how to donate your body to science

How to Donate Your Body to Science

Donating your body to medical science may seem scary, but thousands of people do it! In fact, donating your body to science after you die is doing other people a fantastic service – you’re helping to continue medical research for decades to come. Here are some interesting points to keep in mind should you wish to donate your own body to science.

1. It’s a somewhat rare occurrence.

Believe it or not, body donation is still actually rarer than you might think. UK medical schools, for example, usually receive between 1,000 and 1,500 bodies that have been donated every year. However, due to illnesses and diseases that sweep the country (such as COVID-19), the numbers vary wildly!

2. Is being an organ donor the same as donating your body to science?

Despite common belief, donating your body is not the same as being an organ donor. When you die, your organs will then be used to help patients in need of replacement organs. Donating your body to science simply means you’re giving medical schools the opportunity to study how human cadavers react under intense analysis.

3. How do you donate your body to science?

When it comes to donating your body to medical science, you will need to contact a medical school directly. They will provide you with the necessary forms to complete.

Natural History Museum in Vienna


4. Requirements for donating your body may vary!

As you can imagine, you will only be allowed to donate your body to medical science if you are of sound mind. This means that you will have to complete all of the forms yourself, and nothing can be signed away on your behalf.

5. What happens after you die?

In the forms you complete, you will find a section about informing your relatives. You will get to decide how they are notified and what happens to your body after the research and analyses have been completed. This means that you can still have a funeral or any kind of ceremony after the research finishes.

6. Is there an age barrier?

Generally, you have to be at least 18 years old to be able to donate your body to medical science. This is due to the fact that all the forms require your complete adult consent – and you need to be able to fully understand what you are agreeing to. Age barriers may vary across the world, however.

7. Three’s the magic number.

Your body can stay with the medical school of your choice for up to three years. It can, of course, be a shorter spell than that – and you have complete control over the amount of time that they have! You will have to detail this in the forms you complete.

8. Being accepted as a body!

Despite the fact you may want to donate your body to medical science, you may not necessarily be accepted. The medical school in question can indeed refuse your body as a donation if they deem it necessary. Their potential reasons can be found on the forms they provide – it is definitely worth reading through them before you agree to action!

9. Intense research gets underway!

As you can imagine, during post-mortem research, all kinds of procedures take place. By donating your body to medical science, you are essentially giving full control of your body once you donate it to a chosen school! They can do anything they deem necessary to further their knowledge – and it is important that you understand just how far those procedures can go!

10. Finding a medical school.

Be sure to look for approved medical schools online to find a suitable program you’d like to donate to. You can also check out popular donation programs elsewhere on the web.

Science conference

FAQs about Donating Your Body to Medical Science

What are the disadvantages of donating your body to medical science?

The biggest and most concerning part about donating your body to science is that it is not left to your loved ones. Therefore, if they hold a service for you, they cannot have your body present to lay it to rest.

Can your donated body be preserved?

If you request it, yes, your body can be preserved. The body is treated with specific chemicals to achieve this.

Do you get paid for donating your body to science?

No, you do not get paid for donating your body, nor do your loved ones. It is considered to be an act of volunteering.

Do you know any fun facts about donating your body to medical science? Share them in the comments below!


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This page was last modified on February 7, 2023. Suggest an edit

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