A recent query on HARO was asking for sources who were considering donating their bodies to science. My husband and I have always been organ donors, and we both want to give all or most of our body parts to science. Reuse, recycle, nothing new, right? But have you ever thought about how you go about actually arranging it? Like many other things, it’s not quite as easy as just having the idea.
While organ donation, at least in New York, is just a matter of signing the back of your drivers license, whole body donations are not quite so simple. First of all, you need to decide whether you want to be an organ donor or, donate your full body. I always thought you could harvest the organs, and then donate the body, but that’s not the case. First of all, organs need to be harvested while you’re still technically alive (but brain dead). Whole body donations are done once you’re dead, but need to be done before the body is embalmed. And there is also living donation, such as donating a kidney, or bone marrow while you’re still alive. The Mayo Clinic will decide which is the best use of your body, however most other sites will only take the body if the organs are intact.
According to Organdonor.gov: “You can inform your family that organ donation is your first choice, but if it is found that you are not medically suitable for organ donation, your family can carry out your wishes for whole body donation.” No matter what you decide to do, you must make your wishes known while you’re still alive. The Mayo Clinic and other sites have donor forms for both organ and whole body donations, but you also need to discuss your wishes with loved ones.
Remember that each organ and tissue donor saves or improves the lives of as many as 50 people. Isn’t that the best legacy you could leave?
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