Well-known in our culture is the value of organ donation (organ transplant) to save lives. Organizations like Donate Life have helped educate the public about the need and importance of registering to become an organ donor, giving hope to thousands of people with organ failure while providing many with active and renewed lives. Indeed, organ transplantation is one of the greatest achievements in modern medicine.
When a person registers to become an organ donor, he/she receives an organ donation symbol on their driver’s license to indicate their intent to be a donor. This symbol allows a registered donor to donate an organ when he/she is either living or deceased.
Equally as valuable, yet less understood, is whole body donation. As opposed to organs being recovered and transplanted from one person to another (which can be risky), whole body donation connects people who wish to donate their body to science with medical researchers and educators who rely on donors to further their research. By becoming a whole body donor, donors contribute to such advancements as: physician/medical personnel training, surgical technique development, treatment breakthroughs, knowledge of disease progression, and the development of life-changing medical devices.
The registration process for whole body donation is separate from registering to become an organ donor – the driver’s license symbol indicating organ donation registry does not apply to whole body donation. One must apply through a credentialed third-party organization, such as MedCure, to become a whole body donor.
Once registered and accepted at time of death, a whole body donor is matched with a medical research program. A credentialed third-party organization, such as MedCure, will cover all expenses regarding the whole body donation process, including transportation, cremation, return of cremated remains, and presentation of death certificate. An explanation of the medical benefit received from a loved one’s donation may also provided, upon request.
If you are interested in both organ donation and whole body donation, whole body donor registration will not interfere with your intent to be an organ donor. If you and your family consent to both, the highest priority will always given to organ transplant, if transplantation is possible.
Ultimately, making the choice to become either a whole body donor or organ donor is an altruistic, compassionate gift that has the impact to save lives and advance scientific medical research.
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