As we provide in-depth counseling to individuals and families, Geyer & Associates fields many questions about the most personal type of bequest any person can make to another – an anatomical gift.
The authors of the Indiana Laws of Aging Handbook discuss the medical need for anatomical gifts. There is a need for not only organ transplants such as heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines, but also a need for tissues such as cornea, skin, bone marrow, heart valves and connective tissue to treat otherwise catastrophic illnesses. “Donation of one’s (entire) body can, if appropriately planned, reduce or eliminate funeral and interment costs,” they add.
Who can make an anatomical gift in Indiana for a transplant or for use in medical education or science?
- Any individual of sound mind who is at least 18 years of age
- Persons under 18 who have the consent of a parent or guardian
- A family member or guardian after your death
There are several ways in which you can direct that an anatomical gift be made:
- In your will
- By completing a donor card
- By indicating your wish on your driver’s license
- In a document signed by you and by two witnesses
(Remember, you can change or revoke a gift at any time.)
Regardless of how you indicate the gift, the Handbook authors advise you should discuss your wishes with your family, with caregivers, and with one of the following organizations:
- Indiana Organ Procurement Organization www.iopo.org
- Indiana Lions Eye & Tissue Transplant Bank www.tbionline.org
- I.U. School of Medicine Anatomical Education Program www.anatomy.irpui.edu/anatomical
- General Organ Donation Information (national) www.organdonor.gov
One of the most frequently asked questions of I.U Anatomical Education Program’s staff is “Do whole-body anatomical gift donors typically have a funeral?“ The answer: “Some people have a funeral service after which the body is brought to the Anatomical Education Program; others have the body brought to the Medical Center, with a memorial service at a church or funeral home at a later time.”
At Geyer & Associates, we can discuss your organ donation options with you and ensure that your wishes are carried out at your death.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team