If you’ve been a financial burden to your family (or not), consider this parting gift. Donating your body to science is FREE, and it would put your loved ones at ease at a time when they are mourning your loss and trying to figure out how to pay for your funeral.
Each year, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Americans donate their whole body, after death, to medical facilities throughout the country to be used in medical research projects, anatomy lessons and surgical practice.
After using your body, these facilities will then provide free cremation — which typically costs $600 to $3,000 — and will either bury or scatter your ashes in a local cemetery or return them to your family, usually within a year or two.
If you do decide you want to donate your body, it’s best to make arrangements in advance with a body donation program in your area. Most programs are offered by university-affiliated medical schools. To find one near you, the University of Florida maintains a list of U.S. programs and their contact information at www.med.ufl.edu/anatbd/usprograms.html.
In addition to the medical schools, there are also a number of private organizations like Anatomy Gifts Registry, BioGift and Science Care that accept whole body donations too.
After you have made arrangements, be sure your family members know your wishes so they will know what to do and who to contact after your death. It’s also a good idea to tell your doctor and put your wishes in writing in your advance directives. These are legal documents that include a medical power of attorney and living will that spell out your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical treatment when you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Make your wishes known TODAY, before the decision is taken from you!