Foreskins For Sale

"Parents should be wary of anyone who tries to retract their child's foreskin, and especially wary of anyone who wants to cut it off. Human foreskins are in great demand for any number of commercial enterprises, and the marketing of purloined baby foreskins is a multimillion-dollar-a-year industry."
Where Is My Foreskin? The Case Against Circumcision
Paul M. Fleiss, MD
Mothering (The Magazine Of Natural Family Living)
Winter 1997, page 39

     Since the 1980s, private hospitals have been involved in the business of supplying discarded foreskins to private bio-research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies who require human flesh as raw research material. They also supply foreskins to transnational corporations such as Advanced Tissue Sciences of San Diego, California, [1] Organogenesis, [2] and BioSurface Technology, [3] who have recently emerged to reap new corporate profits from the sale of marketable products made from harvested human foreskins. In 1996 alone, Advanced Tissue Sciences could boast of a healthy $663.9 million market capitalization performance.[4]

A short history of the institutionalization of involuntary sexual mutilation in the United States. Hodges F. in: Denniston GC, Milos MF (eds). Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy. New York: Plenum Press. 1997:17-40.

[1]. Forget pork bellies, now it's foreskins. Manson B. San Diego Reader (May 4, 1995): 12, 14 passim.
[2]. New skin twin life- and look-save. Brewer S. Longevity (September 1992): 18.
[3]. Companies see $1.5b market in replacement skin products. Rosenberg R. Boston Globe (October 19, 1992): 22-23.
[4]. Biotech's Big Discovery. Hall CT. San Francisco Chronicle. October 25, 1996: E1, E4.


     The after market for human foreskin is where the real money is made. Foreskins are sold to biomedical companies, which use them in the manufacture of insulin. They're also sold to middlemen, who package them for sale to research companies that in turn use them for biochemical analysis. Corporations such as Advanced Tissue Sciences (ATS), Organogenesis, BioSurface Technology, Genzyme, and Ortec International are taking cells from amputated foreskins and experimenting with artificial skin. Products like Dermagraft-TC, which sells for about $3,000 per square foot, are grown from the cells in infant foreskins and used as a temporary wound covering for burn patients. One foreskin contains enough genetic material to grow 250,000 square feet of skin.

Circumcision. Daecher M. Icon 1998;2(2):70-3.


     ICCPR's [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN GA Resolution 2200 A (XXI)] slavery, forced labor, and traffic in persons includes the industry of a growing number of American medical hospitals and medical professionals colluding with scientific agencies harvesting neonatal foreskins for skin grafts, i.e., as compulsory organ donation.
     Associations like Organogenesis (Canton, MA) have received approval from the USA's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its foreskin-based GraftskinTM, and has served Western Pennsylvania Hospital, with additional studies conducted at Yale University and Boston University (Stephen Brewer, New Skin Twin Life- and Look-Saver. Longevity September 1992: 18).
     Another profit-oriented tissue engineering company, Advanced Tissue Sciences (La Jolla, CA), retrieves foreskins from hospitals so one foreskin can create 250,000 square feet of dermis ... [T]he annual market for dermis could be $1 billion to $2 billion. Advanced Tissue Sciences has sold about $1 million worth of cultured dermis to Proctor & Gamble, Helene Curtis, and other such businesses for pre-market testing. Advanced Tissue Science's foreskin-derived merchandise held a $32 million stock offering in the beginning of 1992 (Julie Pitta. Biosynthetics. Forbes 10 May 1993: 170-171). [The 32-page Advanced Tissue Sciences, Inc. 1997 Annual Report refers to "fibroblasts" but does not contain the word "foreskin."]
     A Boston Globe frontispiece to its Business section reads: Companies See $1.5b Market in Replacement Skin Products. This article reveals another enterprise of genital mutilation-cum-scientific advance: BioSurface Technology of Cambridge, MA. All three companies face no shortage of hoarding and retailing foreskins, and are motivated by individuals like Dr. Tania Phillips, professor of dermatology at Boston University of Medicine, insisting foreskin gathering and cultivating is scientifically and technologically "very promising." (Ronald Rosenberg. 19 October 1992: 22-23).

The International Human Rights Challenge of Genital Mutilation & the United Nations: Initiating a Global Dialogue on the Transcultural, Multireligious, & Interdisciplinary Dimensions of Appropriating Universal Human Rights Paradigms. Zavales A. Ecumenics International Press, 1994, p. 49, footnote 34.


     THE WOODLANDS, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 1995-- LifeCell Corporation (Nasdaq:LIFC) today announced the culturing of human neonatal foreskin keratinocytes onto AlloDerm(R), LifeCell's universal dermal tissue graft, to form a fully differentiated, epidermal skin layer which was then successfully grafted to an animal model. The research demonstrates the potential for generating a durable, off-the-shelf cultured skin graft product which exhibits reduced complications from blistering or scarring, according to Paul Frison, president and chief executive officer ... CONTACT: LifeCell Corporation, The Woodlands / Jane Lea Hicks, 713/367-5368.

The Internet. Transmitted: 95-05-16.


     One educated nurse from San Antonio told me they have to save infants' amputated foreskins because the hospital's Department of Oral Surgery uses them for reconstructive surgery of the inner lining of the mouth!

Report on the 1995 American Academy of Pediatrics San Francisco Convention. DeSeabra R. Intact Network Newsletter 11/1/95.


     Lajolla, California. A U.S. Food and Drug (FDA) Committee recommended FDA approval of Dermagraft, artificial skin made from circumcised baby foreskins to treat diabetic foot ulcers, on condition that manufacturer Advanced Tissue Sciences, Inc., do a post-marketing study. NOCIRC's attorney was given just five minutes to speak to the Committee in defense of the babies whose foreskins are cut off a marketed without their consent.

NOCIRC Annual Report, Spring 1998


     Into these tubs, the workers add skin cells harvested from the foreskins of circumcised newborns ... The two companies are independently seeking approval: Organogenesis Inc. of Canton, Mass and Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc. of La Jolla, Calif ... each starts with a baby's foreskin, a consistent, readily available source. Plus young skin grows better. One piece of foreskin can produce four acres of engineered skin with a five-day shelf life."

The Latest From The Labs: Human Skin, The FDA is about to approve
commercial use of living tissue grown by two biotech outfits.
Business Week, May 1998, Science and Technology, page 118-122


     WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new product made of human skin cells won FDA approval for use in treating certain kinds of wounds Tuesday [May 26, 1998].
     The product, called Apligraf, is made of human skin cells mixed with collagen from cattle. It is made by Canton, Massachusetts-based Organogenesis.
     The Food and Drug Administration said it had approved the product for use in treating venous skin ulcers, which are hard to heal because of a lack of blood flow to the skin.
     "This condition is estimated to affect thousands of Americans each year, and its treatment often requires multiple surgeries," the FDA said in a statement.
     "Although Apligraf will not eliminate the need for standard treatment, it use may enhance and shorten the healing process."
     Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. has global marketing rights to Apligraf, the company said in a statement.
     In addition to venous leg ulcers, Apligraf has been studied in burns and in skin surgery. A trial is under way in diabetic ulcers and one is expected to begin in bedsores, also known as pressure sores, later this year.
     Experts say tissue engineering is starting to transform the way patients with flesh wounds are being treated.
     Apligraf is made with live cells from the foreskin of a newborn's penis -- used because babies are regularly circumcised and the tissue is young and available -- mixed with tissue from a cow.
     "Its special composition allows it to provide wound protection and to foster the growth of healthy new skin," the FDA said.

Reuters, 29 [?] May 1998



Sign on wall near baby being circumcised
Photograph, Parenting Magazine, July/August 1989, page 58
[The words underneath are too small to read.]


Other Published Materials Documenting the
Commercial Use of Harvested Human Foreskins

Cultured skin: applications are growing. Blacker L. Harvard Magazine (1988):4, 6, passim.

Foreskins Used in Skin Ulcer Treatments. Editor. American Medical News (October 27, 1989):38.

Treatment of skin ulcers with cultured epidermal allografts. Phillips TJ, Kehinde O, Green H, Gilchrest BA. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 1989;21:191-9.

So that's what they do with it. Editor. New Physician (May-June, 1989):51.

Babies' foreskins are used to grow tissue for burn victims. McKee R. The Gazette (Montreal) (April 5, 1995):A1-A2.

Artificial graft derived from foreskins offers diabetics hope. Mihill C. Guardian (September 5, 1997).

New tissue uses reopen circumcision debate. Foreman J. Boston Globe (January 26, 1998):C01.

BDA panel urges artificial skin. Neergaard L. Los Angeles Times (January 30, 1998). []

Smith & Nephew pioneers "engineered skin" treatment. Yates A. Independent (February 27, 1998):23-4.

* * *

I wrote to the American Cancer Society May 1, 1987, and asked if it was true that one of the sources of the interferon used in cancer research in this country was the foreskins of circumcised human babies. A few days later, John Stevens at the American Cancer Society called and told me that the answer to my question was yes.

How much does one infant foreskin sell for? (I received an email January 1997 from someone who prefers to remain anonymous who said that the going rate for infant foreskins at a large hospital in the greater San Diego area was $35 each -- and that "ethical" doctors deducted that amount from their circumcision fees.)

How many foreskins have been sold?

Who sells them? Doctors? Midwives? Mohels? Hospitals?

Who buys them?

Are there any "middle men," and if so, who are they?

Are the foreskins sold "per foreskin" or by weight? (Do circumcisers have a financial incentive to cut off as much skin as possible?)

Is a foreskin still marketable if it has been covered with or injected with anesthetic? (Do circumcisers have a financial incentive not to use an anesthetic?)

Are some types of foreskin more in demand than others? (White, Black, Latino, Asian?)

Are parents told that their baby's foreskin will be sold? Are they asked if their baby's foreskin may be sold?

Who is the legal owner of a baby's foreskin after it's been cut off? (Who is the legal owner of a baby's foreskin before it's cut off?)

Is it ethical to cut off a baby's foreskin, charge his parents for the operation, sell his foreskin without telling his parents, and keep the money? Is it legal?

Are the foreskins of children and adults being sold too?

Are other parts of people's bodies being cut off -- or out -- and sold without their knowledge or consent?

If someone cuts part of another person's body off -- or out -- and sells it without obtaining signed legal consent from the person cut, and the person who buys it makes money from it, who does that money rightfully belong to?

Do Diane Sawyer and Bill Kurtis (Investigative Reports) know about this?


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