A humanitarian alternative
Body donation is a reasonable option for interment and can function as a great memorial. Typically, someone who's willing to donate their body will also be willing to give up a traditional funeral. Body donations are most often used as anatomical subjects for medical schools, helping interns learn aspects of medical science.
There's a perpetual need for body donation, as medical schools are short of anatomical subjects for the purposes of study and learning. The donation of a body helps in medical research; many lives have been saved because people donated their bodies to science. Some of the many ways in which a body donation may be used include: surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, cardiology and many other fields of study and research.
What to Do
Medical schools are not allowed to buy or solicit bodies for donation. Instead, willing donors need to approach the schools. There's no age limit for donating your body to science, as all body donations are considered valuable. If you want to donate tissue, you will forego the possibility of donating your whole body (with the exception of the cornea).
Some donation programs will pay for a memorial service if you donate a body. Of course, this will mean a very low cost funeral because you have no viewing, no casket and no service expenses.
The decision to donate a body to science is typically made by a person who is pre-planning their funeral . It's not often that someone will take it upon themselves to donate a body when they're planning a funeral for a loved one. We often have an attachment to the body, which makes it difficult to offer it up in such a way.
Some religions won't allow for body donation. These religions tend to view the body as a temple or a connection to God, and have strict rules for what's to be done upon death. If you're planning to donate someone's body you should definitely make sure that you're not going against anything they might have believed.
There also tends to be a lot less ceremony involved in body donation. For the bereaved who are more accustomed to traditional funerals, it can be difficult to understand the process and the reasons behind it in their time of grief. A great way to accommodate for this is to perform an alternative memorial. A body isn't required to have a memorial service or to do something to honor the deceased.