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The Italian law on body donation: A position paper of the Italian College of Anatomists
Annals of Anatomy  (IF2.698),  Pub Date : 2021-06-15, DOI: 10.1016/j.aanat.2021.151761
Raffaele De Caro, Rafael Boscolo-Berto, Marco Artico, Eugenio Bertelli, Mario Cannas, Francesco Cappello, Guido Carpino, Sergio Castorina, Amelia Cataldi, Guido Angelo Cavaletti, Saverio Cinti, Lucio Ildebrando Cocco, Ottavio Cremona, Enrico Crivellato, Antonio De Luca, Mirella Falconi, Giuseppe Familiari, Gian Luca Ferri, Eugenio Gaudio

In Italy, recent legislation (Law No. 10/2020) has tuned regulations concerning the donation of one’s postmortem body and tissues for study, training, and scientific research purposes. This study discusses several specific issues to optimise the applicability and effectiveness of such an important, novel regulatory setting.

Critical issues arise concerning the learners, the type of training and teaching activities that can be planned, the position of academic anatomy institutes, the role of family members in the donation process, the time frame of the donation process, the eligibility of partial donation, or the simultaneous donation of organs and tissues to patients awaiting transplantation. In particular, a universal time limit for donations (i.e., one year) makes it impossible to plan the long-term use of specific body parts, which could be effectively preserved for the advanced teaching and training of medical students and surgeons. The abovementioned conditions lead to the limited use of corpses, thus resulting in the inefficiency of the whole system of body donation.

Overall, the donors’ scope for the donation of their body could be best honoured by a more flexible and tuneable approach that can be used on a case-by-case basis.

Furthermore, it is deemed necessary to closely monitor the events scheduled for corpses in public nonacademic institutions or private enterprises. This paper presents useful insights from Italian anatomists with the hope of providing inspiration for drafting the regulations.

In conclusion, this paper focuses on the critical issues derived from the recently introduced Italian law on the donation and use of the body after death and provides suggestions to lawmakers for future implementations.