How to Donate a Body to Science After Death

If you wish to donate your body to science, now it is possible after you have passed away. However, first consult the anatomical institute of one of the universities or hospitals to consider the procedures, as this is different from organ or tissue donor registration. However, if you are already a registered organ or tissue donor, it plays a significant role in body donation.

You need to request permission from an anatomical institution for body donation to science and medical research. They need a handwritten statement saying that you desire your body to be given to medical science after your death. For the institute record, you must also sign and date the declaration.

Acceptance criteria for Body Donation

Many individuals, such as those with cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, fulfil the requirement for donation. The final acceptance criteria depend on conditions like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, COVID-19 (symptoms, exposure, or diagnosis), unusually high or low body mass index (BMI), permission challenges, location of residence or passing, legal matters, condition of the body at the time of passing, or any failure to place the donation with current medical research or educational projects at the time of passing.

Can anyone donate their body to science?

While there are differences in particular viewpoints, it is evident that the majority of the world’s main faiths, Religious Funeral Customs, approve, and promote transplantation and donation.

It is not always feasible to ensure everybody will be able to donate their body to research and science. A body may be rejected for donation if:

  • A coroner’s post mortem is needed;
  • A person dies in another country;
  • A person has a severe infection (e.g. tuberculosis, HIV, MRSA, hepatitis septicemia);

On the other hand, donations from cancer patients may be considered.

Body donation procedure

Locate the nearest medical institution, hospital or non-governmental organization (NGO) that may be able to assist with body donation and contact them to learn about their criteria for whole body registration. The regulations and procedures will be somewhat different for each hospital. Communicate your desire to donate your body with your family since your family will be the ones to carry out the procedure of donating your body when you pass away.

The protocol for accepting a whole-body donation at different institutions starts with receiving notification of a donor’s death. Next, the donation program coordinator at a specific institute should be contacted by a health care representative from the hospital, medical institution, or hospice agency where the death occurs. The supervisor will go through the acceptance process to see whether the donation is acceptable. If a possible donor satisfies the acceptance requirements, the next family will be approached to evaluate whether or not whole-body donation should be pursued. After that, the body will be transported to the concerned location.

Suppose the person dies outside of a medical institution or while receiving hospice care. In that case, local law authorities should be informed, and the coroner or forensic expert will decide if an autopsy is required. If no more research is necessary, the applicable department or organization will be contacted, and the acceptance process will begin.

In most cases, investigations on donated bodies take six to fifteen months. Biocremation is a method of ultimate disposal. The biocremated remains might be given to the family. If the donor chooses conventional cremation or burial, the casket and all funeral costs are the responsibility of the donor’s family.

What happens to the body after donation?

Your body will be delivered to the anatomical institution when you die. However, it will not be handed to your closest family for a funeral. Instead, it will instruct medical students and conduct research, such as exploring novel surgical procedures.

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