Funeral Planning: Can You and Should You Donate Your Body to Science?

It might sound morbid, or old fashioned, but you really can donate your body to science after death. You can bequeath your body to anatomical institutes across the UK, where it will be used for medical or scientific research purposes. The thought of an anthropologist taking apart your body after you die might not be what you have in mind when it comes to funeral planning, but more and more people are choosing to go down this route. It can be a selfless gesture and is gaining a reputation as a cheap alternative to a burial or cremation.

However, anatomical professors have warned people about the risks and uncertainties of bequeathing your remains to science. The question therefore is more complicated than simply; can you donate your body to science?

Should You Donate Your Body to Science?

Many people quip that they’re planning on leaving their bodies to science after they die, but very few people have actually identified an institution with the facilities to accept a corpse. There are numerous facilities across the country that use bodies for healthcare training and research. If you’re seriously considering this route, it’s worth doing plenty of research to find a suitable institution that will use your body how you want. It’s less work than you’d traditionally do during conventional funeral planning, but still requires a lot of input. Do you want your body to be used for healthcare training or for research?

body to science

The primary reason for donating your body to science is if you feel strongly connected to a particular cause or facility. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t a reliable nor cost-effective alternative to funeral planning.

In an interview with the Telegraph in 2016, Professor Sue Black of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification warned people that there is never a guarantee when it comes to bequeathing your remains to science:

It is important people don’t see bequeathal as a means to address funeral poverty because we cannot guarantee that we would accept a body.

The issue of funeral poverty has grown exponentially in the years since Professor Black extolled the dangers of using scientific donations as a pretext for avoiding the costs of modern funeral planning. We’ve witnessed the cost of funerals grow at many times the annual rate of inflation in the UK, soaring by over 100% in ten short years. This has led to a rise in what are sadly termed pauper burials, which is a public health funeral funded by the council or the NHS.

Many individuals aren’t entitled to funeral payments from the Government and are instead turning to scientific donations as a way to avoid the cost of funeral planning and ensure that their families aren’t lumbered with the costs associated with their death.

Yet there are many instances of cadavers being turned down by medical institutes for various reasons. Certain medical conditions can disqualify you, and if an autopsy is required to determine the cause of death then it’s unlikely that the institute will be able to accept the body. Even the Human Tissue Authority recommends having alternative funeral planning arrangements in place in case your body is rejected for any number of reasons. Without an established funeral plan, your loved ones will be forced to cover mandatory costs of up to several thousand pounds.

Funeral Planning with Capital Life Funeral Plans

Capital Life Funeral Plans is one of the UK’s leading funeral planning services. We offer a range of established plans suitable for cheap and top-end budgets alike. It isn’t easy planning for your own funeral, but it’s always recommended. Taking out a dedicated funeral plan is the only way to guarantee that your family have the funds necessary to cover the funeral that you want.

If you need any more information, including assistance with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate, and LPAs, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 411 8683. Or, contact us by filling in a short form and one of our team members will get back to you as soon as possible.

[Source: The Telegraph]