Planning a Memorial Service

Donating Your Body To Science And Cremation

by Wade Watkins

There are several options available when you consider what will happen to your body after you die. There, of course, are traditional burial and cremation options. However, with these options come two more options. You can also have your organs donated as part of an organ donor program, or you can have your body donated to science. The question many have is if your body will be returned for traditional burial or not. Most science organizations that accept body donation for science offer cremation. Here is how that process works and what you need to know if you are considering this type of option.

Donation of the Body

After you die, your body will be retrieved by the organization you choose for the full body donation. There are specific criteria for body donation based on each organization. If there is a current healthcare crisis, epidemic, or pandemic the service may require that you be free of that issue at the time of your death. They may also have criteria for their different research studies which may include only wanting full bodies for various cancer research or specific illness for further research and study. You will be informed of these criteria prior to agreeing for your body to be donated. If your body meets the criteria, the service will retrieve the body as soon as possible, usually within a few days.

Cremation Fees

The key reason that many people choose to donate to science and opt for the cremation service is that the cremation service is generally offered at no cost. The misconception to this is the belief that the entire cremation service from the local crematories is free. Though the cremation itself is at no cost, urns, burial choices, and memorial services still have a fee that must be paid. The services that carry a fee may vary depending on the different crematories. These fees can be paid through burial insurance, pre-planning burial payments, or paying at the time of service. Your cremains will be returned to the family following the full-body research by the research facility. 

Donor Cards

There is a misconception that each university, organization, or research facility requires a donor card or donor registration. The truth is, this ruling depends on where your body will be donated. For example, many places like Duke University, offer an Anatomical Gifts Program. This can be coordinated through your crematorium director and their crematorium services alongside the research organization.

If you believe that you would like to donate your body to science with a cremation option, contact local crematories. Many do have networking with various science organizations and research services that will gladly work with you and your final wishes. You can also discuss what will be done with your cremains following the cremation with the crematory director.