Do You Need to Arrange a Funeral If You Leave Your Body to Science?


Do you still need to think about funeral arrangements if you wish to leave your body to science? In short, yes. Although your body might end up as part of a scientific study, there are a number of hurdles to overcome for this to happen, and there's also the chance of a last moment change of plans. So, how do you go about planning to leave your body to science, and why should you still have a funeral plan? 

Register Your Interest

There's no single organisation you can register with in order to leave your body to science. If this is an option you wish to pursue, you will need to contact the universities in your city, town or state to record your interest. You will be asked to fill in a form to formally register your intentions. There are certain criteria for acceptance, and some people can be rejected due to the nature of their death (infectious diseases), or their weight (being considerably underweight or overweight). There's no guarantee of acceptance, which is why it's necessary to have a backup plan for cremation or burial. But what happens if you're accepted?

Collecting Your Remains

The university that will accept your remains must be notified (by your family) after you have passed away. Your remains are then transferred to the university's facilities. If the university is not immediately notified, or if there is a legal delay in releasing your remains (such as if the coroner has ordered an autopsy), then the university might not accept your remains. This is why one of your local funeral homes might also be required. If it's not possible for your body to be used for study purposes, cremation or burial will need to be arranged. A memorial service can also be conducted at the funeral home, so your friends and family have an opportunity to say goodbye, even if your remains are not part of the service, and no burial or cremation takes place after the service.

After the Study

Donating your body to science does not exclude you from burial or cremation after the university has concluded their research. Obviously, it will cause some delays. The university should be able to tell you and your family the anticipated length of the study in question, after which point your remains can be released to your family. This could be several weeks, months, or even possibly years after you have passed away. Alternatively, the university will arrange a cremation, and will cover the costs, although this will be a basic procedure, generally with no memorial service. If you wish to have a traditional burial or cremation with a memorial service, your family can arrange this with a funeral home once your remains have been returned, but the university usually will not pay these costs. 

You need to be aware of all the possible outcomes of donating your body to science, and how these outcomes might affect your family and friends. If you want to arrange a funeral, reach out to a local funeral home.


22 September 2020

Tips for Writing and Organising Meaningful Funerals

Welcome to my blog. My name is Molly, and a few years ago, I lost my husband to heart disease. He had only just turned fifty, and it wasn't anything we were expecting. Through my intense grief, I had to host and organise a funeral. I wanted to include religious elements from our pasts, but I also wanted to be true to the non-religious but spiritual beliefs of my husband. I think many people are in the same position, and if you are, I want to help you. This blog focuses on making funerals meaningful. It provides tips, ideas, facts and more. I hope it inspires you.