Considerations for Donating the Body to Science

Funeral Ceremonies and Donation of the Body

In an age where studying the human body can help medical science and organs can save lives, donation is an important consideration. Donation of organs or donation of the body should not affect funeral ceremonies. Donated organs must be transplanted shortly after death. After the organs have been taken, all aspects of the funeral can proceed as they would otherwise, including an open casket viewing, traditional funeral services, and burial or cremation. Likewise, donation of a body to medical science can be preceded by a viewing and funeral ceremonies.

Take these 3 steps to ensure that your donation wishes will be followed:

  1. Make your family aware of your decision to donate. Family consent will be needed regardless of whether you have signed a Donor Card or a Driver’s License. They will be more likely to follow your wishes if you have discussed the issue with them previously.
  2. Sign a Uniform Donor Card and have 2 people (preferably family members) sign as witnesses. The back of your Driver’s License may also have a donor authorization form.
  3. Carry the Donor Card in your wallet at all times.

Additional information and Donor Cards can be obtained via the web from:

American Medical Association (www.ama-assn.org)

International Association for Organ Donation (www.iaod.org)

See related topics:

Preparation of Deceased
Embalming
DNA Sampling
Autopsy

Go to Funeral Guide — Index of Topics.