is it ethical to use foreskins to make apligraf?

i just did my research ethics exam (psych honours) and i learnt that we must not carry out research that does not hold the participant's interests and wellbeing above that of potential advancements in research knowledge (let alone bio companies' bank accounds :-\)

cutting off an infant boy's foreskin would appear to me to be something which this ethical guideline is designed to prevent. this is because cutting off the foreskin is extremely harmful to the infant, it causes great pain and trauma (including psychological/emotional). additionally, no modern medical research supports the routine removal of infant boys' foreskins.

this is because the foreskin actually helps prevent the very medical problems its removal was originally cited as preventing. such as urinary tract infections (possibly even hiv/aids).

apligraf is artificial skin to provide temporary help in treating diabetic, venous, and pressure ulcers. it has also been used in burns treatment.

Update: - that's where i found out about this


medline article confirming i know what i'm talking about ;-)

if you've forgotten about ethics stuff... eg clause 13.2

fyi, no major medical organisation supports infant male genital mutilation:

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Intel_Knight wrote:

    >> This is a case of tissue donation, so the decision should be made by the parents. <<

    What other healthy normal body part of a child is a parent allowed to donate without their child's permission?

    The answer is of course, no (it's not ethical), since the victim does not consent. Doctors have no business asking the parents what should be cut off an infant. The parents are not the patient. The doctor's obligation is to act in the best interests of the patient.

    NOT ONE national health organization in the world recommends routine circumcison.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This is a case of tissue donation, so the decision should be made by the parents.

    Generally, the circumcision is not research, it is a plastic surgery done for religious or cultural reasons. There are medical benefits to it, especially in hot climates with water too scarce for personal hygeine. In modern US this is more of a cultural than religious thing; decision not to circumsize would often made the child a subject of teasing at school.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.