The Truth About What Happens When You Donate Your Body to Science

Donating your body to science is a way of giving back after death. With this in mind, it can offer hope for future generations. By donating you are helping others live longer lives with less pain in some cases!

If you qualify for donating your body to science it is a much cheaper way of avoiding the cost. In other words, the hassle involved in funeral arrangements. You won’t have any expenses for burials, caskets, or gravesites.

Furthermore, this can help save thousands by not having an extravagant ceremony. Additionally, when it could be just as simple – if not simpler than what others opt for.

In this article, we help guide you and go over some of the common questions and concerns. In fact, so you can make the best decisions moving forward.

We encourage you to have your family and loved ones close in the decision-making process as well. It is important for them to know what your wishes are so there are no unexpected surprises.

What Happens When you Donate Your Body to Science in USA

Body donation is the ultimate way to give back in life after death. Especially since donated bodies can be used for educational purposes or continuing medical education. In general, research on humans with anatomy that has nothing left behind after death – like our organs!

Unlike the green burial, It’s no surprise that the demand for whole-body donations is at an all-time high. Interesting to know, medical schools were only accepting these types of applications; now private programs are taking advantage and there are many Nationwide.

There is some cost to donate your body to science. But we will get into more detail later in this article. But know that most programs will cover the costs of cremation. In fact, your remains will be returned to your family. You just have to do some research and find the right ones you will feel comfortable with.

While doing some research, you will come across The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. This is a law that grants people the right to choose whole body donation. Most states have been quite successful in governing how individuals can donate their bodies for scientific research.

Above all, it is important that the local medical school or donation program be contacted before death. With this in mind, consent forms will be required as well. In addition, keep up with their policies and procedures.

Especially when we make arrangements for the disposition of my remains after the death Procedure. We can’t stress enough, we highly recommend you discuss your wishes with your loved ones. Let them be a part of the entire process.

A man, Jim Stauffer is taking a body donation company to court. He says that instead of using his mom’s body for science and learning, like they promised, it was sold for military tests.

This news is shocking and has many people worried about how donated bodies are really used.

The lawsuit is not just about one person; it’s about making sure that all donated bodies are treated with respect. This case could change the rules to make sure everything is done the right way in the future.

The company accused of this awful, unimaginable thing is the Biological Resource Center (BRC) they are no longer in business. But it goes to show this can happen to anyone!

What are the Different Types of Body Donation

Above all, when you die, whether you are a senior or younger, there are 4 popular types of body donation.

  • Organ/Tissue Donation-It’s a privilege to be able to give someone else life. Giving your organs and tissues will save other people from having injuries or diseases. For this reason, it will also help you live on through them! Next time you renew your driver’s license check the box that says “organ donor.”
  • Whole Body Donation– If you are looking to donate your body, there is a full-body donation program for medical schools. Whole Body Donations can be very beneficial. It allows individuals who want nothing more than their remains. In fact, it avoids funeral costs or other expenses that would come along with traditional burials.
  • The plastination Process –The way in which we preserve our bodies is through the plastination procedure. the donated body will be preserved by replacing bodily fluids and fats with plastic that hardens. With this in mind, it will be heated up to create an exact mold of you! Quite incredible if you ask me!
  • Body Farm -Your whole body can become a teaching tool for students and professionals. This helps them learn about various stages of decomposition. If you donate your remains, they will not be able to return the corpse back home. Important to realize, there are seven different U.S.-based “Body Farms” where people’s cadavers have been used since 1965. This was when Texas A&M University officials created it. After all, it was under Governor John Tower – now called The Tarrant County Morgue Huts Historic Site.

What Disqualifies you from Donating Your Body To Science

For specific medical reasons, your body may not be accepted. In many cases, organizations only accept bodies with complete organs. In the event that you have donated before.

It would also cause problems for any reason due to unnatural death. In this case, chances are high that this will rule out an opportunity as well.

The final decision if a person can donate their organs depends upon the severity of their disease. Or any other conditions that may affect them at the time of death. Trauma, obesity-related health problems such as diabetes as well.

This doesn’t allow for donation because it could put another individual in danger by taking vital organs needed to survive.”

Why A Donation May Be Denied

It’s important to know the risks involved and what happens if your application is denied. Here are some reasons why program registration might deny donations:

  • Autopsy on your body
  • Infectionous Disease such as (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS)
  • Emaciated
  • Obesity
  • Kidney failure
  • Donor embalmed before arriving to the Mayo Clinic 
  • Prior organ donation
  • Death after 48 hours
  • Major Trauma to body at time of death
  • History of Intravenous (IV) drug use

Medcure Body Donation Program

MedCure is a nonprofit that bridges the gap between donors and medical professionals.  Furthermore, MedCure is an organization that benefits the medical industry by providing whole-body donations. Medics rely on these types of individuals, as they provide vital research materials. Furthermore, help shape future advancements in treatment for many diseases.

MedCure funeral home carefully screens all potential donors. For this reason, this is to ensure those who are donated whole-body will be used for research purposes. In the same fashion for education classes as well. Especially, when they pass away from natural causes such as old age.

In addition to where there’s no disease involved upon their passing. This provides doctors with invaluable information. Also, nurses and other health care professionals rely heavily upon donations like these too!

To emphasize, choosing a body donation program with AATB accreditation ensures that donors are treated with the highest level of respect. The AATB sets ethical standards for all its organizations.

While offering donors their families assurance about where your gift will go-to legitimate research or education programs only.

How Do I Arrange To Donate My Body To Science

There are two main ways to donate your body for medical research. The first option is a whole-body donation. This will allow the recipient program to shoulder all expenses involved.

Keep in mind these expenses include transportation and cremation. Sometimes these costs can be covered by an organization if they have agreed beforehand.

It is very important to give consent before donating your body. You need a handwritten declaration (codicil). The declaration needs to state that you wish for medical science after death. This can be done through an anatomical institute’s website or in-person with them.

Donating your whole body to science is a really important decision. With this in mind, it is so imperative to let your friends, loved ones and family know about this decision. You don’t want there to be any surprises later on. In addition, your family may have questions. This is an opportunity to allow them to be a part of the process.

Please keep in mind and be prepared and know that there is a chance it won’t work out. You need an alternative plan in case the program declines you. Have a backup plan in place with family and loved ones. Also, put a Will in place with your wishes as well.

Does Donating Your Body To Science Cost Money

You may be surprised to learn that donating your whole body is not completely free. Again, there are no direct expenses involved with donating your whole body to science. Such as a casket or funeral expenses, but there may still be some indirect costs. These costs include but may not be limited to:

  • Transportation of the body
  • Filing an official certificate with the social security office
  • Funeral home service
  • Cremation
  • Return of your cremation remains or spreading of your ashes

Body Donation vs Burial and Cremation Insurance

Below are 3 popular ways for body donation versus life insurance or burial insurance.

Anatomical Donation– Donating your whole body to science may be an option for you if organ donation isn’t possible. Whole-body donations can improve lives in so many different ways – but this comes with its costs as well. Soley through the potential medical research, education, and training opportunities w

Traditional Burial and Burial Insurance -Burials have long been the accepted standard for end-of-life arrangements in America. It complies with most religious groups’ funeral customs and traditions. Keep in mind, this provides a physical place to visit your loved one’s final resting site or grave. The average burial price can be anywhere from $7000-$20,000 or more depending on what your wishes are.

Cremation and Cremation Insurance– Notably, the growing popularity of cremation has been attributed both to the lower cost and its increased acceptance among certain religious groups. Families choosing cremation may still wish to hold a memorial ceremony. For one thing, there are many options for what happens after their loved one’s ashes are scattered or in a beautiful urn. The cost for cremation insurance is anywhere between $2000-$8000 depending on your wishes and if there will be a ceremony.

Covid19 and Body Donation

Some interesting facts regarding Covid19 and donation when we looked further into this ourselves.

The Ohio State University College of Medicine had stopped temporarily accepting donations. In fact, around April of this year has announced that they will once again accept donations from COVID-19 victims.

They have new protocols and guidelines set in place after the virus’s emergence. Overall, to better protect those who donate their bodies for scientific research, as well as all other donors going forward.

In addition, Midwestern University never stopped accepting donors and does not test bodies for COVID-19.

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Considering Some Costs, Is Body Donation or Burial Insurance a Better Option?

Choosing between body donation and burial insurance depends on individual circumstances, but it’s important to note that while body donation can reduce costs significantly, it may not be entirely free. There might be some expenses related to the donation process, such as transportation of the body or fees for death certificates. Burial insurance, on the other hand, provides a dedicated fund to cover funeral expenses. This decision should be based on personal values, financial considerations, and the potential costs associated with each option.

Does every body qualify for donation?

Not every body is eligible for donation. The acceptance of a donated body depends on certain medical and health criteria at the time of death. Factors such as the presence of certain infectious diseases, the condition of the body, and the cause of death can impact eligibility. Each donation program has its own specific criteria, so it’s important to check with the chosen program for their guidelines.

What happens to my body after I donate it to science?

After donating your body, it is typically used for medical research or education. This can include studying diseases, testing new medical procedures, or training medical students. Bodies are carefully preserved and handled respectfully throughout this process.

Can my family have a funeral or memorial service if I donate my body?

Yes, families can still hold a memorial service or funeral. While the body is usually not present (as it’s with the medical facility), families can opt for a memorial service to honor and remember the loved one.


We’ve seen how donating your body to science can help advance research and the medical field. It is a selfless act that benefits many people. There are some aspects of it you should be aware of before giving up your mortal coil.

To point out, donations may not be accepted. If you have an infectious disease, communicable condition. certain types of trauma might make this option more difficult. Especially, for families who need closure after losing someone close to them in sudden circumstances.

Funeral services are expensive and if you die unexpectedly from trauma, and your body cannot be or is not accepted for donation, your family will have to pay for everything.

Burial insurance or cremation insurance can help cover the costs of a funeral. In the event that something happens at an unexpected time when your family needs it the most.

Our passion is helping you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

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