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JACKSON, Miss. — Mike Moore lost his penis in a botched circumcision but has passed the ultimate test of manhood by fathering a child without the use of artificial insemination.

Moore, a 30-year-old truck driver from Saucier, Miss., welcomed his son, Memphis, into the world on Oct. 4, becoming the first known man to have produced a child naturally with a reconstructed penis.

His son's birth not only fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a father but also inspired Moore to speak out about a condition of which he's no longer ashamed.

"This is not a rare situation," Moore said. "There are veterans that come back from war, and their genitalia is no longer there. There are people who get cancer and lose their genitalia. They have opportunities to live a normal life.

"We share our story so people won't give up hope on something like this."

Statistics on full or partial genitalia loss are elusive, but cases do occur with enough regularity that doctors have developed techniques for their reconstruction.

One of the leaders in this field is Dr. Gordon Lee, the Stanford University Medical Center plastic surgeon who invented the particular procedure used on Moore. Unlike most penis reconstruction surgeries that use tissue from the patient's arm to create a new organ, Lee's technique takes tissue from the thigh.

Lee performed the first such procedure on a Texas man who lost his penis to cancer. The story appeared in a newspaper read by Moore's uncle, a Texas resident. The uncle immediately called Moore and told him to read the story and contact the doctor.

Moore was skeptical. Three previously failed surgeries in his teens left him scarred and jaded. He doubted Lee would have better results but ultimately decided to go for it.

On July 26, 2007, Moore underwent the nearly seven-hour surgery. Lee took a large flap of tissue from Moore's thigh and rolled it into a tube for the shaft, which he sutured to the patient's groin. Moore's urethra, which was still intact, was run through the shaft. And the blood vessels from the skin flap were rerouted through the body and to the new penis.

It took several months to heal, but afterward, Moore had a fully functioning penis that can feel sensations, urinate and ejaculate. Because he lost the erectile tissue with his original penis, he cannot have an erection.

But the reconstructed penis isn't flaccid, so it's possible to perform intercourse and, in Moore's case, procreate. His is the first known case in the world, Lee said.

"Nobody wants to talk about it, or else they make jokes about it," Lee said, "but to the guys who have lost a penis, it's not funny. It's an important topic."

Most of Lee's patients lost their organs due to cancer or some other trauma. He rarely sees anyone due to a circumcision-related incident.

Moore hadn't been circumcised as a baby, but a lingering infection prompted a doctor to recommend it when he was 7 years old. The procedure seemed to go well, and Moore was discharged without incident.

But a week or so later while in the bathroom, he looked down and thought something looked wrong. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors tried to save his penis but ultimately were forced to amputate.

"At 7 years old, I didn't really know what was going on," Moore said. "I don't think I felt a sense of loss until I hit puberty."

It was later determined the laser cutting tool used in the procedure wasn't appropriate for circumcision, but the manufacturer, ValleyLab Inc., hadn't disclosed that.

Moore was at least the second child to have lost his penis due to the company's negligence. The laser severely burnt the genitalia of a 2-year-boy named Jeffery Felice in January 1984, according to court documents in the Felice family's successful lawsuit against ValleyLab.

Moore's family also sued ValleyLab and eventually settled, Moore said.

Growing up in a small town without a penis proved difficult. Kids made fun of Moore. Girls didn't want to date him. He got depressed, wondering if he would ever find love, get married and have a family.

Then he met Heather through a mutual friend.

"I knew about it," she said of his reconstructed penis, "and it didn't bother me at all because of how Mike is and how he treated me, like no other man has treated me. He loves me; he respects me. I don't see him no different."

The couple married in 2012 and decided to have a family but weren't sure they could. A fertility specialist advised them to try to conceive naturally.

In February 2013, Moore awoke to his wife beaming and holding a positive pregnancy test.

Today, Memphis is a happy 6-month-old boy who already sleeps through the night and entertains his parents with his coos and squeals. He's a good baby, they said, even during this month's plane ride to California, where little Memphis met Lee for the first time.

"It was awesome, meeting the man who made this all possible," Heather said. "I couldn't say enough 'thank yous.' "

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