Can’t Afford a Funeral? Donate Your Body to Science!

Posted: October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
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When I lost my driver’s license and had to get a new one, the woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted to be an organ donor. I asked her if I could specify which organs I wanted to donate, because I didn’t want to donate my lungs to somebody who hoped to survive lung cancer only to discover that he or she would now have to deal with ongoing asthma.

No – organ donation was an all or nothing situation, she told me.

“Oh, well,” I said, “I’m being cremated anyway.”

To which she responded, “I’m donating my body to science. They pay for everything.”

WHAT? No funeral costs? Not even cremation expenses?

That’s right!

According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the average cost of a funeral in 2009 (their latest statistic) was $6,560, and that’s just with a basic metal casket. The NFDA didn’t list cremation costs, because expenses depended on “the type of permanent memorial, location of the memorial, urn and placement selected.”

As I drove home from the drivers license facility, I thought about what that woman had told me. I had never considered donating my body to science – I had forgotten it was an option. However, I couldn’t help but wonder how I might feel about medical students viewing my naked body. Then again, I’d be dead; so why would I care?

My reasons for donating my body to science are many: I don’t want to be a financial burden to my children; my lungs should provide scientists with lots of information about asthma; maybe finally I would get answers for why my right foot has been swollen since 1999; doctors would hopefully glean information about scoliosis, arthritis, breast cancer, migraines, and hemangiomas from examining my body – yes, this body is a virtual goldmine of medical information. Who knows – I might even be the catalyst for the cure of cancer without ever realizing I provided a significant contribution!

After I arrived home, I researched body donation and came across this blog – How to Donate Your Body to Science, by Donna Freedman – which offers links to and information about body donation services. Several factors contribute to whether or not science will even accept your body. Certain diseases, for instance, prevent body donation facilities from accepting your donation. (Read the blog for more information about why your body might not meet the criteria for donation.)

If, after you peruse the blog, you decide you are interested in whole body donation, search whole body donation sites for your state. For instance, I searched for, “whole body donation Illinois,” and found The Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois. All I need to do to donate my body to science is to fill out two forms and let my family know about my decision. That’s it!

So if you can’t afford a funeral, or if you just don’t want to pay for a funeral, and you want to donate your body to science, read How to Donate Your Body to Science.

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  1. Great idea! No, seriously. It is! I don’t want to stick my family with a bill.

  2. […] Can’t Afford a Funeral? Donate Your Body to Science!. Share this:DiggStumbleUponTwitterFacebookRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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