Organ and Whole Body Donation – How Do I Choose?

Organ and Whole Body Donation – How Do I Choose?
Good news! You don’t have to choose.

You can register to be both an organ donor and a whole body donor. There is great need for both kinds of donation for different reasons.

The choice to register as an organ donor is inspired by the knowledge that an individual’s life can be saved through the transplant of a single organ. Each day, about 79 people receive organ transplants. But 18 people die each day waiting for transplants due to the shortage of donated organs.

Organ donation can save up to 8 lives and change the lives of more than 50 people on several long waiting lists.

What if we could keep people off of those lists?

Did you know that many people in need of organ transplants need them because their organs have degenerated due to disease that medical research works to prevent? Whole body donation enables medical advances to combat disease and improve technologies so that organ transplants may not be needed.

"I want to save lives, but I don’t think I am healthy enough to donate."

Healthy organs are sought for organ transplant and individuals suffering from degenerative diseases may not be good candidates for particular organ donation. But they are still good candidates for whole body donation.

Whole body donation enables saving of lives through advancing medical research, and by training surgeons on new medical procedures and use of new technology.

What kind of research is done with donated bodies?

  • Research on prevention and treatment of top killing diseases including heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, HIV and diseases affecting the human brain such as Alzheimer’s.Life saving procedures for first responders
  • Surgical Procedure Training for hip replacements, ankle surgeries, Cochlear implants and development of prosthetics
  • Training in use of new equipment including use of robotic surgical equipment and equipment for exploratory surgeries that help discover an individual’s particular problem

Check out Science Care’s research stories which highlight how whole body donation advances medical research and training.

With Science Care, most of the time individuals can be BOTH organ donors for transplant purposes as well as whole body donors for medical research and education.

If the concept of whole body donation a mystery to you, you are not alone. This interview with Science Care's Director of Donor Services provides answers to common questions about whole body donation. Also, our family services representatives are available to answer your questions 24/7 at 800-417-3747.

Whole body donation myths vs. facts

Myth: You can only donate if you have a young, healthy body.

Fact: Acceptance of donation is dependent on the research need at time of passing, but most people are eligible including people with cancer. There is no age limit and there are very few restrictions on who can donate. Because tissue must be useable for research and training, there is a maximum weight limit, and those who have severe tissue damage may not be eligible. Additionally, there are eligibility restrictions on those who suffer from highly infectious diseases.

Myth: You get to choose what kind of research your body will be used for

Fact: You may indicate your preference for use and Science Care will attempt to honor preferred placement. However, the research need at time of passing ultimately determines the actual use for research and/or medical training.

Myth: Whole body donation is a way for others to sell your body after you die.

Fact: Whole body donation is a gift. There is no monetary compensation for whole body donation through Science Care. Whole body donation is a personal choice. Science Care's comprehensive screening ensures that the wishes of those who have expressly refused organ or body donation will be respected.

Myth: It is against most religions to donate your body to science.

Fact: Most religions support whole body donation.

Myth: You have to pay to have your body used for medical research.

Fact: Whole body donation is FREE. Science Care will cover the cost transport and file the death certificate. Additionally Science Care will provide FREE cremation and FREE return of cremated remains.

Myth: If I register, my family has to abide by my wishes.

Fact: Registration indicates your desire to donate your body, but your family determines what actually happens after you pass. Talk to your family about your wishes, and make sure that they understand what you want and why.

Did you know?

Science Care initiated the call for accreditation of whole body donation through the American Association of Tissue Banks. As the first accredited whole body donation company, Science care is well known for its high ethical and professional standards.

"It's great to work with you and your team. We are extremely happy with your service. You guys are delivering a world class service!"

Science Care is dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of individuals to donate their bodies to science, and to easing the burden of donor families at the time of passing.

"It was my mother's wish to improve medicine. The 'no cost' put her at ease to not leave a financial burden on her family. LOVED the fact a tree is planted in her honor. She absolutely loved trees!"