From the Archives: The Ethics of Vanity, Part III

The madness continues [emphasis added]:

About 150 patients in the U.K. have already received injections of Vavelta, a foreskin-derived skin treatment aimed at rejuvenating and smoothing skin withered with age or damaged by scarring from acne, burns and surgical incisions, according to a spokesperson for Intercytex, PLC, the Cambridge, England-based company that makes the product. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Vavelta, nor have any other federal agencies outside the U.K., where it was introduced in June 2007.

The fibroblasts in Vavelta are isolated from the foreskins taken from baby boys [ed. note: healthy baby boys], given several months to grow and multiply in the lab, and then packaged into treatment vials that are shipped to a select group of U.K. physicians. Each vial costs approximately 750 pounds, or $1,000], according to the company spokesperson.

I discussed Vavelta in November.


Last week I saw news links similar to discussed before. And, while I’m happy an ethical issue appeared in the article…

There are also ethical issues to consider, especially if the folks behind Vavelta start paying parents for their sons’ severed sheaths.

… it hints at the wrong ethical issue. Parents do not own their sons’ foreskins. That’s why they don’t have the right to cut them off, much less demand payment for them. If a similar value worked for freshly circumcised adult foreskins, adult males should be free to sell for the highest price. They’re not, because the state thinks selling parts of your body is “wrong”. But taking healthy, functioning body parts from a child for no objective reason without his consent? That’s somehow a valid parental choice. It’s madness.


There was more in the original post, but it’s not necessary to repeat for this. I’ll add that discarded foreskins from adult males do not work well for this procedure. That changes nothing surrounding the ethical argument that demands stopping this practice.