Can I donate my body to science?

You ran a helpful article on burial and cremation recently  – is there an option of donating one’s body to medical institutions and universities for student training and research?  D.K.

If you want to do this, you have to choose an institution by writing your wishes and signing and dating the paper and sending it to them. The usual option would be a CHU (university teaching hospital). It would be best to check with them first to see if they can accept (‘acceptez-vous le don du corps à la science?’). You can find contact information for teaching hospitals here: reseau-chu.org/32-chru/

Having received your declaration, the institution will send you a form to complete, which you have to send back with a photocopy of your passport or identity card and a stamped, addressed envelope.

They will send you a donor’s card, which you should keep with you. If you die, then your body may only be transferred to the institution on presentation of the card.

You should note that there may be certain circumstances where your body cannot be accepted, for example it must be able to be transported to the hospital in 48 hours. They may include death abroad, of certain contagious diseases, or from a road accident or other situation where an autopsy may be required.

In the case of a person’s body being donated to science the hospital will cover eventual cremation or burial costs. Some institutions are able to return the ashes to relatives if you wish, however it may be weeks, months or years before it is possible.

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