Biotechnology

Mohels Aren't Paid Very Well, But They Get To Keep the Tips!

|

Or maybe not.

Foreskins have long been treasured by cosmetic dermatologists because they are rich in fibroblasts, tiny cells that play a crucial role in healing wounds and generating collagen and connective tissue. (One foreskin can be bioengineered into a piece of lab-grown skin the size of a football field.) The makers of Vavelta extract them by finely dicing the foreskins and treating them with enzymes. Then the fibroblasts are suspended in a proprietary cell storage medium and injected into "problem areas" with a fine gauge needle. In preliminary studies, Vavelta has worked well at eliminating wrinkles and scars without any side effects other than mild redness and itching (and the weirdness of knowing that you've got a foreskin in your face). 

Insert "dickhead" joke, here. 

In all seriousness, as the PopSci article points out, this does raise some interesting ethical issues.  Who owns your son's foreskin?  If you leave it with the hospital, or with your rabbi, can they then sell it to a pharmaceutical company to be diced, treated, and injected into Joe Biden?  If so, should they be required to notify you first?  Is it in a kid's best interest to allow his parents to sell off his foreskin, given the fierce debate over the possible health benefits/drawbacks of circumcision?

Kerry Howley delved into some of these issues in her terrific feature from our March 2007 issue, "Who Owns Your Body Parts?"

Thanks to Tom Hynes for the . . um . . . tip.

Advertisement

NEXT: The Voodooest Economics of Them All

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Foreskins have long been treasured by cosmetic dermatologists

    Well, the ones that haven’t been circumsized, anyway.

    (One foreskin can be bioengineered into a piece of lab-grown skin the size of a football field.)

    I think I got some spam on this the other day.

  2. This is the unkindest cut of all.

  3. Vavelta = Velveeta?

    Coincidence?

    I think not.

  4. Insert “dickhead” joke, here.

    Hur hur…he said “insert”.

  5. Between botulism toxins and foreskin cells, is there any substance too disgusting that someone won’t shoot it into their face to stop crows’ feet?

  6. Abdul, you should ask Tyler Durden.

  7. I don’t know why these issues that are essentially contractual have to be more complicated just because they involve body parts.

    Who owns the foreskin and what they do with it and what consent/notification they are required to secure are all matters that can be settled in standard contracts. There isn’t any one right “bio-ethical” answer.

    Once something leaves your body, your claim to the value it produces depends on what kind of deal you cut. Just ask Lindsey Lohan’s parents.

  8. If you ever run the phrase “dice the foreskins” again, Radley, I shall drive down there and kick you in the taint.

  9. Back on the farm, in the early seventies, a guy would come out to slaughter for us. We’d indicate the anointed one and he would shoot, skin, quarter and hang it. The whole operation, from driving in to driving out took only half an hour.
    It was understood that he took the hide, hooves and whatever offal he wanted; all went into it’s designated barrel. Much of it, he said, was sold overseas.
    Without his cut of the carcass the price would have been significantly higher.

  10. Q: Why did the brothel in the leper colony close down?

    A: The tips weren’t worth it.

  11. Walt–You’re bris seems like a helluva party, but you may want to ask for a new mohel the next time.

  12. There’s already a prominent case on this issue that first year law students prattle on about in property class instead of learning useful things like how to get your landlord to cough up the security deposit. It’s Moore v. Regents of the University of California .

    Long story short, the California Supreme Court says you get no money from your discarded body parts.

  13. this particular technique may be new, but the use of foreskins for growing skin grafts is old news, as is the hospitals’ failure to inform parents of the profitability of the circumcision operation on both ends (no pun intended)

  14. This all is reminding me of when, in 7th grade, we discovered the medical term smegma. The teacher couldn’t get us to stop laughing for a week.

  15. Fucking barbarians. I want my foreskin back.

  16. Didn’t Penn and Teller cover this briefly in their episode on circumcision?

    Eek, bad episode to watch. All those kids undergoing that procedure– it’s sickening.

    At least I had the luxury of anesthesia when I was circumcised. And ability to understand what was going on, and why, and to grant consent.

  17. If I had male children, they’d all get the cut. In the end (of life, that is), it’s for their own good.

  18. A serious note –

    Circumcision Gives Men up to 60% HIV Protection; WHO, UNAIDS Urge Adult Surgery

    March 29, 2007 — Circumcised men are up to 60% less likely to get HIV, and now the World Health Organization and the UNAIDS program recommend adult surgery to slow the AIDS pandemic.

    Now let’s joke about it some more.

  19. 60% is quite a bit higher than the number I’ve seen before, but let’s grant that it’s true. So I guess that if I were in the habit of buttfucking homeless men, I might be thankful for being circumcised. As things are, though, not so much.

  20. One foreskin can be bioengineered into a piece of lab-grown skin the size of a football field.

    …yet another reason to want mine back.

    Thanks a pantload, Mom and Dad.

  21. So I guess that if I were in the habit of buttfucking homeless men

    Wait, you’re not? This seems right up your alley.

    Mac: It involves pulling up our bootstraps, oiling up a couple of asses, and doing a little plowing of our own.

    (Charlie and Dennis stand in silence)

    Mac: Not gay sex.

    Dennis: Ah, OK, OK, OK.

    Charlie: Ah, OK, ’cause that’s what it sounded like.

  22. Warty,

    You say that now, but wait until you’re 75, incapacitated, and in a nursing home. Since none of the aides will wash your genitals, having a foreskin means you won’t even get fresh water around the head of your penis.

    Not that being moist, warm ,and never clean could cause infection or anything.

  23. JD,

    Great. Now let me make the decision for myself if I want to undergo this treatment.

  24. Yes. Mutilate your penis because you might end up in a crooked rest home. There’s a winning argument.

  25. Now now, Nutrasweet,

    Maybe Dello is running for office.

  26. NutraSweet, you have it wrong. It’s mutilate your son’s penis because he might end up in a crooked rest home. That’s even more full of ethical win.

  27. Hugh,

    Yeah. I know. I just get so worked up over the fact my genitals were mutilated when I was too young to give consent. I guess I should just shut up about, like those whiny girls over in Africa.

  28. Epi, it’s defanged chimps all the way for me.

    I plan on dying long before I ever need to go into a nursing home, Dello. There’ll be explosions, and car chases, and hijinks.

    By all means, though, continue to rationalize the amputation of perfectly normal, healthy baby parts.

  29. March 29, 2007 — Circumcised men are up to 60% less likely to get HIV, and now the World Health Organization and the UNAIDS program recommend adult surgery to slow the AIDS pandemic.

    Isn’t this from a study in Africa?
    There are some cultural differences that entail here. For instance, women in some areas use an herb that reduces natural lubrication so as to increase friction.

  30. So now we at least know that SF prefers the Euro-pr0n for their uncircumcised performers.

  31. Epi, it’s defanged chimps all the way for me.

    Bonobos or common chimps? The common chimps can really lay on the bruises. Not that I would know or anything.

    I plan on dying long before I ever need to go into a nursing home, Dello. There’ll be explosions, and car chases, and hijinks.

    Of course there’s gonna be an explosion! You think Warty’s not gonna explode?!?

    I just get so worked up over the fact my genitals were mutilated when I was too young to give consent.

    But it’s so sanitary, right, Mom and Dad? Arrgghhh.

  32. I plan on dying long before I ever need to go into a nursing home, Dello. There’ll be explosions, and car chases, and hijinks.

    I used to think I’d start a fight in a biker bar when I turn 70, but I’m going to quote Jeremy Clarkson here on how to go out, for the sheer awesomeness of it: fighting a tiger in an abandoned nuclear power plant.

  33. JW,

    If it’s not about to go critical, I’m going to call you a pussy. I’ll have time to do that because my cut-up junk is so easy to clean.

  34. Yes. Mutilate your penis because you might end up in a crooked rest home. There’s a winning argument.

    Isn’t that the same argument in favor of social security?

  35. Bonobo or common, make sure that it’s properly restrained. They’ll bite your fucking nose off.

  36. And testicles and feet…

    From Warty’s link, for the surfing impaired:

    The 42-year-old chimp who has been cared for by Mr Davis and his wife LaDonna for 30 years is toilet-trained and can eat his food with a knife and fork.

    But at the same time:

    Now Mr Davis’ pet monkey Moe – who had previously bitten a woman’s finger off – has vanished after his cage was found empty on Friday

    Emphasis mine, in case some jackass wants to pipe up.

  37. Circumcised men are up to 60% less likely to get HIV

    I’m sure condom use is much better than this. In fact, I heard women whose labias are sewn shut are 100% less likely to get HIV! So are babies who die from infected genital wounds! But yeah – lets take african disease control techniques and apply them here. Like mosquito nets.

  38. fighting a tiger in an abandoned nuclear power plant

    How lame. I’d want to snort a mountain of cocaine and get in a firefight with Bolivian hit men using an M16 with grenade launcher, myself.

  39. I’m going out like a real libertarian, in a Ruby Ridge-style standoff with the ATF. The only thing they’ll that will be left to identify me with is my squeaky-clean circumcised penis.

  40. You can have my foreskin when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

  41. The size of a football field? That would make one hell of a trampoline.

    Reminds me of a joke: My shaft has a tattoo that says “Rocky.”
    When I get hard it says “Rocky Mountain Sand and Gravel Company, Boulder Colorado…”

  42. I’d want to snort a mountain of cocaine and get in a firefight with Bolivian hit men using an M16 with grenade launcher, myself.

    Does anyone else think that the guy who eventually shot Pacino in the back was the model for the Terminator?

  43. The Mohel saved up all the foreskins in a jar. One day he took them all and made a wallet out of them. But it was a magical wallet. If you rubbed it then it would turn into a suitcase.

  44. I’m sure condom use is much better than this. In fact, I heard women whose labias are sewn shut are 100% less likely to get HIV! So are babies who die from infected genital wounds! But yeah – lets take african disease control techniques and apply them here. Like mosquito nets.

    It’s better than exporting the DDT ban from here to Africa. Without the ban, we could easily prevent a million malaria deaths each year.

  45. Does anyone else think that the guy who eventually shot Pacino in the back was the model for the Terminator?

    joe, are you accusing Cameron of ripping people off?

    *cough* Harlan Ellison *cough*

  46. A lady heads downtown to buy a clock. She walks into a building with clocks displayed in the window. “Hello,” she says to the proprietor. “I need a new clock.”

    “Sorry,” the man replies. “I don’t sell clocks. I’m a mohel.”

    “If you’re a mohel,” she asks, “Why do you display clocks in your window?”

    “Lady,” he answers, “What should I put in the window?”

  47. Seriously though, this looks like a classic case where parents stand to benefit from a child’s work/loss. The same protections that work for child actors should work here.

  48. jtuf,

    Require deposit of foreskin payments into a college fund?

  49. “A Four Oh One WHAT?”

  50. Once something leaves your body, your claim to the value it produces depends on what kind of deal you cut. Just ask Lindsey Lohan’s parents.

    The problem is that, by law, I cannot make a deal that allows me to be compensated for selling a body part. However, the Doctor can make such a deal for the body part he removes from me.

  51. Not that this thread is about circumcision per se, but: I didn’t have my baby circumcised because it’s wrong to perform elective cosmetic surgery on someone incapable of giving consent.

    I believe the same to be true of people who are ‘assigned’ genders when born with intergendered genitalia.

    Frankly, that we cut off the tip of the penis because of millenia-old superstitions and debunked medical theories is… barbaric. It’s freakish and strange. It’s functionally the same thing as if we were, for instance, to remove the pinky toes at birth.

    If my kid wants to be circumcised when he grows up, more power to him. But I’m not making that decision for him.

  52. Reformed Republican,
    Of course I believe you should be allowed to sell your own organs, but if I understand the law, you can sell tissue and fluids, just not organs. You can sell blood, semen, breast milk, hair, and I think a lawyer could argue that the foreskin would fall under tissue.

  53. By all means, though, continue to rationalize the amputation of perfectly normal, healthy baby parts.

    Did you bitch this much about getting rid of your tonsils too?

  54. I still have my tonsils. Try again.

  55. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.