It is common knowledge that donating your body can save lives. Many people have a symbol on their driver’s license to indicate their intent to be a donor at the time of their death. What is not commonly known is the option of donating your body to advance medical education and research. This article will briefly explore the differences between donation for TRANSPLANT and MEDICAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH.
What is whole body donation?
It is very similar to transplant donation. Instead of organs and tissue being recovered and transplanted into a person, it would further medical education and research in finding cures for debilitating diseases and conditions affecting people today. Donations are also important in developing new medicines, studying human anatomy and development and practice of new surgical procedures.
Why would I want to donate my body to science when my organs could be used to save a life?
Whole body donation is an excellent option for those who are older, have cancer or another disease process that would prevent their organs and tissues from being a suitable gift to a living person.
The knowledge acquired from studying the body ultimately benefits all of mankind. Everything your doctor knows about your body was impacted by research and education learned by studying those who gifted their body for this purpose. What could your body contribute to the ever expanding knowledge of medicine?
Can I be a transplant donor AND a whole-body donor?
If your organs and tissue are suitable for transplantation this may prevent whole-body donation from occurring as the organs and tissue recovered for transplant may be the same needed for research and study.
It cannot be determined until the time of death whether your donation would is suitable for transplant or medical science. Registering to be a whole-body donor will not interfere with your intent to be a transplant donor and vice-versa. If you and your family consent to both, the highest priority is always given to transplant donation which immediately impacts the lives of living persons.
You are not a donor if you do not tell anybody!
The most important factor is to share your intent to donate with your family! It is not only a personal decision but a family decision as well. If your family is unaware of your desire to donate, your wishes may not be carried out.
The need for anatomical donation is great. Organ and tissue donation, whether for transplant, medical science, or both, is a very important decision for each of us to make – let your family know your wishes today. This will save them the added grief and stress of making this decision if something unexpected happens.
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