Would you donate your body for use after death?

Starting this weekend, paying customers will once again be looking at preserved, posed corpses in a Twin Cities exhibit. Meanwhile, an Illinois woman has received the heart of a Minnesota soldier who died from wounds suffered in battle in Afghanistan. Whether for science, commercial use or to save the life of another person, agreeing to give up your earthly remains is likely to involve some soul-searching. Would you donate your body for use after death?

I don’t think i would let my body be donated. I wouldn’t really care what happens to my body, let my family decide. -Nathan, IN

Of course i would donate my body. It would be selfish and inhumane not to. -Alix Sophia, Minneapolis, MN

I’ve already arranged to have myself sent to the body farm in TN when my time comes. -Cat, Minneapolis, MN

Yes – I am pro-recycling so yes. -Casey Nordendale, St. Paul, MN

  • Steve Hack

    Yes very much so. Having a friend die years ago for lack of organ donations, I am an organ donor, and feel it imperative anything left over get used to further medical science; after that it’ll be nice to be fertilizer for the daises. What else will I do with it?

  • Sean

    Yes. I’ve actually completed paperwork to donate my body to the U of M to hopefully help train the next generation of physicians. The cost associated with funerals and embalming is an unfortunate hardship on greiving families that is often hardsold when they are at their weakest.

  • Amanda Jacobson

    I would definitely donate my body to science after I die. I’m an organ donor on my driver’s license. It makes me feel good to know now that after I die I can still be useful.

  • Dan K.

    I want to be cremated after I die, so of course I would donate my organs for use after my death. If it helps just one person live a fuller life, I am all for it!

  • Mike

    I am an organ donor, and beyond that, I hope my body is used for science after death. My only concern is body parts being used for proprietary research. Use by a university or other public institution for the public good is ok.

  • Brent

    Yes – if it can help others to live a more full life, I would want to do that. I am an organ donor on my DL, and have put those wishes in a living will as well.

  • Nathan

    The instant I’m gone, my body is of no use to me, and hopefully not much use to anyone else outside of science.

    As longs as I don’t end up becoming a terminator years later? I’m game.

  • Alison

    Yes, as an organ donor. But as a money making circus side-show at the Mall of America or even the Science Museum, definitely not!

  • Young

    As a Muslim, I do not want my body defiled after I die, so I would not donate by body to science. I want my body intact into the next life.

  • Leslie Hittner


  • Jim!!!
  • Linnea

    Yes, though I think it’s important to remember how important it is for family and friends to see a body at a reviewal. My father died when I was 11. His body had to be cremated, but not seeing it really caused some difficulties in the grief process for me. There’s something very final about seeing a body where a soul no longer exists. It closes the chapter and doesn’t leave any room for denial.

  • Wendy H

    I’m hoping the doctors can part out my carcass to help as many other people as possible. That includes any bits for research. However, I know med students, and I don’t like the thought of a bunch of them making pithy comments about my health and lifestyle after I’m gone. That goes double for any for-profit sideshow, no matter how educational it’s supposed to be.

  • Carol Johansen

    My spouse and I have already arranged to do this, as did my parents. What better thing to do when a person dies?

  • Gayle Herwig

    Yes. My daughter needed a cadaver in becoming a doctor. I would like to furnish a replacement. I am torn because i would like to be an organ donor and I don’t know which would be the best benifet to society. My body has served me well, I it can benefit others after my death, what a bonus!

  • Yes, I would donate whatever would yeild the best educational outcome; whether it be parallel to BodyWorlds, NASA, Criminal Investigations, organ donation, etc. My body is of no use to me under this Earth. Thank you,

  • Adam

    I won’t be needing it!

  • Trevor R

    Of course! It wouldn’t make sense for me to let my body to rot in the ground when the organs could be used to help save lives to my donating them to someone else or to allow science a better understanding by dissecting or allowing future doctors to practice operating procedures.

  • Michael

    My mom passed away recently, and she was quite insistent in the months prior to passing that it was her wish for her body to go to the local medical school for its whole-body research programs. We complied. The school’s program was extremely good to us (and sets up a memorial / thank you service once a year for the families of the departed as well, which I thought was a very nice touch).

    Can’t speak for other programs obviously, but this was definitely a good thing, and I’m inclined to follow my mother’s lead when my day comes.

    I do distinguish organ donation from whole-body donation. Remember that with a few exceptions (corneas I believe being one of them), most of us are pretty well worn-out upon our death, and the organ donation possibilities are fairly limited. Which isn’t to discourage any of us from offering to do that, but an older person’s body is very useful for med school purposes while it’s often of fairly limited value for organ donation. Just a consideration for those of us getting on in years…

    As for the for-pay operations — No way.

    And, for those who do not want to do any of this for religious or other personal reasons — More power to you. Nobody should suggest you should go against your own principles.

  • Patrick


    ‘The human face is an empty power, a field of death …

    after countless thousands of years that the human face

    has spoken and breathed, one still has the impression

    that it hasn’t even begun to say what it is

    and what it knows.’

    — Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), artist, from a text to introduce an

    exhibition of his portraits & drawings, Galerie Pierre, July 1947.

    Cadaver is a strange noun. The word does not convey the reality of a lifeless human body. It gentrifies the leathery, formaldehyde-soaked corpse succumbing to our intimate dissection.

    The Gross Human Anatomy course offers a comprehensive understanding of all physical aspects of the human body with a combination of classroom didactics and laboratory dissections. An entire year is devoted, with memorization of all the body pieces and parts.

    I approached the class and cadavers with curiosity and trepidation. My own human form made it more relevant than most of my dental courses. But I had some anxiety about my ability to cut up a body and how the act might affect me.

    Our first lecture began with a lesson on respect for the dead. Some altruistic person had donated the use of their body to help others gain valuable knowledge. Respect for these human remains must never be violated, with reverence for the solemn result we all reach.

    Our cadavers were wrapped in green cloths to retain the moisture with formaldehyde, and the smell was more revolting than the sight. The first exposure we saw several bare backs and some de-skinned musculature. But the view was not distressing, and we were relieved that none of us threw up or passed out.

    With the exception of the head and neck, we were gradually introduced to all body parts. Soon we became desensitized to the odor, spending hours manipulating and dissecting the dead. Even as our classmates were humped over a smelly, exposed cadaver it was not uncommon to snack. No body parts were allowed outside the lab, and if tempted, a student would be expelled.

    I loved learning about my body through the looking glass the cadavers offered. The black lungs of a smoker and the ravages of cancer were opened and on display for all of us to experience. Here was physical evidence that we may have to live with what we do in life and what we eat.

    It reminded me of what the Catholic nuns used to drum into our heads — our bodies are God’s temples and we need to treat them as such.

    However, disease is not a judgment, and the anatomical and genetic variations are totally out of our own control. Death was addressed only briefly as a rare outcome of poor judgment or a failure to activate emergency services during a heart attack. This was my introduction to clinical death and daily living with the eventual human mortality.

    The heads of our cadavers were unveiled during the second half of the year. Each face was a unique structure with its own distinctive shape, a summation of individual features, nose size, projection, lip fullness, width, eye shapes, hair color, length, hairline, forehead, cheekbones, chins short and long, all singularly spaced to create the silhouette of their humanity. Curiously, the teeth did not seem to matter anymore.

    Most troubling to me was that suddenly each individual’s face took on the reality of a human life. For months these cadavers had given us hands-on experience with the working organs of what we knew were dead people; but the face revealed a personality and an identity that I was no longer able to deny. The lady with multiple surgeries altering her organ anatomy looked like my seventh-grade teacher. The body known for his well-defined muscle structure was revealed to be an innocent-faced young man

    For weeks I was preoccupied about why these people had shared their deceased bodies with science. Should I share my organs, eyes, body parts and pieces that might further the quality of life for someone? Our bodies only decay after our death, so why not help mankind with knowledge that may positively affect the future?

    I finally came to grips with the great gift these people were sharing with our class. In their death, they gave the gift of knowledge that allows us to give better treatment for hundreds of our patients now and in the future.

    The temples of these anonymous lives were our teachers, and their souls are left in God’s good hands.

    — Patrick J. Foy, DDS

  • Wayne

    Organs, yes. Body, no. I hope they take what is needed and then put the remains into a respectful grave.

  • Nancy B.

    I would consider donating but I work in an office at an institution that uses cadavers and have heard firsthand reports about the students using them inappropriately. Also, there is a risk of harvesting organs before the body is even cold (or truly dead) for organ donation. There must be some guarantee of respectful use.

  • joann

    DEFINITELY. It’s the ultimate recycling. Think of all the good one body can do. I arranged to donate my body to the UofM 15 years ago.

  • joann

    DEFINITELY. It’s the ultimate recycling. Think of all the good one body can do. I arranged to donate my body to the UofM 15 years ago.

  • Anna

    I have a donor designation on my driver’s license and plan on doing the paperwork for my body to be used by the local medical school after I’m done using it (both of my grandparents did this – seemed especially fitting as they had both been teachers in life).

    I would not, however, want my body used for commercial purposes. Use it to teach, use it to help others, but don’t use it to make a buck.

  • Robyn

    I donated 60% of my liver to a woman in our community that needed it – what a good feeling to know I have saved a life. When I die they can take every part and do whatever they want with it, that is a better legacy than a gravestone!

  • Bapi

    My most favorite subject is biology.Seeing my interest in anatomy my mom told that if i get chance in medical college then she will donate her body for my study.I want her long life though getting a chance to dissect her made my lifelong dream come true.I am really proud of her.like her I will also donate body.

  • Kimi

    I want to donate my organs and stuff, but i DO NOT want to donate my eyes, no body has the same eyes, and mine are mine, i know it seems selfish, but my eyes have always been an expression of who i am, and i just dont think i could donate my favorite organs. they have stared into the eyes of ones i love, taking those from me would be like taking evverything.

  • swetha

    how to donate body parts after i die?

  • linu

    yes i would like to donate my body after death

    its useful to humanbeings and every humanbeing

    should our body

  • linu

    how could donate my body after death

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  • Dr. R. P.Yadav

    I and my wife have decided to donate our body for research in a medical college Or organs for any needy. But I do not know the procedure Or address for the same .