Since it was founded in 2010, I have been following the progress of Foregen, a not-for-profit organisation researching regenerative medicine to regrow the foreskin for circumcised men.
Initial reactions from the foreskin restoration communities were full of hope. But once the initial excitement wore off the mood evolved to skepticism, with many asking the tough questions around the science, the funding model, the official charitable status of the organisation and even the motivations behind the directors.
In a move to quash some of the doubt, Foregen President Vincenzo Aiello took to YouTube in this video with respected intactivist and TLC Tugger vendor Ron Low, to talk through the vision for the organisation, assure supporters of the transparency of the finances and to call for donations. Ron was also announced as Treasurer for the organisation.
Now they have demonstrated real progress including securing labs, carrying out successful testing with animal tissue, securing a source of human tissue, registering as a tax-exempt charity in the US and announcing a much requested crowd sourcing campaign, many of the detractors have been silenced.
The recent announcement of some of the above news has also attracted the attention of the mainstream media for the first time, with stories being featured in the UK’s Mirror and then the Daily Mail. Other news providers and bloggers then followed suit, with this Mama Mia piece being the first major Australian site to run with the story, albeit with an insensitive tone.
While I’ve had quite a satisfactory sex life with my current circumcised status, I’ve been I’ve been keeping an eye of Foregen’s progress, and would not have ruled out taking up the regeneration option should it ever become available. However, there is small but significant detail highlighted in the Mirror that leaves me a little squeamish:
This involves finding donor foreskins from dead bodies, stripping them of the donor’s cells (decellularization) to leave behind a tissue scaffold, and then populating that scaffold with the patient’s own stem cells, taken from their penis.
Using the organs and other body parts from those selfless souls who wish to leave them for others is now widely accepted. But the idea of having part of the penis from someone else attached to me brings visions of some low grade horror/pornography crossover movie. Would I be able to block out thoughts of the previous owner during love making? How would my partner feel, or should I not tell her? Would I be obligated to disclose this information?
I applaud the progress that Foregen has made in their short history, and hope that thousands of men will finally feel complete once the procedure is proven successful.
I’m just not sure at this stage if the procedure is going to be for me.
Image courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net