Many people are familiar with organ donation, which involves giving up organs such as the heart, lungs, or kidneys to be transplanted into someone else’s body. If you sign up for this, you’ll likely have an indicator on your driver’s license or state ID.
Then, when you die, medical personnel will do what they can to save your organs so they can be used to save someone else’s life.
But there’s another, less well-known option if you’re interested in donating your body to science: whole-body donation.
What Is Body Donation?
This entails giving up your entire body to be used for medical research and education. The process usually happens like this:
You sign up with a body donation program while you’re alive. This allows them to get your consent, ask questions about your medical history, and gather other important information.
When you die, they will perform more tests to ensure that you’re eligible to donate. Illnesses that are spread through fluids, such as HIV or hepatitis, will likely exclude you.
The body will then be used for medical training, surgical practice, or scientific research. It’s possible that your body will be dissected or will be used in demonstrations or lectures.
After the program is done with your body, they will usually cremate it and return the ashes to your next of kin.
How To Become A Donor
If you’re interested in becoming a body donor, look for a non-transplant anatomical donation organization (NADO) accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).
Some of these organizations are nonprofits. Others are universities or hospitals which use medical education and research bodies.
It’s prohibited by law to sell human tissue in the US, so that you won’t receive any money for your donation.
More importantly, your donation could contribute to important medical discoveries or help train the next generation of doctors.
Talk to your family about your decision, so they can help make sure your wishes are respected after you die.
Your body donation can potentially save or improve many lives. Researchers and students rely on donated bodies to better understand the human body, how it works, how it breaks down, and how to fix it when it does.
When you are ready to sign up, get in touch with an accredited organization to begin the process. You can rest assured knowing that your body will be put to good use.