Can I donate my living body to research?

22 April 2014




Can I donate my living body to research?


Hannah - So, we know that once dead, you can donate your brain and body to science, but what about getting involved in research whilst your still alive? For the answer, we turn to Kate McAllister, a doctoral researcher at Cambridge University...

Kate - So, there are loads of ways in which you can donate your living body to science.

In the most, kind of, straightforward way, you can donate your time to take part in research studies. So, that can be as simple as filling out a questionnaire, helping take part in psychological studies. People are always looking for help with that. The easiest way to go about that is to contact your local university psychology department, and the good thing about that is that most volunteers are also paid for their time for that.

If you wanted to be more literal and, "Can I donate my body to science?" you can definitely donate tissue to some research studies. So, part of the project that I'm doing just now, I'm interested in cellular energy - how our bodies make energy - and how that can later link to dementia, the onset of dementia. So, the best way to look at cell energy is to look at tissue that really is highly dependent on energy. So, what we look at is muscle. So basically, we set this up with the ethics committee and we make sure we go through all the right procedures and then we get people to come up to the hospital and to donate a tiny, tiny bit of their muscle in a sort of outpatient procedure that takes half an hour. 

Another way that you may be able to donate your tissue to research is if you're for example in hospital having a diagnostic procedure done, the surgeon may ask beforehand if you wanted to consent to, whilst they're in there, grabbing another little bit of tissue and then that can be sent to a tissue bank and later used for research. So, for example, if you were to have surgery for cancer on a tumour, the surgeon may ask to take an extra piece, or to use a piece of that, in research and that would all be anonymised.

Hannah - Thanks, Kate. So yes, you can donate your living body to research by participating in a study, getting your brain scanned whilst solving a puzzle for example or simply sitting next to a computer and taking part in a survey. Quite often, you'll be paid for your time and you can walk home with a momento, so a snapshot of your brain perhaps.

You can even volunteer to take part in a clinical trial, acting as a guinea pig to help test out new pharmacological drugs. Again, you'll be paid for this or you can donate tissue as part of an existing surgical procedure that you're already having or as a special one-off. You can find out more about donating both your living and dead bodies to research by looking at your local university's science and psychology websites for details or by visiting the website


I don't need to exist. I'd give my life for science, or to save someone else. I can't live like this.

this nothing new to me ive wanted to die since i was a little girl im 59 now n still suffering i have no obligations to anyone n have been isolated ive reached for help in different ways n nobody help me,im chronic pain disabled female n nobody could ever flatter me,im not a people person i enjoy my alone time.i live in small town and my dr passed away n i miss very much the care who actually new patiants n charts.i love myself n glad im not the norm as i find norm evil.n they seem to always want recognition for shit.n take no responsibility.a dr should have good bedside manner n not be judged, everyone in there own greedy world.managers for aprts. not educated either, i was actually paying part of there water bill hooked up to mine.n nobody gives a shit in justice.i dont drink or do drugs.i have infection that never goes away.everything daily is difficult.billions of dollars wasted on health care for people not needing ive seen it first hand at sr aprt. one gal got a elec wheelchair n sold it,majority healthcarenot needed n senior citizen no help either they choose who they want to give meals n rides to n said if have a vehicle not qualify but yet at senior aprt,they had vehicle n qualified wth n then peopl ask dumb questions y something like a bombing or shooting accur Really.n ive stumped every religious person even preachers ive have found most have no education dont care to research history etc. n think there way is right way,i call people like that which is many stupid n evil.i dont expect everyone to be like me but people do need do there job n not ever make it personal im glad the end is nearing cant come fast enough for me.seems nowhere is safe.

Is it painless to donate one self to scuence knowing that there is no return

ive lived full life and it doesn't seem right this suffering so plz help me,i need sleep and never wake I don't think that's to much to ask

ikr its not to much to ask ive been saying that for yrs, id like an option n id choose death

I want donet may body after death

Can I donate?

You're not saying no, and you're not saying yes.
I want to be on someone's table for science!

I'm 56 years old I have a peacemaker/defibrillator, serious crone's disease, heart muscle at 10 percent, I still work. All the kids are taken care of. Instead of letting my vital organs get worse this old man would rather save 5 life's and put 1 on the observation VB table. That's science Right!

I want to donate my body for bionic research, like bio human stuff. Im willing to lose limbs for bionoc inplants in there place. How would i go about that.

i want donate my all alive body to research

Same, I wouldn't mind

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