10 uses for your body after you die

10 uses for your body after you die

(CNN) -- Like many people, you probably think you're very charitable. Perhaps you donate money to the needy or sick, give away your old clothes, or do volunteer work.

But maybe you're missing something. Just as you are charitable in your life, you could also be charitable in your death. This Day of the Dead season you might start thinking about a more macabre gift: your corpse.

J. Nathan Bazzel already made plans. In 2001, he signed all the necessary paperwork to donate his body parts to the Mütter Museum, part of the Philadelphia Medical College where a friend of his works, and knew that researchers from around the world would be visiting the massive collection of body parts.

Bazzel, 38, is HIV-positive and wants scientists to learn from his remains, saying, “If a person can see my kidneys and skull, which have been affected by HIV, and by the treatments to combat it, and they were able to learn something from them, it would be a magnificent gift”.

He was so passionate about that hope that the same year he signed the papers for his postmortem donation: he donated his right hip, which had to be replaced due to damage caused by HIV treatment, and three years later, he donated his left hip.

Bazzel, who became the university's communications director two years ago, has already seen the benefits of having human body parts on display: When high school students come to see his hip deformities, his speech about the importance of safe sex takes on new meaning.

Of course, being on display in a museum isn't everyone's cup of tea, so in the holiday spirit, here are 10 ways to put your body to good use after you're dead. In some cases, you may apply more than one alternative.

1. donate your organs

On average, 19 people die a day waiting for organs such as kidneys, heart, lungs, liver or pancreas. Find out about organ donation, inform your family about your interest, and don't get carried away by myths about this practice. If you want, you can donate some organs and keep others.

2. Donate your tissues

10 uses for your body after you die

Your bones, ligaments, heart valves, and corneas won't do you much good in eternity, but they can help someone else. Find out about tissue donation, get your credential, and inform your relatives of your decision so that they are not surprised when they have to do it. As with organs, you can specify the type of tissue you would like to donate.

Stem cells contained in the umbilical cord can save lives and rehabilitate many diseases. To donate your children's umbilical cord, you can go to the National Center for Blood Transfusion, where they have a laboratory where they can store and use the cells contained in the cord.

3. Donate your body to a university

Help a future doctor learn about the human body by becoming the first corpse dissected by first-year medical students. Be sure to ask what exactly will happen to your body. Although it could be used for dissection, it could be used for other purposes within the school without your control.

4. Help doctors practice their skills

If you prefer to submit to the work of more experienced people, that is, current doctors and not future ones, they can also learn from your body.

Doctors can practice and make mistakes on dead bodies, not live ones.

5. Leave your body to a corpse farm

Have you ever wondered how TV detectives know the time of death when they see the body?

Police can thank the University of Tennessee Center for Forensic Anthropology for helping them. “The Body Farm” as it is known, has 650 skeletons (and growing) scattered across 2.5 acres in Knoxville.

Researchers and students analyze bodies at various stages of decomposition to help forensic anthropologists and legal authorities answer questions about body identification and time of death analysis.

When you are no longer needed at the body farm, your family does not receive your remains. If this is important to you, this option is not in your favor.

6. Become a crash test corpse

Crash test dummies made of plastic are efficient, but there's nothing like the real human body to simulate what happens in a car accident.

You can donate your body to Wayne State University School of Medicine to become a crash test cadaver by filling out a form. The document confirms your donation to the university, but if a person specifically requests that his body be used for safety testing in the biomechanics lab, his request will be honored, according to Barbara Rosso-Norgan, the school's mortuary supervisor. .

7. Give your body to a runner

We're not talking about a stock broker but a body broker, who will take your parts and pass them on to scientists for research, training, and education.

In the United States there are already several groups in business, including: Science Care, Anatomy Gifts Registry and BioGift Anatomical. They pay to bring your body to the facility, and the parts not used for research are cremated; the ashes can go back to your family and that can save them money.

The downside is that you don't know where your parts will end up, as Kristin Dorn, community relations manager at Science Care, says: "We can't guarantee parts will be used in any specific program, because research is always changing (and ) the intention is to donate to science, not to a specific project.”

Some brokers let you decide what types of projects you don't want to donate to. “If someone is ready to donate their body to science, they need to do research,” Dorn said.

8. send your body on tour

If you've been to the Body Worlds exhibit, you know what plastination is, the process of posing and hardening the body to make it appear alive.

(Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

The process consists of removing fat and water from the body, impregnating the corpse with rubber silicone and placing it in a position, whether sitting, running, riding a horse. Your body is hardened in that position with gas, light, or heat. The whole process takes a year.

There are certain rules for donating. You can be elderly and an organ donor, but if you died violently you will not be able to apply because your body must be intact to do so, and there is no guarantee that your body will be exhibited.

Some plastinated bodies are sent to medical schools, and you generally have no control over the fate of your body. To donate it for these purposes, you can go to the Plastination Laboratory of the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM.

9. become a skeleton

Researchers from around the world visit the extensive collection of skeletons at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

Your family pays to have your body brought to the museum facility in Albuquerque, and your remains, except your bones, are cremated.

The skeletons are not visible to anyone in the museum, that is, they are not exhibited.

10. Appears in a museum exhibit

Like Bazzel, you can donate parts of your body to the Mütter Museum at the Medical University of Philadelphia. If you do, you will be part of a very exclusive group. Anna Dhody, the museum's curator since 2004, has received only three requests to donate bodies, including Bazzel's.

“A woman called me and said she had a 120 degree curvature in her spine, and asked if I was interested, to which I said yes,” Dhody said.

Although the museum is particularly interested in bodies with abnormalities, it will also consider taking remains even if they do not have any pathological problems. Still, your family would have to pay for your transfer to Philadelphia.