I want to donate my body to scientific research rather than having a funeral. Am I allowed to do this?
When we die, it can be a concern that what we want to happen to our body may not take place. In this post, we will look at donating your body for scientific research in Alberta, whether this is possible, and what the chances are that your body will be accepted.
Firstly, it is possible to donate your body to scientific research rather than having a funeral. A great option is the University of Alberta Anatomical Gifts Program (AGP), who you can contact and ask if they will consider taking your body. They will ask you lots of questions about your family and medical history and then decide at that time whether they are willing to take your body or not. You will also be required to fill out the Donor Registration Form.
However, our office has come across cases where the hospital has no room for the body and cannot take it at that time. This can be quite devastating for family members who are not able to fulfil your wishes to have your body bequeathed for anatomical studies.
You may need to have a Plan B or backup plan. So, although your intention may be to donate your body to science, if they are not willing to take your body, there is not much you can do. Regardless of whether your family plans a full funeral to celebrate your life, you are going to have to have either be buried or cremated.
It is also important to remember that if you donate your body to science, you can't even be an organ or tissue donor. You may be able to present your eyes for transplant purposes under some programs, but you should check with the University to see if this is an option.
Another thing to consider is that if you donate your body to science, you will get that body back after the institution you granted it to has finished with it. At this point, your options include either to have your body cremated and have the ashes placed at the communal grave (for everyone that has donated their body to science), or those ashes can come back to your family, and your family can deal with them as they see fit!