On June 26, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced federal legislation to regulate the process of whole body donation. U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) joined U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) in introducing the Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act. The standards required under the bill will ensure the dignity of donors who give their bodies to science and education will be protected and also provide clarity to families.

The bill would create standards for registration, inspection, chain of custody, labeling and packing, and proper disposition. It would also create a registration and tracking system for bodies and body parts donated for research, thus preventing body brokers and bad actors from taking advantage of donors and donor families.

While the process of donating organs or tissue for transplant is highly regulated, there is no federal or state regulation for governing the process when a body is donated for use in medical research or education.

ICCFA supports this legislation because it will protect funeral professionals by requiring transparency and to ensure donors’ bodies are handled with dignity, and to guarantee their return to their loved ones after cremation.