When someone donates their body to science, they may receive free cremation. This arrangement can help you or a loved one reduce costs after death, while also helping to supporting scientific research. If you’ve always been curious about the process, here’s some information to help you make your decision.
Donating Your Body to Science
If someone wants to donate their body to science, they need to make arrangements before their death. You cannot set up a body donation for another person. They need to consent prior to death.
In Massachusetts, donors must fill out an Instrument of Anatomical Gift. This is a straightforward legal form that explains your rights and what happens to your body after donation if accepted. The form must be signed by two witnesses, and then you can send it to the facility where you want to donate your body.
Once you agree to donate your body to science, your loved ones cannot revoke that decision after your death, but you have the right to revoke the decision anytime before your death. Bodies must meet certain requirements to be viable for research, and research facilities may turn down bodies after death. Families must fill out an application with area hospitals to determine if donation is approved.
In particular, bodies may be turned down if the individual has an infectious disease such as AIDS or HIV as well as in cases where the body suffered excessive trauma. To be prepared, you may want to make alternative arrangements with a funeral home for cremation or burial just in case.
Benefits of Body Donation
Body donation is a powerful gift to the world of medical research and education. In particular, researchers use body donations to further research on cancer, Alzheimer’s, neurology issues, multiple sclerosis, and many other areas, and donated bodies also help train surgeons, physicians, and other medical professionals. Additionally, if accepted, teaching hospitals will cover the costs of cremation.
Places to Donate Your Body to Science in Boston
In the Boston area, there are a number of places that can help you to make arrangements to donate your body to science:
- Harvard Medical School
- LifeQuest Anatomical
- Boston University School of Medicine
- Tufts University School of Medicine
- University of Massachusetts Medical School
You can bequeath your body to any of these institutions prior to your death.
The Process of Body Donation
After death, the institution where you have agreed to donate your body makes arrangements to receive the body. The length of time the body is needed for research can vary from a few weeks to up to 18 months. Once the research is complete, the body is cremated for free.
If you donate your body to Harvard, Tufts, or the University of Massachusetts, you can opt to have your ashes interred for free at the Pine Hill Cemetery in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Alternatively, the ashes can be sent to your loved ones after cremation.
When you donate your body to science, you can still have a meaningful memorial service, and our staff at Boston Cremation can help you plan that. Depending on your wishes and the preferences of your loved ones, you can arrange to have the memorial service immediately after death or after your loved ones receive the cremains. To learn more, contact us directly.