is Jewish) told us flat out that it is medically unnecessary, but they’d do it if that was our wish. I won’t comment on our decision as I feel that is private, but I can tell you I was surprised by their answers!

  19. Okay, yuck. That idea is just gross. But as a biology person, I’m wondering what’s so special about foreskin that it’s used for wrinkle treatments? Is it that it’s new skin? Is it the only baby skin people can get their hands on?

    Seeing as it is skin, they’re growing skin cells, not like a whole bunch of foreskins, but still, that’s pretty gross. Do these wrinkle treatments advertise that’s where they came from? I wouldn’t think people would buy it, but then again I wouldn’t think people would buy products made out of placenta, but they do.

    My only bone of contention is in the first quote: a football field is not four acres, I’m almost positive. To me, a scientifically literate person, it makes me question that whole quote, especially the data provided there.

    Finally, just to play devil’s advocate: Would the reaction be different if the skin was used to treat burn victims? Just wondering. We have the right to choose to donate organs and tissues, why not give people the option to donate foreskin if they would like? Or at least inform them of the intended use and give them the right to refuse.

  20. Abbie – Thanks for pointing that out. I have no idea how big a football field is, but i just looked it up – “When you include the full length of the field plus the end zones, a football field is 1.32 acres.” So you are right in that that quote is misleading or just plain wrong. Hmm.

    I do think people should be allow to donate their foreskin if they like, but I don’t think most ppl are informed that it will be donated. And is it really a “donation” if the hospital makes a profit off of selling it after the parents just paid to have it removed?

  21. Abbie – Oh, and yes, I found in my reading that it only works with new baby foreskin because of certain properties the brand new skin has. It doesn’t work with older foreskin. (That’s not very scientific, but hopefully answers your question.)

  22. I figured there must be something special about newborn skin. And I agree, it’s not really a donation if the hospital is profiting. Really sad that they couldn’t legally sell a kidney or lung, but can sell an innocent baby’s foreskin. I think a letter-writing campaign to our politicians is in order. I think you’re just the blogger to get it started 🙂

    Just one more reason to skip the traditional cosmetics!

  23. I don’t have an opionion whether I think it is ethical or not. I do know or rather remember reading years ago that Eric Estrada, (Ponch from CHiPS) had his sons foreskin bronzed so he could where it as a necklace piece. Now that just grosses me out

  24. I find it interesting that so many of you (who I would guess are most likely in the liberal political camp) find this practice disgusting and unethical, but might not know that aborted fetuses’ tissue is also used in cosmetics and shampoo and has been for a long time. To me, that’s another good reason to be pro-life. Think about that one, guys!

  25. I do think it’s pretty gross, but I’m not against it at all. I am completely 100% against circumcising boys for a non-medical reason, but using the foreskin for beauty products? Eh. Whatever works.

  26. I wouldn’t circumcize my child, either boy or girl.

    And to the pro-lifer who doesn’t use cosmetics that contain aborted fetuses–if you’ve had any vaccinations, you probably have had aborted fetus INJECTED into you. Pro-life, indeed.

  27. Susan brought up a seemingly innocuous point,
    “I am actually relieved to have two girls and to never have to decide whether or not to circumcise.”
    I know she wasn’t thinking about it, but in countries where girls are “circumcised”, many of the same reasons are given as for why boys should be circumcised:
    Sexual reasons (became popular during the Victorian era to curb masturbation. How did that work out?)
    “It’s dirty if you don’t.” A bath here and there is a well-known cure for dirt.
    “Look like me” or “it was done to me” is hardly a good standard for any parenting decision.

    If we wouldn’t do it to our girls, let’s not do it to our boys.
    I wrote a blog on Reasons Not to Circumcise for Eco Child’s Play. Even if you don’t agree with my reasons, there were fabulous comments after the blog. Take time to read some insightful points.
    http://ecochildsplay.com/2009/02/23/11-reasons-not-to-circumcise/

  28. The story made me cringe, but mostly because circumcision makes me cringe. I’m a proud mama of an intact boy. Although the emphasis here is on beauty products, it appears there are many other uses for this skin that are beneficial – like helping burn victims. The worry would be that the doctors performing the procedure are personally benefiting from it, but unless that’s true, why not reuse and recycle?

  29. OK, if the hospital is going to “reuse and recycle” perhaps they should offer parents some monetary compensation? They are, after all, turning around and selling this valuable commodity. Imagine we are now talking about actually SELLING our sons’ foreskins….I think the conversation would definitely take on other, stronger opinions.

  30. I guess it’s not that they do anything with the foreskin that bugs me, but for me that the hospital makes a DOUBLE profit from the procedure, that’s what irks me. To charge the parents for the surgery and then to charge the labs for the foreskin is just so many kinds of messed up. It means there is a clear vested interest in the contuniuation of unnecessary circumcisions.

    It means that there are parents being told they HAVE to circ: the child will be scarred, will be hurt, they will have to do it later anyway and its better to do it when they won’t remember it, and all the other lies they tell parents to convince them to go ahead with this barabaric procedure when in the end not only do they get upwards of 300,000,000 dollars a year from this surgery, but then addtionally they are getting countless profit from each foreskin.

    Basically, the doctors have compromised their integrity by selling the foreskins on the side. Where did that profit go? Not to the burn victims, or to the parents, nor to the children who have had a part of their bodies removed without their consent, but to the DOCTORS and HOSPITALS that are doing a side trade in body parts.

    sick sick sick!

    I don’t know how anyone could ever trust the advice of a doctor to circ knowing this. Surely any recommendation to circ is tainted by the doctor’s personal profit made from the procedure.

    This is what happens when we consider healthcare a for profit business.

  31. That is pretty gross, and it seems super sneaky!
    What about other things that people get removed? Is there a thriving market for extracted wisdom teeth? Something amazing made out of removed tonsils or adnoids? Hey, what about when I get my hair cut, do they sell the left over hair to some kind of furniture company to fill sofas, stuffed chairs or comforters?
    As you said, WHO would think to ask these questions?
    And WHY does the hospital get the benefit, when they are essentially being paid twice for one procedure, once by the patient (out of pocket or insurance),and once by the company who wants the foreskin. Foul!

  32. CanCan – Actually you can buy hairnets (literally a kind of fabric made of hair clippings) from salons to put around your plants. I understand they are great fertilizer and are mostly made of Chinese hair as Chinese hair salons sell the clippings while US hair salons just throw them away.

  33. Using purloined foreskins for commercial gain is ethically wrong. That skin belonged to the infant and the man he will become. No one is talking about what is lost with circumcision. Let’s begin. First, circumcision is a primal wound that interferes with the maternal/infant bond, disrupts breastfeeding and normal sleep patterns, and undermines the baby’s first developmental task of establishing trust. Circumcision is a primal wound! Then, too, the foreskin covers and protect the head of the penis (keeping the glans soft and moist and the urinary tract protected from external contamination–like the labia protect the vaginal vestibule). Then, the foreskin houses 20,000 to 70,000 specialized erogenous nerve endings that let a male know what his penis is feeling and where he is in relation to the ejaculatory trigger. Without those nerve endings and the feedback to the brain, circumcised men suffer premature ejaculation (the #1 sexual complaint of circumcised American men) and later in life sexual dysfunction and impotence. It’s no surprise that Viagra sales are high in the USA and Israel. When we allow our sons to be circumcised, we pay a doctor to amputate the “penile accelerator” in the foreskin, which allows a male to ride the wave to orgasm (like intact women and males do), we leave the male with an “off-on” switch and condemn him to a life of sexual starvation.

    A doctor friend of mine said, “If mothers promise to protect their sons’ foreskins from being made into face cream, we males promise to rub our foreskins on your face any time you ask!” Now, that sounds a lot healthier than circumcision and the harm it causes males and their partners!

  34. I just threw up in my mouth a little. So you’re telling me there is a football field sized flap of skin with my son’s DNA and some of it may have ended up on my face at night? great…

  35. Being Jewish, we circumcised our son. We were given the removed foreskin by the Rabbi to bury in the yard to bring prosperity to his future. I was really bothered by bringing this little flap of skin home in a jar, but now I am thinking I feel relieved! I am much happier to know it has disappeared into nature somewhere than on my face. EEEWWW.

  36. I couldn’t care less what happens to that skin after it leaves my son’s body. To me, it’s medical waste but if someone wants to pay money to chase their youth, go for it. It has no impact on me whatsoever.

  37. If the hospital sells foreskins and uses the money to further take care of people then it doesn’t bother me any. Hospitals, especially teaching ones, cost MONEY.

  38. It is highly illegal to steal living body parts from human beings and sell them. This is trading in stolen human body parts. It is a felony. People go to jail for a LONG time for doing this. Do any of you “it doesn’t bother ME any” “WE didn’t have any use for it” people have the slightest CLUE? Not one in ten of you has the least little bit of knowledge of what a foreskin actually IS, what it DOES, what its neuroanatomy is, what the muscles and nerves in it do, how many blood vessels it contains, what its relation to the brain is, what happens in the brain when it’s cut off and forever afterwards when the nerve impulses that it’s supposed to be sending to the brain no longer go there because the sense organ in the foreskin – the male’s sexual eye: the ridged band, frenular delta and frenulum – is amputated, so casually, so stupidly. What a sick country we live in. Whose foreskin is it, anyway? THEFT! FOREVER! And you clueless people don’t give a damn.

  39. Somebody please tell me why, if you amputate and sell a GIRL’S relatively tiny foreskin in the USA you will count yourself LUCKY to be protected by the US government in a high security prison for YEARS, but if you amputate and sell a BOY’S many times larger foreskin, nobody gives a rip. Most people have no idea that it’s even happening, and when they find out they applaud. “Reuse and recycle, dude!” Anyone saying that about lopping off and selling girl’s foreskins would be shot on sight. WHY? Couldn’t have anything to do with SEXISM, could it?

  40. The male foreskin is absolutely as vital to his full sexual experience as the clitoral hood and labia minora are to a female’s. Google “prader scale” and you will see that these parts all derive from the same embryonic tissue until 3 months’ gestation.

    Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body HIS decision.

    It totally should be illegal to profit in the trade in any human body part without disclosure to the family and compensation to the victim.

  41. “Mrs. Smith, I’d like to cut off part of your little boy’s penis (the most sensitive part of his body) to sell to a cosmetics company.”
    “Of course doctor! Would you like to take my clitoris while you’re at it?”
    There are places in the world where people will sell a kidney to make some extra cash. There are also places where people will sedate you and steal your extra (or both) kidney’s for cash. If doctors are pushing this for financial reasons, I think circumcising baby boys starts to have a lot more in common with stealing kidneys than it should. You can’t be forced to donate a kidney by your parents when you are underage- why should your foreskin be different?

  42. I find this topic particularly interesting as well as some of the comments. Good post Amy!

    First- I have three boys (and most likely another on the way) and they are all circumcized. Our OB-GYN performed all three circumcisions. Never once were we “pressured” or persuaded one way or the other, they just asked the question and that was that. I let my husband make the choice since it’s kind of a “guy thing”.

    I have a friend that is a labor & delivery nurse and she previously worked for a “teaching hospital” meaning there were residents. This hospital also had a large number of minority patients that are on Medicaid. None of these little boys were circumcized because Medicaid doesn’t pay for it. She brought up an excellent point in conversation one day… will circumcision eventually be something that will classify income groups? There’s a good chance of it. Not that, that is a good reason to or not do a circumcision but it’s definitely something to consider.

    On the subject of it being ethical- I personally don’t care what they do with my medical “waste” and if it helps fund our local hospitals… sell it! I do wish they were using it for something more worth while than cosmetics though.

  43. Interesting article. I don’t think the business of circumcision is being driven by profit- ppl circumcise because its socially acceptable, or tradition, or for religious reasons- its personal, and not commercial.
    I imagine most people reading and commenting on this article have similar viewpoints on most social and political topics- and I consider myself on of you- a natural birth-advocating, intact-son-having, recycling, conserving, tree-hugging woman. Whats wrong with using medical waste to generate funds for the hospital? When a boy is circumcised, the money parents or insurance pays goes to the physician, not the hospital. If they can use those bits of skin to generate funds, I say more power to them!
    I guess one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure!

  44. Of course it is unethical to take somebody else’s body part and use it without their consent, which is two reasons. The child cannot give any consent for either the unnecessary surgery or the exploitation of the amputated body part.

    If somebody knocked you out and stole one of your kidneys to save somebody’s life, would that be ethical? You only need ONE kidney and, hey, it saved somebody’s life!

    There should be no question.

    HIS body
    HIS choice

  45. Adding to what I said a few comments up, for those up in arms over this being done without consent, look at it on the flip-side: if parents WERE giving consent, and being compensated, now THAT would truly be a crime.

  46. Jenny. I agree with you that if parents were selling their babies’ body parts that would be criminal. Parents CAN’T sell their babies’ bodies, parts or whole. Humans can’t be bought and sold, in part or whole. Buying and selling human beings is slavery and slavery is illegal. So if parents can’t do it, why can doctors? Why can hospitals?

    If you went to the hospital for an appendectomy to save your life, and while she was operating on you the doctor cut off your foreskin and sold it to a cosmetics company or a company that made artificial skin out of it to treat burn victims and you woke up foreskinless and your parents said, “Fine with us! WE certainly didn’t have any use for her foreskin!”, what would YOU think? What would you DO?

    People are insane on the subject of human male sex organs. There is no other conclusion that can be drawn from the sickening posts here.

    Every parent who consents to the circumcision of their child and every doctor who circumcises the child puts that child’s life at risk. FOR WHAT? WHAT is so important about amputating normal, healthy, sensitive, sexual body parts from male babiers that it is worth risking KILLING them to do it? And worth KILLING some of them?

    WHAT?

    WILL SOME OF YOU CIRCUMCISING PARENTS PLEASE TELL ME?

  47. Van- I’m so confused. How does circumcising your baby risk killing them? It’s no more serious than having a mole removed. The risk of infections from not circumcising is *probably* equally as dangerous.

    And going in for one procedure and them removing body parts without consent (of ANYONE) is an absurd comparison.

    As a parent you have to give consent for anything your child does! A field trip, an xray, a dental filling, a shot… so according to you- don’t give your consent for any of it and when your kid is old enough to decide if they want all those things then you can deal with it; broken bones, rotting teeth, and Hep B… yeah-good luck with that.

    Seriously- You’re taking a very extreme approach here, which I think most undecided readers will probably dismiss.

  48. I think that the only thing that’s unethical here is the profit that is being made. If it is indeed waste, then why are they being bought?
    Who buys garbage?
    What does the hospital do with the money?
    On a side note, I, too, don’t understand why people circumsise. It’s uneccesary pain you put your newborn through.

  49. Oh My God. This is terrible!

    A ludicrous thought jumped in my head as I was reading – would aborted fetus tissue and amputated penis foreskins be qualified as Organic?

    Probably not.

    EWWWWWW!

  50. I just find it interesting that all the “proud” mothers of “intact” little boys seem to say it like their children are some how better, more pure, for not having their foreskins removed. While there is no medical reason to remove it, there’s no medical reason not to either, and is completely the choice of the parent.

    If you want to hate on hospitals for the practice, that’s one thing, but to imply that the mothers who do circumcise their children are misguided and dirty, along with their ruined sons, is ridiculous.

    Such an interesting school of thought.

  51. Ok, I’ll bite. I actually chose not to circumcise my son, but I can’t really say that I find using the foreskin in cosmetics to be unethical. I think it’s actually recycling at it’s finest. Something taken from the trash and turned into something valuable again. Certainly, it’s a little gross, but lets remember that that skin was unwanted. That’s why it was lobbed off in the first place. We re-use other discarded tissues for a variety of reasons- where do you think your placentas are going when the docs carry THOSE off? It’s resourceful.
    This discussion seems to me just people making something out of nothing. If parents want the skin gone, then who cares what happens to it after that? People are going to circumcise their children, and they’re going to buy anti-wrinkle cream. We can either re-use their discarded waste or kill a few whales to do the same job. You choose. If this is truly a forum for social consciousness let’s focus on things that really matter–like, oh I don’t know, the millions of kids here in the states that still can’t read, or the people being slaughtered en mass all over the African continent.

  52. When I learn’t what my parents did to me without my consent, our relationship changed greatly. Part of me truly hates them even to this day.

    I wonder how many “parents” in here are going to be loathed by their sons when they are old enough to understand what was inflicted on them. Its OUR bodies, not yours.

  53. This is so sick

    I can’t believe it. A monster business for medical groups.

    I find funny some comments about it’s not a problem if foreskin can be beneficial to someone else. Seriously the ONLY person who can benefit from foreskin is the poor circumcised baby who didn’t ask anything. Circumcision is disturbing, painful and needless.

    Foreskin isn’t useless : it’s the MOST erogenous part of penis. Parents shouldn’t be allowed to decide circumcision. His body, his choice.

  54. I am surprised to see such use of the Bébé. This is not normal in most of Europe & I hope it will never be. We do not like Geneticaly Modifide Foods also. Why is the world going this direction? It is not good.
    Bonne Santé, Jacques S.

  55. This is completely unethical and sick. I am a male and a thief stole my foreskin when I was an infant (he should spend most of the rest of his life in jail and I would give everything I have to track that sick criminal down, for he is guilty of crimes against humanity). I have to be constantly reminded of the vandalism of my penis every time I go to the bathroom and my anger is uncontrollable. This needs to be illegal just as much as the stealing of clitoral hoods needs to be illegal. If I was running for President, then I would promise to do everything in my power to end this clandestine, reckless, and provocative violation of human rights. I would attempt to pass a law that would guarantee severe and criminal penalties for anyone responsible for the stealing of human foreskin. And yes, the laws would apply retroactively.

    I cannot help it that I am a male. I was born that way. These sexist thugs need to quit stealing foreskins and treating males like sub-human slaves, and they need to leave the boys’ penises alone and treat the boys like the human beings that they are.

    When I wake up in the morning, I feel like a man. Therefore, I deserve to have a fully functioning penis just as much as a woman deserves to have a fully functioning clitoris. It’s as simple as that.

  56. Oh great. I got moderated. Bravo wuss! No sense of humor!

    Like I said, it’s pure evil considering the foreskin provides men with a ton of nerve endings in effect outnumbering those of the average woman’s labia and clitoris combined. It’s ridiculous that religious primitives would still be actively pursuing this form of mutilation at all, just to appease their filthy incubus of a god.

    And like I said, everyone outside anglo-world knows the aforementioned for a fact.

  57. In response to all the flippant ignoramuses dismissing male genital mutilation as somehow akin to removing a mole, or justifiable by tradition, or an inconsequential cosmetic procedure: DO THE RESEARCH. LISTEN TO THE VICTIMS.

    My own parents hardly thought twice about the decision, because it was just the way things were done in those days. I understand, but can never excuse or forgive such an irresponsible abdication of the prime parental directive – to protect and nurture their helpless, trusting infant.

    Similarly, any medical doctor who performs even a single male genital mutilation is unquestionably guilty of the most fundamental violation of the Hippocratic oath imaginable: genital mutilation of either sex does demonstrably do irreparable harm. All such butchers thoroughly deserve to have their licenses revoked and to spend the remainder of their years in solitary. Not that the latter would help any of their victims, but at least the former would prevent them from racking up any more.

    To the poster who wondered how epidemic genital mutilation is tantamount to a murder lottery: these things are botched fairly often. Sometimes the poor kid gets lucky and ONLY loses the tip of his penis right away. Sometimes he loses the whole thing. In either case, he will most likely then be given a sex reassignment surgery and raised as a girl – which of course chromosomally and physiologically he will never actually be. In other cases circumcision or its subsequent infections do cause death. But the point cannot be overstated that even when done “correctly” this grossly unethical amputation causes intense and lasting trauma, deformity, and varying degrees of sexual dysfunction in all cases.

    As for this breathtakingly moronic blithe assumption that the risk of infection is “*probably*” just as high with the benefit of a protective covering, smegma, and white blood cells as with an open wound on a mucus membrane being thrust into constant contact with urine and feces? Citizen’s revocation of breeding license.

    In closing: it is NOT “kind of a guy thing.” The decision to have one’s healthy son mutilated is not a decision that any parent ever has any right to even contemplate making. In any union where even one parent has the minimal parental instinct necessary to recoil from the horror of inflicting such a primal wound on their son, it is that person’s responsibility to stop at nothing to prevent such a sacrilege from occurring.

    Thanks in advance for allowing me to vent this rage and grief I will never be rid of. I only pray that some of you who would otherwise have considered betraying your future sons have been able to see through my rage to the basic humane truism that no person should ever be subjected to such an ordeal for such transparently hollow reasons as are advanced in defense of this practice. I implore ALL of you who remain unconvinced to actually do the knowledge: http://www.norm.org/lost.html
    http://www.cirp.org/news/Mothering1997/

  58. “This discussion seems to me just people making something out of nothing. If parents want the skin gone, then who cares what happens to it after that?”

    I CARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. It is unethical and cruel to subject any child to circumcision as its foreskin/body belongs to it and not the parents or anyone else.it is painful and the result is A surgical lottery as the outcome of the procedure cannot be projected ahead on one so small so the adult may end up with a mess.it must also be remembered that the part that is removed has more sensory areas than what is left leaving the victim genitally crippled for life.many babies suffer minor problems and a number die or
    are left disfigured. now we also know about the foreskin trading we have to look
    at any recommendations to circumcise as being nothing more than thinly veiled invitations to partake in the continuing big dollar business circumcision has become . TIME TO MAKE CIRCUMCISION ILLEGAL.i would also say this pre-occupation with baby boys genitals indicates a serious mental health problem which needs looking at.

  60. Since profit from the foreskin itself could be a potentially motivating factor for doctors to recommend circumcision, it at least needs to be disclosed. The fact that it is not commonly disclosed makes me think it is a motivating factor. The point is that your doctor may not always be telling you what is best for you or your son (money talks). I was circumcised, and I resent that my parents did that to me. I was born when it was commonly performed and people believed their doctors and did not question them. I am actually trying to regrow the skin now, but that can take years (and a fair amount of effort) unlike fingernails that someone compared foreskins to above. Also, I understand that muscle is cut away also, so I will NEVER be the same. If my wife and I have a son, I have no intention of circumcising him. Why would I want to amputate a healthy part of his body? To make him look like me is a ridiculous argument. We all want our kids to have things better than we did.

    The “justifications” for circumcising have been being dispelled or reduced over the years. At one point, they claimed it would prevent masturbation. TRUST ME, that is NOT true. If circumcision is really so great, every country in the world would do it, but many advanced countries do not.

  61. Evidence is in great abundance that in the psyche of many females there resides a succubus (female demon who rapes males) and they express it in the act of sanctioning a violent sex crime against their sons, all the while wearing a mask of “loving, caring mother.” I see them in audiences on TV talk shows LAUGHING about male infants being needlessly tormented! The worst of them have degrees “authorizing” them to be sexual vandals! And you reap what you sow! These boys victimized by violence will consider beating the living hell out of a woman sometime in their life. Some will go beyond thinking about it to doing it. Imagine men in a barber shop joking about how they ordered their girl’s tits cropped off! Me? I’ll only be violent in a boxing ring. Emperor Hadrian outlawed CC, which really speaks to its cruelty considering Romans used crucifixion as capital punishment. We need to be reminded its origins are EGYPTIAN not Jewish.

  62. Male circumcision at birth is a physical parallel of the doctrine of “cross dressing” or “transvestism,” which holds (since WWII factory work freed women from psychiatric attack on their right to wear ANYTHING)that “only males may err in clothing choice.” We aren’t free to determine either the appearance of our naked—or of our clothed—body! And our rights are ruined by being defined as “illnesses” (possession of natural anatomy and freedom of dress—to wear a GD skirt without being slandered for it!) Don’t any unjust person put words in my mouth by saying bras are sex neutral. Men wore skirts for 1,000’s of years. Psychiatry promoted circumcision AND denial of freedom of dress (previously to both sexes, now to men only!)

  63. Cosmetics always claim to have value by having some exotic ingredients. Is there is any scientific proof that using the foreskin for wrinkle cream helps? As far as using the foreskin from circumcised babies to help burn victims or diabetics, what better purpose can there be. This is sort of the ultimate recycling once the foreskin is cut off and is of no use to the boy it now becomes a valuable asset to a person in need. When my son was born most likely his foreskin was burned in the hospital incinerator.

  64. As usual, most of these responses are from WOMEN who basically make jokes about cutting off a baby boys foreskin. Hey you stupid bitches, how about cutting off your damn clit and see if you joke about it!!?????? To imagine that a perfectly good body part of baby boys going for the beautification of these stupid cunts is appalling!!!!

  65. I’m so glad that I’m born to Asian parents and I’m not circumcised! Foreskin gives me a lot of pleasure!

  66. Pingback: Faith? - Page 38
  67. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

    These claims about “neonatal foreskins” being used in cosmetics are certainly extraordinary. And I see no proof offered – just hearsay.

    I won’t believe it until I see proof. And I’m amazed at the number of people here who will just accept at face value something that someone says in a blog of this sort! Shame on you, people! Learn about the scientific method. Learn about peer review. Don’t just believe anything anyone says! If you do, you are fools…

    Or is that what’s wrong with society today? Laws being passed on the bases of unsubstantiated claims – people put in prison for falsely-claimed harms?

    Wake up, sheeple! The media is out to fleece you.

  68. True or not true, why is it so hard to accept using a body part for medicine but it’s okay to discard? Dog in the Manger mentality…. if the dog can’t eat the hay, then the horses can’t eat the hay either..

    I can’t believe people use websites as proof. I’ve seen so many anticirc websites that quote statistics and facts they cherry pick that are not even true or that they twisted for their benefit. you can’t use websites as proof, you have to actually read the studies and then analyse the data and then, look at similar studies for comparison.

    and so what if they use the foreskin? Have you heard of the saying “For the Greater Good?” I would feel better thinking that somebody else could benefit from something that is going to go to waste anyway. Typical Dog in the Manger mentality.

    People are so focused on the small things these days it’s pretty sad. I haven’t seen anything that is so beneficial about the foreskin. Based on the studies and data gathered from both circ and uncirc men, the results are inconclusive. The only thing I’ve seen that is valid is storing drugs and M&M’s in the foreskin. So what you get a bit more feeling from the foreskin? is that little bit of sexual pleasure really enough to disregard the benefits of circumcision? I.E helping burn victims, helping minimise cancer risks, hepl minimise HIV risk etc?

    I would gladly give up my clitoris if it means I could help save other people’s lives. But that is just me. some people it seems care more about their sexual pleasures than caring about the world in general.

  69. Who besides the genital mayhem camp has said it’s OK to discard the part? As soon as the surgical damage is started, it’s been discarded (forfeited without consent of owner). No you wouldn’t give up your C! “Caring about the world in general” includes going out of one’s way to hack off part of a nonconsenting person’s body, that’s your perspective, very uncivilized. Women rave about how they’re oppressed, when in fact it’s men that are much more repressed. The ways in which our rights are denied us are not defined as repression. That’s the PSYCHIATRIC (neo-Inquisitional) method for oppression. Men are hit with an act of mayhem at birth, which is packaged as a “medical procedure.” Then they’re raised without choices in clothing, while females ARE raised with choices; if a man wants to wear something really different, he faces being called a “cross-dresser.” The upshot is that men have no self determination rights to control the appearance of either their naked or their clothes bodies, while those rights are protected for females. Shame on man hating women, shame on society!

  70. your parents make a decision all your life mostly for what they think is best. It is not only the physical part but also psychological and emotional. You can’t go around blaming your parents for doing something what they thought is best for you when you were a little boy. It is the exact same as obese people. What their parents feed them all their life affects their physical and psychological state. Should they also curse their parents for that? What about children of divorced couples that have psychological trauma? Should we also ban divorces??

    So where do we stop? Should we monitor every thing parents decide on and ban the decisions we think is not good for the child?

    Maybe parents just shouldn’t immunise, circumcise, feed, educate, clothe their children until the kids are 18+ and can decide what they want. Or maybe people should just stop having children altogether. Circumcision is one of those things that people will always disagree on but you can’t ignore the REAL statistics and facts that it does offer benefits, so anti-circs should just respect parents decision to do it, so should men who were circumcised because your parents are your only parents and you should respect the decisions they make for you when you were little.

  71. yes, you’re right maybe I would not give up my clitoris, something that is NOT the equivalent of foreskin btw, for a society that puts so much emphasis on sexual pleasures from a foreskin (with ambiguous research data).

  72. Christ, they have doctors and “scientists” in Arab/African states ALSO who can give YOU “ambiguous data” about your clit! You sure as holy hell want rights for yourself, but corresponding rights for males, you dismiss in a cavalier manner. What you’re sending out will ALWAYS return to you, B***H! My parents did NOT make a “decision for me,” lawsuits had to be filed against hospitals to stop them whittling on little boys without parental consent! So-called “medical doctors” are the most arrogant hooligans who ever lived! The state is supposed to protect all children from harm; not only the female children! But this is why so many women get beat up by the men they choose; men are retaliating for their mothers conspiring with a sex criminal to reshape their anatomy! What is done to children, they will do to society! Yeah, you sure as hell are being influenced by a SUCCUBUS (invisible female demon that rapes males).

  73. righto, this debate is anything but decent or respectful anymore so I’m returning to hell where I belong.

    You have serious issues, maybe the circumcision did this to you?

    tsk.

  74. cHARLES SAYS:

    ! But this is why so many women get beat up by the men they choose; men are retaliating for their mothers conspiring with a sex criminal to reshape their anatomy!

    I’m sure battered women would love to hear your reasoning and condoning domestic violence. nuff said.

  75. Ass, I didn’t condone anything, I mentioned cause and effect. They send out mutilation, violence returns to them in some form as they did reap what they “sow”-ed! “You have serious issues” sounds like a “mental illness” accusation. What a way to try and trump in an argument—accuse the adversary of “mental illness.” 450 years ago in Europe, you would have accused me of “heresy” or “witchcraft.” No wonder so many judges are tossing psychologicals OUT of their courtrooms!

  76. are you aware that aborted babies have been used in skin care products for decades and our law does not require the industy to list the ingredients? Yeah…

  77. I resent my body being used as a source of raw materials. It’s a grudge I will hold against my parents until the day I die.

  78. I have developed a keen hatred of women after reading this article. You cry foul when baby girls get cut but it is now clear why so many women support male circumcision. So you can profit from it.

    I hate you monsters more than you can imagine.

  79. Know what a “succubus” is? It’s a female demon who rapes males. That’s what’s going on here. But that’s not the end of it. “Karma” as they call it in India, returns misery to women who impose it on males. It comes back in the form of men who savagely beat them; in the form of breast cancer; financial loss; rejection by men; and any other way suitable for retribution.

  80. I am disturbed by this article greatly. I do not support the use of baby parts in cosmetics. However, Jimmy and Charles’ comments are out of line. The majority of the woman using these products do not know what they are. Furthermore, the majority of the Drs in this country are Men. It is a tragedy and disturbing that this is happening but Woman are not solely to blame.

  81. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I’m amazed by the fact a lot of women didn’t know. I come from a medical family that deals with this stuff all the time, but they mainly use the placenta of a woman with a stillborn. I don’t use a lot of makeup either but I really do find it shocking a lot of women didn’t know this already.

  82. @nonsense – The concensus on the benefits of circumcision are inconclusive – Penile cancer is relatively rare and the UD has similar rates of penile cancer to many European countries (where circumcision is very rare). The UTI difference is 1% but the researchers never accounted that the intact newborns in tr study were catheterized increasingly the likelyhood of UTI’s not to mention women are ten times more likely to contract them. STD’s/HIV the study was conducted in Africa and since then has been shown to be extremely flawed, studies on STD/HIV contraction in regards of circumcision status have been conducted in the UK Australia New Zealand Puerto Rico and even one conducted by the US navy and it showed circumcision status had no effect in the contraction of the diseases. Not to mention HIV is more common in circumcised men in most african countries, and the US has the hugest rate of STD/HIV contraction of the first world nations, the first world nations that have lower levels are non-circumcising countries that have comprehensive sex ed programs and emphasis condom use. So let your kid keep his junk and teach him proper hygiene and safe sex.
    You were also being extremely dramatic with your jumps to non immunize or feed your children. Vaccines actually work and have an efficacy rate of upwards of 90% circumcision DOES NOT ! When it comes to food your priced nutrition but children can choose what they want to eat from a young age, regardless you can choose whatever diet you want when you can properly reason. Relating that to the excision of a healthy body part that is supposed to be there and caused no harm (and actually has an immunological defense that in some cases defends against certain STI’s) is far-reaching and shows you have no knowledge of the foreskin or how the procedure is carried out and your seriously undermining men’s genital integrity and an important human rights issue that most countries have realized is quite cruel and unneeded like we just realized in the late 90’s concerning the excision of the clitoral hood in the case of female circumcision (studies were conducted showing removal of tw clitoral hood may have some benefits in warding off HIV, do you believe that ?). It’s a big humans rights issue and if you feel parents should be allowed to do as they wish with their children why look down upon female circ ? Why look down upon physical punishment ? Or some forms of abuse ? It’s their kid ad thee parenting methods right ?

  83. This fuels the conspiracy to commit bodily harm and remove informed consent from infant boys. Removing healthy tissue from a normal penis is genital mutilation by definition. This just shows the money trail, where hospitals are double profiting. Circumcision is a barbaric practice and shouldn’t be legal anywhere on minors.

  84. I was circumcised as a baby. I am furious about it. To a large degree, I hate my parents, the medical field, the government, religion, and all of society for not only allowing, but promoting this barbaric atrocity. And now that I know big business is making profit from my stolen body part, I feel more enraged than ever. I have no recourse other than acceptance, but that doesn’t quell the anger. I feel betrayed by society, and I want revenge. But more importantly, I want circumcisions on minors to be banned. Nobody should have to live with and accept incomplete, scarred genitalia. Life is fucked up enough without adding problems.
    To everyone who thinks that circumcision is ok, would you have your child’s ears docked? What about your son’s “useless” nipples? Does your daughter need that labia? What about removing that bump in the nose? How about a tattoo? Why not a penis ring? Do you have the right to sterilize your child? And why stop at just the foreskin? Why not take some scrotal tissue, or the head of the penis? Are TWO testicles really necessary? Are you such a slave to social norms that you would jeopardize the well-being of your child in any way? CHOPPING THINGS OFF IS WRONG!!!!!
    And on a final note about cosmetics using my foreskin, I demand a large fucking royalty. I will find a lawyer or join a class action lawsuit. Big Pharm is out of control. The FDA is a joke. I am livid.
    Finally, fuck all the doctors. Their Hippocratic oath is a hypocritical oath.

  85. I am glad I came across this article. I am a 66 year old who’s foreskin was taken from me at birth without my consent. If males were NOT meant to have foreskins we would NOT have been born with them. My eldest son came within 10 seconds of having his foreskin removed at the Royal Brisbane Hospital while my wife was asleep, they had no written consent from either of us to perform a circumcision and it was lucky she woke up when she did.

    She asked the nurse where she was taking my son and when informed that he was being taken away to be circumcised she said in no uncertain terms ” Like Bloody hell you are, you get him back in this room because you better believe me if his farther turns up here tonight and finds his son minus his foreskin all Hell will break loose”

    When my wife informed me when I visited that night I located the person in charge and told them that if they had of circumcised mt son that day they would have been slapped with a 1 Million Dollar lawsuit within 48 hours naming the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the pediatric surgeon as respondents.

    I have 3 sons and none of them are circumcised.

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