Is it legal to donate human organs and samples to science?

Organ donation | Tebu Bio

Over the years, people have started to understand the need for science to get materials to learn and progress. Materials include not only medical tools, but also biological ones.

Many people still ignore that they can donate their organs and body to science. In today’s society, it is crucial to be aware that you have a choice. Your donation can contribute to medical discoveries, science education, and to saving lives. Here are some elements regarding the way human organs and body are used, and the way you can express your choice.

Saving lives and taking part in Scientific and Medical Advances

Over the past decades, laws have been set up to regulate donation possibilities and procedures. Donating organs and tissues is a decision you make on your own.

Donating one organ could save many lives. Indeed, quite a large number of people is currently waiting for lifesaving transplants. Upon someone’s passing, his or her organs and tissues could be useful to somebody who needs the transplant of vital organs.

Even cancer patients can be organ donors. Some conditions are required but in some cases, depending on the type of cancer the patient had and if the cancer had metastasized, the qualified medical professionals can analyze the organs, tissues and bones in order to determine the viable parts to donate.

Regardless of age or whether you had a disease or not, most people are good candidates to donate human organ and tissue.

Generosity gesture

Organ donation is even possible when you are alive. Some people choose to donate an organ, [CE2] to other people who wait for transplants.

They are usually close relatives to the ill patient, like a family member or a close friend, but it can also be a generosity gesture.

Living organ donations include a single kidney, a single lobe of lung or a portion of liver. Applicants to a living organ donation are submitted to tests and requirements regarding their medical conditions in order to donate their organs.

Understanding the human body

To keep the population healthy, researchers need to fully understand the human body and how it works. Body, organ and tissue donation are crucial for them as they can explore medical conditions and diseases; they improve their knowledge on the way diseases spread, so that they can prevent the illness and work on developing new treatments.

Major medical breakthroughs (for example in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease or Parkinson’s disease) were made possible because someone decided to donate his or her body to science.

As a matter of fact, body and organ donations are essential for medical schools. They use these donations to help medical students learn more about anatomy and disease, and to practice medical procedures, including how to make stitches, how to treat a patient and what are the effects of the treatment, or how to transplant organs.

Very few people know that donating your body to science and being an organ donor are two separated things. Meaning that you have to get through different processes, whether you just want to be an organ donor or to donate your  whole body.

The donation process

To donate to science, whether for your organs and/or your whole body, there are some procedures to comply with. Generally, any medical staff member will be more than glad to help with the process that you will need to go through to be an organ donor or to donate your whole body.

Funeral homes will also be able to advise  you and to support you with it. Some organizations are specialized in this type of concern. They can help you out as well.

For living organ donations, you should register with an organ donation program, and fulfil all the requirements needed (no smoking or no drinking alcohol for a certain time for example). You will also have to go through some tests before your application is accepted. Many organizations will be able to help you with the whole process.

Difference between organ and body donation

Organs and body donations are two different things. If you choose to donate your organs for transplant, you must register to the organ donation program of your choice. Your family and close relatives must also know about this.

So if you decide to be an organ donor, indicate it to your family, because in case you have a lethal accident and you didn’t have time to register to a program, they will probably be the ones transmitting your will to the medical staff.

Registering for a whole-body donation is a bit different. It has to be done through organizations such as Human Gift Registry or Science Care, which propose body donation programs. You can also deal directly with staff from the anatomy department of medical institutions located in your area.

During the donation process, you will be able to indicate if you are willing to donate your organs as well. If that is the case, your organs will be extracted after your passing and used for transplants, before your body can be used by medical students or by scientists.

After your body has been donated, all of the unused tissues and remains will be cremated and returned to your family. Also, your loved ones can receive a note with detailed information about how your body was used.

Donating your body is truly part of a wonderful virtuous cycle. For instance, the medical students who used your body to learn how to transplant organs, will probably be the ones in the future to make lifesaving transplants.

Apart from representing an opportunity to learn, body donation is also considered, by many, as a gift people make for Humanity.

As you might have understood, donating human organs and samples is very well regulated by the authorities. Indeed, many initiatives have been created to help citizens make a choice and register for this type of donation. It is not only legal, but also very encouraged by researchers and medical students, to help them learn and do their research.


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