I have come across many people who wish to be of ongoing benefit to the greater community after they have died. Sometimes their organs are not suitable for transplant, so the other option is donating their body to science. I have also come across many people who screw their face up at the thought of donating to science, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!
There are a number of Universities in QLD that have body donation programs. Their rules around who is accepted may vary slightly. Generally, to be accepted into the program you need to fall into the catchment zone of the university that you are donating to. If you happened to die interstate or away from that area your body would not be able to be donated, even if you were registered for the program. A person who has donated their organs also cannot be accepted into the program. The body needs to have a complete circulatory system in order to be accepted. You can absolutely register for both programs, but you wouldn’t be able to do both when the time came.
Out of all the people who register to donate their body to science, approximately 15% are accepted into the program once they die. Therefore, all applicants need to have a funeral plan, or at a minimum, funeral arrangements in place just in case they don’t make it into the program.
If you are accepted into the donation program your body will be embalmed, so if you have any condition that prevents embalming then unfortunately you wouldn’t get accepted.
Depending on which program you get accepted into will depend on how long your body is stored and used. Some programs have a 3-year time period, at the end of the 3 years your body is cremated and your remains given to your next of kin. The other option that is available with some institutions is an indefinite donation. Your body is used for an indefinite period, some parts of the body may be used in a museum, or for teaching purposes so are prepared for long term preservation. At the end of the indefinite program, your body is cremated. Your next of kin are not notified and the ashes are not given to them.
If donating your body to science is something that you feel passionate about then do it! It’s not everyone’s ideal death plan, however body donations are so important for the education of future doctors and the advancement in medical science. It is something you should speak to your family about; they may be shocked to find that you won’t have a traditional funeral. The programs generally won’t accept a body if the family feels very strongly that they don’t want their loved one in the program, so definitely something to get everyone comfortable with beforehand. A memorial service can still be had for family members even without your physical body being present and that’s something you could plan with them.
It is also essential to have a funeral plan in place just in case your body isn’t accepted. Speak with one of our funeral director’s and get all the planning taken care of whilst you are doing your application for body donation. Most of the universities need to see proof that a funeral plan has been put in place before they will accept your submission.
Body donation certainly isn’t for everyone. I think it takes someone special to give that special gift of themselves for the greater good of their community and country. It is admirable to be so selfless in death, and it’s amazing that so many people are choosing to donate their body because the programs are full.
If you have questions about donating your body to science, pre-planning funerals or questions about funerals in general, why not get in touch with us on 1300 043 522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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