WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act, legislation to protect the dignity of those who donate their bodies to education or research. Specifically, it would create standards for registration, inspection, chain of custody, labeling and packing, and proper disposition to ensure donated bodies are not unknowingly contributed to a for-profit industry in which body brokers take advantage of donors and their families. While the process for donating a body for the purpose of transplantation is highly regulated and transparent, there is no federal law governing the donating of a body or body parts for research or educational uses.
"Most Americans would be shocked to learn that there is a for-profit body broker industry that creates significant ethical dilemmas and public health threats because of a lack of regulation," said Senator Tillis. "Our bipartisan legislation will introduce much-needed accountability and regulatory oversight to protect public health and ensure that donors and their families are treated with respect and dignity."
"Body brokers have caused irreparable harm to far too many families. Families deserve to know that when they make the decision to donate a loved one’s body for scientific research that their gift will be used as they intended it," said North Carolina Funeral Directors Association Executive Director Chase R. Nobel. "I am so happy that Sen. Tillis has taken a bold step to protect the people of the Tar heel state by introducing the Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act.”
“It’s hard to imagine in this day and age, that whole body donation isn’t regulated,” said National Funeral Directors Association President Randall P. “Randy” Anderson, CFSP, CCO. “What’s even harder to hear are the stories from families that have experienced heartbreak and grief when they discovered the bodies of their loved ones has been desecrated and sold – sometimes repeatedly – by body brokers. NFDA and its members strongly urge the Senate and House to pass the CDRI Act and provide long-overdue accountability and transparency to the whole-body donation process. This will help ensure donors’ bodies are treated with dignity and respect at all times.”
“NFDA is grateful to Sens. Murphy and Tillis for introducing this important legislation in the Senate and call on both houses of Congress to prevent families from enduring the heartache that far too many have already endured by passing this bill,” said National Funeral Directors Association CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. “In doing so, we can put a stop to the anguish that far too many families have experienced at the hands of body brokers.”
Full text of the bill is available here.