Body donation to science: new rules set – Sciences et Avenir

Collection of consent, establishment of an ethics committee: the decree published on April 28, 2022 in the Official Journal, specifies the conditions for the transfer of bodies to science under the bioethics law, as the government undertook to do after the Paris-Descartes scandal.

Text defining multiple terms

Upon receipt of documentation from an institution authorized to receive organs, a person may consent to this donation “by a written statement in full, dated and signed in his own hand,” indicated in the decree, which enters into force on April 29. The text also specifies the means of transporting and receiving bodies, the conditions for carrying out funeral operations, the return of the body or ashes, as well as the conditions for the authorization and operation of institutions that benefit from donations. It also provides for the establishment in these institutions of “an ethics, science and education committee responsible for advising on training programs and research projects requiring the use of bodies that have been “gifted”.

Four indictments

Last year, the government announced that the rules on body donation centers for science would be revised as part of the June 2021 bioethics bill following the Paris-Descartes scandal. In 2019, the weekly L’Express reported that the university’s body donation center received in “obscene conditions” the remains of “thousands of people” who donated their bodies to science. The subsequent investigation revealed the “inertia” of the officials of the prestigious Parisian institution for several decades. These revelations led to four indictments in 2021, including one against a Parisian university and its former president for “attacking the integrity of a corpse.”

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