March 11, 2013 21 Comments
This post provides basic information on organ/ body/ brain/ eye donation using an FAQ format, and includes links to sites with more information. It contains general information for the convenience of readers, and is NOT provided as expert/ authoritative advice, so please consult appropriate authorities as required. Decisions regarding donations are deeply personal, and this post does not attempt to advocate donations or enroll potential donors. I have no intention to persuade you about the merits or demerits of donation. Also, this post is written for the Indian context.
Why this page: After my mother died and I donated her brain, eyes and body, many folks contacted me with queries that indicated conceptual confusions about types of donations and about the practical aspects of donating. I looked around for several months for a website I could refer them to, but most sites focused only on some types of donations or were geared towards enrollments, and did not discuss practical issues/ procedures applicable in India. So I decided to create this post.
I try to keep this post updated (last update date: 14 August 2016) but some highlights of common queries/ problems I encounter are also discussed in Voluntary body donation: some thoughts in response to queries I get.
- What is body donation?
- What is organ donation (and/ or organ transplantation)?
- What is tissue donation (including eye donation)?
- What is brain donation?
- Some people say organ donation can be done after death, some people say it is after brain death. Is brain death the same as death?
- I’ve heard the term “cadaver” in some articles on donation. How does that fit in with all this?
- How can I donate my organs for transplantation?
- I’ve heard we can enrol for donation. I want to enroll so that I can be sure that my body is donated.
- Well, once I die, I obviously cannot donate my own body. What is the procedure others have to follow after my death to donate my body?
- What’s this talk of natural and unnatural death? How does it affect body donation?
- Frankly, I am very confused about death certificates and the procedures around them. Some people talk of the doctor issuing a death certificate, but doesn’t the municipality issue it?
- So both certificates are needed–the one from the doctor showing the cause of death, and the one from the municipal authorities showing the registration of death. What is the registration/ death certificate issue procedure that the municipal authorities use?
- You seem to pay a lot of attention to this doctor’s certificate part. Can’t we just get it from the hospital where the person was registered as a body donor?
- We have a family doctor. Will he be able to help with the body donation process?
- If the death takes place in a hospital, they’ll handle all this donation business if we ask them, right?
- So if I want everything donated, in what order do I go about it?
- You mentioned that enrolment is not necessary for donation. Then what are the advantages of enrolling in donor programs?
- How do I enrol for donation/ get a donor card?
- I sometimes meet people who say they are donors. What does that mean?
- What sort of situations could lead to a donation not happening though a person had enrolled?
- Within how much time after death must the donation be done?
- All this sounds very intimidating. Does anyone ever manage to donate?
- I am keen to donate my body/ brain/ tissue/ organ but my family is not willing
- One objection some family members have related to religion. They say our religion does not allow such donation.
- Your page only discusses eye, brain, body and organ donations. What about things like bone donation, etc.?
- I want to know more about various types of body/ tissue/ organ donations. I want to read/ hear about persons who have actually made such donations
Body donation is the donation of the whole body after death, for medical research and education. (See wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_donation)
Usually, this is done at a medical college (teaching hospital) and the body is used by medical students to study anatomy. It is also possible to donate a body/ some specific organs to specialized research institutes that may want to study a specific medical condition.
Body donation is different from organ donation.