You can also say yes to organ donation, even if you have donated your body to research through a testament. When a person dies, it will first be considered if organs can be donated and used to save another persons life. If organ donation is not applicable (organ donation is only possible in 0,4-0,5% of all deaths) the body will be used in research. It is not possible to combine organ donation and research due to the embalming process carried out after organ donation.
If you want your body to go into research you must contact a University Hospital in the area where you live and set up a ‘Life testament’. If you donate your body for research, your funeral will be delayed for up to two to three years. Read more about it at University of Oslo – testament scheme (norwegian)
Department of Anatomy, University of Oslo, tel: 22 85 12 97
University of Tromsø, tel: 77 64 40 00
University of Bergen, tel: 55 58 00 00
NTNU, Trondheim, tel: 73 59 50 00
By saying yes to organ donation you are not saying yes to anything else but this. If you want your body to go into research then you must specifically request this through the testament scheme.
Currently, there does not exist any artificial organ that could fully replace a transplanted organ. All forms of dialysis treatment are an inferior function a kidney transplant, although dialysis is in itself a form of life saving treatment.
Heart pumps can be used and their durability and safety has improved. Many have been used and tested for several years now, though heart pumps are still considered to be a ‘bridge’ to a heart transplant. For all other organs there is exits no other ‘artificial’ treatment.
Using organs from animals (xenotransplantation) could increase the supply of organs but there are numerous unanswered questions both medical and ethically. It has also proved very risky in terms of infections and the immune system. In addition it is uncertain to what extent animal organs are actually suited to meet human needs. There are currently no centres that perform the transplantation of organs from animals to humans.
Since stem cells can develop into various new types of cells, the research into stem cells is of great interest because of the possibility for use in organ donation. A great deal of research is now carried out on so-called bio artificial organs, or organs that are ‘grown’ with human cells in a shell of collagen (scaffolds). This type of organ takes time to develop and any results or light at the end of the tunnel won’t be seen for another ten years.