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What are the pros and cons of donating your body to science?
What can I do with my remains?
As we all can guess, body farms cannot operate without bodies. Med students need cadavers to 'practice' medicine on. The U.S. Government accepts bodies for training purposes (Yes, even for live simulation target practice).
There is a market for bodies and body parts. Donating organs for transplant is fairly common these days. I have heard that in third world countries, some people are paid for donating a working kidney and it is removed even while they are still using it.
Donating your body can save your family a lot of time and expense. It is important to prepare your family if you plan on donating your body. They may or may not want to support you.
Also, plan well in advance for your choice of where to donate your body and how it will be used. What will become of the remains? Who will receive the remains? How long will your body be with the facility? Where and how long will the body be stored during the "usage" time. How will the body be transported to the facility? What paperwork is required?
Pros and Cons of body donation
Type of Body Donation
Train future doctors which will save lives in the future
Disrespect? of person
Medical school will assume most of the financial burden
Remains are usually returned cremated which may contradict religious beliefs
May contribute to future medical treatments that save lives
The decision to donate is difficult and families may not agree or cooperate with your wishes
Some tissues may be harvested and used to help others before the body is sent to a training facility
There are medical and legal issues that must be solved well ahead of time
Training of criminal scientists
Body may or may not be returned to family
Training of Anthopologists
Infectious disease deaths are not accepted
Body may be instrumental in solving crimes
Donation paperwork may require your life story with photos and unusual permissions
Transportation of remains is usually available
Body may be used for traumatic injury demos and may be on display for months or years
Body is used to test safety equipment and may save a soldiers life
Body is usually traumatized in some way during testing
Body may be used for training in a variety of schools such as mortician school, car safety demos
Body may be traumatized during testing
Tips for making your body donation decision.
Always discuss your wishes as soon as you can with your family. They will most likely be surprised and maybe hurt to learn that you do not want a funeral.
Research all of your options before choosing the recipient of your body. Get informed about what they will do with your remains. Discuss this with your family also.
Discuss your decision with your priest, pastor or other religious leader. There are some religions where body donation is not acceptable.
Plan for any expenses involved with your donation. Some places will pay for the expenses, some will not. Some places will pay for cremation and or burial. Some places will transport your body at their expense. Some places will ask that your body be delivered at your expense.
Get everything spelled out in writing and properly witnessed and possibly notarized. Keep the paperwork in a file called "In the event of my death" along with your last will and testament. Give a copy to your lawyer or executor of your estate and remains.
Where to go to donate your body for science:
- Anatomical Board's List of Body Donation Programs
State by state list of organizations that accept whole body donations.
- Final Rights » Body Donations
Final Rights takes a fresh new look at the death-care business as it exists in 2011, exposing corruption where it exists (in far too many places) while giving credit where due.
What will you do in the event of your death?
Are you considering donating your body to science?
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© 2012 Lela