In January of this year, my husband and I were doing some estate planning, rewrote our wills, consolidated deeds, etc. I also contacted various organ donation organizations who manage the collection and delivery of said organs. I too feel strongly about several topics and one of them is brain disorder/disease research. For every question we answer, we discover that there are more unanswered dilemmas for us to find solutions or research. My own brain is valuable to me while I am using it, but after I die, I'd like it to continue being useful and I will no longer need it. So I've made arrangements for the it to go to Harvard. Some part of me should go there and I doubt very much I'll make attending Harvard a priority whilst alive!
So my brain goes to Harvard, leaving the rest of my body behind. Many schools prefer whole body donation for anatomy classes and teaching tools. However not all of them require this, since there are still valuable lessons to be learned and taught, using a brainless body. So I've made arrangements for my body to go to the University of Mississippi's Medical Center located in Jackson, it's a large research/teaching facility that addresses many conditions.
My body gets to be useful after I'm gone, instead of moldering in a locked vault, taking up space. Each facility disposes of the remains in the way you wish upon completion of their use. I choose cremation, and I will finally be less than a weighty entity!
I do understand why many cannot contemplate these issues, but I think we most fear those things that we don't examine...and we've not been taught ways to do so that are not repulsive and that focus on the benefits rather than the macabre. (spell check just suggested "macrame"). Also many cite religions reasons, feeling that their bodies would be desecrated and they would not be honorable. I feel like if folks truly felt their bodies are temples, then the time to be treating them as such should have been when they were alive and able to do so; instead of treating themselves in unhealthy manners.
As far as organ donation goes, if others can use my organs, great! However, due to medication issues, most of my tissues are not going to be in remarkably good condition to be used as a replacement or improvement over the organs needing to be replaced. So I think my body can best be used to further our knowledge in research, medical or scientific.
That's my opinion regarding myself.
Now, it's a good idea to research this area before making a decision and knowing the steps that need to be taken in what sort of time frame. For instance, here in Mississippi, regardless of my wishes and my signed consent, and my arrangements made prior to my death....upon death, my body becomes the property of my next of kin. In my case, it would be my husband's if he is still alive. Should he proceed me, then my body becomes my son/daughter~in~law's property.
I've spoken with them all at length and have instructed them to the best of my ability. I've given them information such as who to contact when. Speed is vital when dealing with donation of organs, whole body, brain, etc. So please research this area beforehand. You cannot wait til the will is probated or even read, this is a decision that is made within hours if not minutes of death. That is not the time to be trying to figure out who to call and all that.
It is written in my will and I've also spoken with all parties concerned, gotten written materials, etc. specifically saying that donation is my desire so long as this occurs without expense to my estate. This is an important question that you should be asking, if you decide to go this route. Who pays for transport and use?
Please do understand that these are the options and opinions I've chosen for myself and they are not feasible for everyone. You need to do what is right FOR YOU.
By making prearrangements, I've hopefully made things easier for my loved ones to deal with my death and the immediate consequences thereof. It's not for every one, but it might be more of an option for many than what might be apparent at first blush.
thanks for reading, I hope I've given you something to think about. debra
Yesterday the guest speaker at the womens group I ... (