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ETpro's avatar

How do I arrange it so that my body is donated to scientific research after my death?

Asked by ETpro (34605points) November 27th, 2013

I’m having trouble wording the question so that it’s clear I mean making the arrangements now, not after I’m dead. But I’d like to make such arrangements. Go to a funeral director and it can easily end up costing my estate $10,000 or more, money my survivors can certainly find a better use for. I’d feel much better knowing that instead of a costly burial taking money from my heirs, my demise might actually do them some good should medical science learn a bit about how to mitigate whatever ends up doing me in.

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15 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Put it in your will and make sure it is common knowledge in your family.

gailcalled's avatar

Call your local medical school; they will have info about language and legality.

Seelix's avatar

@gailcalled has the right idea, I think. I would contact the nearest medical school or teaching hospital and get some information there. I’m sure it won’t be the first time they’ve been asked.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’ve dealt with the Humanity Gifts Registry (for patient’s that have done this), but that is local to my area. There are numerous ways to set this up before your death. Do a search for “Willed body programs in (your area)” or check out this site to see if there is something listed for your area. Not all medical schools accept bodies for donation for research.

Once you have everything arranged with them, you will want to notify your doctor and have a copy of the information as part of your living will, that way, if you are admitted to the hospital and unable to give the information yourself, the hospital staff will have the information.

Things are done differently with your body once you die if it is being donated, so the staff needs to know that before you die.

MadMadMax's avatar

Bodies the exhibition was made with bodies donated for science. Specify “Medical school for medical research or organ donation only.”

Pick a med school and make note of it in your wallet. Also check box on drivers license.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Decide what you want your body used for then speak to the establishment in question as to what you should specify in your will.

MadMadMax's avatar

I worked as the assistant to a Director of a dept at a major medical school. I’ve taken gross anatomy in college as well. I think I’d rather be cremated. I hope that doesn’t sound selfish but I’ve been clear that I would want the cheapest disposal possible and I just want my ashes to be spread over some gorgeous land in California.

My greatest, stupid, fear since I will not know anything anyway is that my remains will be stuck in the south until our sun goes Nova. That’s a horrible thought to me.

ninjacolin's avatar

You may want to donate your organs to someone in need first and the rest to science. :)

ETpro's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Good point. Will do.

@gailcalled We’ve got Harvard, Boston University, U Mass and Tufts here just to name the top tier.

@Seelix Will do. Thanks

@Seaofclouds Thanks for the detailed into and links. With the wealth of medical research centered here in Boston, I am sure it will be possible to arrange it.

@livelaughlove21 Great resource. Thanks so much for the link.

@Lightlyseared If the use helps humanity, than I’m happy. Not sure I even know what will help the most.

@MadMadMax Look at the bright side. Out Sun is too low in mass to supernova, but it will become a Red Giant during its death throes, and the latest calculations say it will melt and absorb Earth. So at that point, you will be part of the brown dwarf it shrinks back to after it consumes even its heavier fusionable materials.

@ninjacolin The Macachussets RMV makes that a snap. Already done. Although I’ve pretty well used and abused my various parts. There may be nothing left worth salvaging.

8magnum8's avatar

If you look on the back of your license/id it says what you would like to donate after your death, organs, tissues and so. Just check those boxes and have a witness and I’m sure it will happen. You may have to put something in your will like said, but you can also do this.
Ps. I’m not sure it will say this on the back of your license but in michigan it does.

MadMadMax's avatar

I used the word Nova just off the top of my head. I know the sun’s demise will come and the earth will be long gone by then. If I’m burned to carbonized ash, I guess I will ultimately be starstuff.

ETpro's avatar

@8magnum8 Here in MA the only option is organ donation.

@MadMadMax That’s a great way to look at it. You are star dust. The elements in your body were forged in nuclear fusion reactions in massive stars at least 10 solar masses or more. And when we die, we eventually revert back to what will be the next generation of life.

LornaLove's avatar

That’s an excellent idea @ETpro I also believe in saving on funeral costs. I have no idea how but I seem to have donated mine already since I got a thank you letter!!!! I’m glad to know this ‘mistake’ will mean my friends will not have to dispose of me.

ETpro's avatar

@LornaLove Good going. Looks like Lady Luck isn’t going to do it for me, though. So I have to get busy and make sure all is arranged before it’s too late.

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