How to Donate Your Body to Science After You Die

Written by kate bluest
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How to Donate Your Body to Science After You Die
Donating your body to science after death is a way to continue your contributions to society after your departure. (Mel Curtis/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Donating your body to science has many benefits, including reducing, or in some cases eliminating, the funeral and burial costs as well as contributing to science. Donate your body to a medical school and you could end up practised on by medical students, a resident on the body farm (University of Tennessee's Forensic Anthropology Center) or a crash test cadaver (Wayne State University School of Medicine). Donate your body to a museum and you could end up a skeleton (Maxwell Museum) studied by anthropological researchers, on display to be studied by physicians brushing up on their skills (Mutter Museum) or in a travelling exhibit (Body Worlds). Donate your body to a body broker and they will distribute parts of or your whole body to organisations that will use your body for scientific purposes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Write a list of questions you have about body donations. This list could include concerns about: donation costs; methods of transportation for your body after your death; how your body will be used; and whether your ashes will be returned to your loved ones.

  2. 2

    Locate an organisation that accepts body donations. You can start your search using an online directory of organisations that accept body donations like the directory located on the University of Florida State Anatomical Board website or by contacting a medical school near you.

  3. 3

    Contact body donation organisations that you believe might be good fit for you. Ask your questions and request body donation paperwork.

  4. 4

    Choose a location close to your home if finances are a concern because often your family is responsible for the transportation costs after your death.

  5. 5

    Discuss your decision to donate your body with the individuals who will assist in carrying out your wishes after your death.

  6. 6

    Fill out the body donation paperwork provided by the organisation. They will ask questions about your medical history. Also, you will sign an agreement to donate your body that cannot be broken by your relatives after your departure. You must have someone witness your signature.

Tips and warnings

  • Transport to the organisation after you pass away is often arranged through the funeral home.
  • According to CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, most body brokers cover the cost of transportation and will pay for cremation of the body parts not used in research. This minimises the costs associated with your death.
  • Be sure you have a clear understanding of how your body will be transported. Do not leave it up to your loved ones to figure out.

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