Dicks: they're just like salamanders. Am I right, dicks? Nah, I'm wrong, as usual. Though scientific progress in the contemporary world is such that 100 heroes are currently making plans to voyage to Mars for the purpose of dying, the human penis cannot just willy-nilly regenerate its majestic sheath—as of yet.
Enter Foregen, the guy you really don't want to get stuck talking to at the party. "No human foreskin has ever been regenerated by medical science," their What Is The Foreskin? page intones gravely. "Foregen is dedicated to changing that. Only when true foreskin regeneration is possible can the harms done by circumcision be reversed—and the benefits of being intact regained." This company, via the Daily Mail (and a much longer piece on Vice, if you'd like to know more) is based in Italy but a 501(c)(3) here in the States. Their website says, "Foregen is not an activist organization; we have no legislative or political agenda, nor any desire to engage in the conversation that surrounds the topic of circumcision."
The beginning and the end of that sentence are dubious. The company's slogan is "Foregen: promoting genital Integrity (sic) through regenerative medicine." The men funding and running Foregen may not be activists, but they appear to be fervent intactivists, believing—in line with this recent Aeon essay—that the right to one's foreskin is somewhat akin to and embedded within the American right to pursuing happiness, and that male circumcision is a human rights tragedy much like female genital mutilation. (To learn more about intactivism, check out IntactAmerica.org, whose slogan is "Say No!") Their site says, "The foreskin is the heart of male sexuality," and "A penis subject to such interference cannot function normally ever again." Circumcision "renders a penis dysfunctional" and results in a "damaged physical appearance," which can lead to "body image problems, shame, and embarrassment to boys and men who have, against their will, been visibly made different from the majority of the world's men."
A quote from "Blair, Foregen supporter," goes:
The idea that I could possibly have my foreskin back fills me with a rush of emotions that I can't even put in to words. I might then feel like a human being who actually has rights and some control…
Emphasis my own, and also Blair's.
Foregen hopes to induce regeneration through a process of using the extra-cellular matrix ("the skeleton for a tissue") of the foreskin, reverting adult skin cells back to embryonic stem cells, then "seeding" the foreskin ECM with cells that will regenerate the tissue. Foregen, smartly, answers the inevitable question: why just foreskins here, and not, say, vital organs?
There is no question that a patient needs working vital organs before fully functional sexual organs to survive, but there are legitimate reasons to pursue foreskin regeneration that will benefit all aspects of the field of regenerative medicine.
First and foremost, the demand for a cure for circumcision is overwhelming. The body part that is in highest demand for regenerative purposes in the US is the kidney. About 100,000 people are on the waiting list for one. There are approximately 1,000 times as many men (100 million) who are in need of an intact penis in the US alone! Although not all of these men are aware of Foregen's existence yet, or even of the damage imposed upon them, they soon will be as we make progress towards regeneration.
Emphasis my own. My thoughts and prayers today are with the 100 million American men who may or may not be filled with a rush of emotions to imagine themselves as—like Blair put it—"a human being who actually has rights and some control." May you get that beautiful, sensitive mucuous membrane back on the dick. As John Legend put it: all of me loves all of you, all your curves and all your edges (of your missing foreskin), all your perfect imperfections (of your non-intact human rights flagship; donate to Foregen today).
Image via Shutterstock.