Shocking statistics: Some hospitals and doctors are capitalizing off your child's circumcision... even their foreskin.NBC 5's Jennifer Elliott has more.
Once a circumcision is done, the foreskin doesn't always get disposed of in the biohazard.That left over piece of skin has a lot of uses you may not know about.
We want to warn you some of the material in this story may be considered graphic.
"There was some mutilation that took place because of the surgery," says Medford mother Dee dee Morgan. She says she's heard of a child whose circumcision was done incorrectly. "That has life long repercussions," says Morgan.
"There's a lot of things that parents don't realize about circumcision. When they're deciding about it they're not thinking about the fact that the doctor is going to be paid for the operation. If the circumcision is botched, you'll have to go to a pediatric eurologist and you'll have to pay them as well," says investigative journalist and author Jennifer Margulis. She says her research has found that circumcisions are big business for many hospitals and doctors.
"A lot of things done to infants and even to pregnant women are done because people make money from them," comments Margulis.
A single circumcision costs anywhere from 100 to 500 dollars. She says each year hospitals can make 1 million dollars off the procedure.
However, Doctor Taylor Drake says, as a personal physician, she's not raking in the dough.
"We do block out the hour in case there is complications," says Drake, "and during that time we could see - if we see a kid every 15 minutes - so basically it's a wash. I don't consider it a money maker."
But she does tell us, not in Oregon, but in some parts of the country... the left over foreskin is kept. "I trained in Iowa and we kept them," says Drake.
"Neo-natal fibroblast is a code word for infant foreskins. So these foreskins are sold to use in the biomedical industry." Margulis says.
She continues that each 6 inch piece of skin can be sold for as much as $2,000 dollars. Cells are harvested for use in high end beauty products, like the UK's Vavelta.It's also used in tissue grafts for burn and skin cancer victims. and for research. In fact you can purchase neo natal fibroblasts, or foreskin cells, for $399 per milliliter online.
"I think that parents should be informed. You need to read the fine print when you sign a consent form," comments Margulis.
Government data shows about 55 to 65% of U.S. males are circumcised. But in other parts of the world: "It used to be that every British man was circumcised. A few years after 1948 and the British medical system became public, fewer than 5% now of British men are circumcised. When you take the profit motive out of circumcision docs stop doing it."
The procedure, considered cosmetic by doctors, can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases. Risks, although rare, include infection, botched circumcisions, and even death.
"Back when my oldest was born, what you heard was there was more risk for adult males to have problems and it's harder to have it done as an adult, you might as well just do it as a baby," comments Morgan. While, Morgan wanted all her four son's to be circumcised, she does say you should know all the facts:
"I think there's risks either way, but I think on both sides they're minimal risks. You just have to decide what you are willing to live with or not live with or what you think your child would want," says Morgan. A decision that, either way, lasts a lifetime.
This topic can be considered very controversial. We bring you this story purely to inform. In studio, Jennifer Elliott, NBC 5 News.