Recently Iceland passed a law, that goes into effect as of this year, that makes every adult over 18 to become an organ donor by default with ability to opt out. Nevertheless, the Icelanders will still have the final say on what happens to their bodies after death. It is still illegal for the governments to remove organs from the body of a deceased person if "they have expressed their opposition to such or if doing so may be deemed for any other reason to be contrary to their will." The law, first introduced in 2012, allows family members to opt-out on behalf of the deceased.
My grandpa (I never met him) died in the 60's, he wanted his body given to the medical school. My mom is doing the same, has convinced my step dad to and I plan on doing so as well. I don't need a little piece of land that nobody ever gets to use again. And my mom always used to tell me her dad viewed it like this.. "when I'm dead, I won't need my body any more, If some drunk med student breaks into the lab, cuts my arm off and hangs it up in the frat house as a prank, they're still getting more use out of it than I am." Sounds like he was a pragmatist.
I've had two and a half years with my beautiful wife thanks to two lung donors.
When my fiancee passed away suddenly a couple years ago, I found it oddly comforting to know his bone marrow and retinas moved along to someone else.
I am an Egyptian. As long as you replace my organs with my cats and stitch me up and follow appropriate embalming techniques, and paint my sarcophagus the appropriate color -- I have no complaints.
So, I'm a doctor, but went through medical school recently and was quite involved in the anatomy department whilst there.
Each person (cadaver/ donor) was used to teach ~ 30-40 students (i.e. 10 people in first year would study the limbs, 10 people in upper years would study the chest, 10 people would study the abdomen .etc).
The cadavers were treated with a lot of respect, and nothing was thrown away (all bits were saved and kept with the body). At the end of the academic year when we had finished learning from them they were cremated, and some of us went to a memorial service. Some of the donors' families were there, and were offered the urn to keep or scatter, the rest were scattered in the nice woodland cemetary where the service took place.
Both donating organs or donating body to science are wonderful things to do as even after you have died you're still helping people (and hopefully by proxy the doctors that you help train will go on to help even more people). It's the gift that keeps on giving.
The only thing that would make me hesitate is that from death to cremation could be ~ 1 year, which might not be cool with your family if they have strong feelings about these things.
My sister did not have a will when she died suddenly in her 30s. Our entire family was able to confidently say "Yes, she wanted her organs donated." We found out later her liver saved one man who wrote my family a letter a year after the transplant. We then asked and were told her skin, corneas, other organs, were used to help more than 2 dozen people total. It was actually comforting to know a piece of her was still out there and helping others.
Good, but why is it only for people over the age of 18? We're talking dead organ donation, presumably, they're not live-harvesting livers or whatnot. So, there is no reason to exclude anyone. If a legal guardian wants to opt a kid out, they could. Children generally need organ donations from other children, because of the size of the organs. Not including kids means more dead kids. I'm not personally a fan of dead kids.
My biggest regret in life (well, death) will be that I can't be around to see med students poking around my body and brain to see why I am so f**ked up, lol. I'm a very curious person.
I'm from Austria and it's been like this over here for as long as I can remember. Honestly, there is no issue. Very few people actively don't want to be donors. They care enough to just opt out. Most people don't care whether or not their organs are donated/don't think about it and would be too lazy to opt in if it weren't automatic. I literally see no reason against it and anyone I've ever talked to about our system has expressed the same opinion. It's beyond me why it's not a thing in more countries.
Edit: TIL it's more widespread than I thought. I hope it's going to become even more common!
I've always said that this should be the way.
I got an extra 13 years with my dad thanks to someone else's heart.
When asked if he would mind if his body was thrown over the city walls to be devoured by wild animals, he said “Not at all, as long as you provide me with a stick to chase the creatures away!” When it was asked of him when he could do with a stick if he lacked awareness, he said “If I lack awareness, then why should I care what happens to me when I’m dead?”
Diogenes the Cynic - 404 BC
I have a lot of friends in medical school (I was supposed to go too when they did but took time off instead and have kept up with them) and they’ve said that a lot of people cry before, during, and after the dissection and feel a lot of respect and gratitude for the person who donated their body. They usually have a hard time cutting into someone they know had a life and is being grieved by people somewhere so they treat the cadavers with a lot of respect through the whole process and afterwards.
This is fantastic. This was someone's personal vehicle, their own quiet place they took everywhere with them. The medium with how they experience everything in this world. Now they are done with it they want it to continue to do good for others. My grandmother did this. I miss her but it does make me proud to be her grandchild and I will definitely be doing the same when I've had my fun here.
When I was learning to drive my parents warned me over and over that they're going to ask if I want to be an organ donor when I get my license and I need to be sure to say no or else I'll just be left to die if I ever get injured and go to a hospital because it will make them lots of money to harvest me.
That's nonsense of course, they'd let me die because I don't have insurance.
We've had this in Wales since 2015. I can't remember anyone disagreeing with it.
When I die, I'm seriously thinking of going the "donate my body to science" route. Would be comforting to think I'm being of some use. And if my family wants a part to cremate or bury, they can have foot or something.
I dont have a problem with my body being recycled when I die. It wont be any use to me and since I've already been told I cant be set on fire and pushed out to sea it may as well serve some purpose
Actually, "pathological specimens" (sorry for the term) are also incredibly useful. It's one thing to read about how different conditions affect the body, but it's a totally different experience to see it with your own eyes.
As far as I recall, you can specify what you want done with your body, to a certain degree. If you want it to go to an anatomy lab in a med school, then that's where it will go - we take the wishes of our donors incredibly seriously.
It's super easy. You do it online. I just tried it, and after signing into the site with two-factor ID, it was literally 4 clicks. (I didn't actually register as a non-donor, just checked how it's done).
As long as the ability to opt out is easy and evident, I don't care.
After the anatomy class where all the med students have finished their dissection (and they really do use the whoooollle thing from my understanding), at my sister's med school there was a very solemn & moving ceremony for the students which was basically to show gratitude for the generosity of the body donors so that the students could learn and become good at their profession.
...forgive me, but what's the point of, like, not having people automatically be organ donors?
If you or anyone else is interested in the life your body could potentially lead after death, I want to recommend the book "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" by Mary Roach. It has a section about bodies donated to medical schools but also explores other uses such as crash test dummies and decomposition research. Lots of things you never consider when "donating to science".
There seems to be this weird stigma that people have where they think that if they are an organ donor and the ER folks see that when trying to save their life, that for whatever reason they'll half-ass it so they can get their organs. I've never understood it, but this seems like a good way to handle that. Let people choose not to be helpful postmortem instead of them having to choose to be.
I wanna be one of those bodies that they let rot in strange places to research time of death and decomposition accuracy.
I hope I get, "buried in a drum of bacon grease."
I'm not a fan of having to opt out of something you didn't sign up for in the first place. The onus shouldn't be on the non-consenting party.
I am an organ donor myself, and encourage everyone to be organ donors. However, I know that many people and their families have personal reasons for not wanting to be donors. Despite the ability to opt out, there will still be cases of people who didn't get around to opting out or maybe weren't even aware that they are compulsory donors.
Also, if people with mental illnesses or cognitive disabilities aren't automatically opted out, this raises many ethical issues.
Smart idea. If you care enough to not be an organ donor, you can just opt out. This just increases the pool by adding the folk who don't care. I do believe there should be a clause added for those who could not reasonably be asked to give consent in the first place.
Maybe I'm a moron but why would someone opt out? I'm not looking forward to donating one day but why not keep someone else alive if possible?
This is great! However, this isn't really a novelty, France made this a law long ago. In fact, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Singapore and Spain are some of the countries that already have made this law. Welcome aboard, Iceland!
I have to disagree. While morally I think it is great to have organs more readily available, I think you should NOT automatically be opted in.
My feelings on this stem from the technology industry.
Apps, Windows (Microsoft), browsers, video games, they all automatically opt you in to their information gathering, email sending, text message viewing, invasive "services".
I personally think it should be illegal to have anyone automatically opt me in for anything. Everything should be a default NO until I otherwise give my consent to it.
It also should be illegal to give out other people's information under the guise of "if you recommend 5 friends, you get a free t-shirt". Because then all the sudden I am getting spam calls from Gyms, Window companies, scammers, all because some asshole that has my number decided to put me down as a recommendation. Even asking to take me off lists, I still get calls.
Yes I am an organ donor. Yes I wish more people were. But No, I don't believe anyone should be automatically opted in for anything.
No one should have to spend time, energy, or have to navigate tricky menus just to opt out of something they never agreed to in the first place. Even if it is a simple 5 minutes of your time with an easy to navigate website. Most companies/places bank on people not paying attention/not knowing in the first place.
If you are totally against any of your organs being used to save other people's lives - you should discuss it with family and make your wishes clear. dont delay things by making doctors plead with grieving families - because they are unsure what you would have wanted because you never told them
As long as I can still taxidermy my body when I'm dead, they can have my organs.
It's interesting, because this is actually very similar to their state church system. Icelanders are automatically registered as a member of their mother's church upon birth and have to opt out if they don't want to be registered as a church member. My Icelandic friends and I call it "Christian by default". Leads to a lot of interesting cultural and religious views of what it means to be religious or not. Most people don't unregister, but just never go to church. And the churches registered with the government still receive money from the state for anyone registered as congregants/members. Churches receive roughly $7.00 per month per registered individual - regardless if they regularly attend or not. Only in recent years have people started to actually bother unregistering from their churches.
I heard the majority of donated heads go into plastic surgery schools to be given face lifts and such by students! Check out “Stiff” by Mary Roach. She writes about all aspects of cadavers.
In 11 days I will have been with a transplanted kidney for 9 years. I'm almost 18 now, and if it wasn't for the generosity of another person, I would be dead. I now work for Donate Life and it's awesome! I don't think I can express how important organ donation is. If you want to be an organ donor, you can sign up here (for Americans)
We've had this in the Czech republic since forever. Welcome to the civilization? At least some good came out of the commies :D no religion, no reason to opt out ;-)
To be fair it's pretty selfish to demand that your dead body is kept together, you're dead, you're not using it any more. Do you sell your car and get outraged when they want the seats with it?
there are things inside me that would be better buried with me
I know this is the case in many countries, with the exception of the USA. Ethically, people who choose to opt out and not be organ donors should automatically be excluded from receiving organs if the need arrives.
I believed in being an organ donor until I worked as an RN in an intensive care unit that dealt with organ donation teams and after that, no more. Heart, lungs and major organs are taken from people whose hearts are still beating, folks, until they get to the operating room. You cannot take organs from a dead person. They will tell you the person is brain dead but how often has that proved not to be true? Corneas, skin, some other parts of the body can be used after actual death but not heart, lungs, liver, etc.
Another thing that turned me off - once a person has been tagged an organ donor, the physician signs off and the organ team steps in. I was told not to provide the care I would normally as a nurse have done, sometimes for days - turning, positioning, mouth care, keeping the body cool, for instance, in a brain damage case (the body was to be kept warm for donation) - and it went against everything I believe in as a nurse and a Christian.
I suppose the only problem would be when there is a Zombie Apocalypse...you might not want to be all chopped up in pieces...or if you are cremated afterwards, you might miss out entirely. Now, you clearly don't need all your parts to function successfully as a zombie, so I suppose we could petition medical schools to leave your limbs mostly intact as insurance to your continued after-death inclusion. #OperationZombieWannabes
I don't like this. Maybe if at 18, people are asked to opt in or out, I'd be fine with the idea. But automatically making everyone a donor at 18 is just wrong. There are many reasons to not be a donor, from religious beliefs, to superstition, and even just general distrust of how your body will be treated. Yes, this can save lives, but becoming a donor should be a choice you make. Not a decision taken from you by the government. They don't own your body.
I would donate my body to science but I doubt it would be wanted.
No one wants it while i'm alive, come to think of it.
scary s**t, the government doesn't own my body by default
If you get to heaven without your head then God won't know who you are.
I see this as a way for Iceland to have every Muslim and Jewish citizen registered in a database. Muslims and Jewish followers don't allow desecration of the body after death and the body has to be buried in a certain amount of time in order for the deceased to have a peaceful afterlife. People should be willing to donate themselves and their organs because it's the morally right thing to do. And they also should not have to justify why they are opting out.