Donating your body for medical research certainly promotes science, but it can also mean savings. Facilities that accept donations provide a free cremation — which typically costs $1,500 to $3,000 — and generally return the ashes after four weeks. (Funeral services are not covered.) Arrangements can be made in advance.
Since 2008, donor inquiries have increased at places like Anatomy Gifts Registry, a Maryland nonprofit that supplies body specimens for approved research, and Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Arizona, which specializes in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cardiovascular research.
"Those contacting us ultimately do the greater good," says spokesman Brian Browne, "but with the financial crunch, there is now greater interest among people who want to have the final arrangements taken care of."
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer issues.