About Research for Life

Research For Life is committed to providing compassionate services to donor families throughout Arizona and Southern California. Our whole body donor program brings donor specimens together with educators and researchers for the purpose of advancing medicine that improves or extends the quality life for people all over the world.

Over the past decade we have been a leader in our commitment to support responsible legislation that:

  • would require that tissue banks in Arizona be licensed and inspected, and
  • to mandate federal legislation that would regulate all whole body donor activities.

We also continually lobby to maintain the right of all persons to choose whole body donation. Whole body donors help to save lives and improve the quality of life for current and future generations.

As a leading anatomical whole-body tissue bank in the United States we are accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).

Donors can make a difference and Research For Life can help facilitate their gift. We work with many cutting-edge organizations that are seeking to bring innovative medical devices or drug therapies to society that will improve and or extend the quality of life for many people around the world.

Research For Life is a no-cost program providing the services of transportation and cremation at no charge to the donor or the donor’s family.

Our Pledge to You

We, at Research For Life, have been granted a very special privilege: to be allowed to contribute our donors’ bodies to the future of science. Our first priority is and shall always be to treat them with the utmost dignity and respect.

Video Content: Quarterly public tour hosted by Garland Shreves, CEO, Research For Life

Our History

Laurie and Garland Shreves founded Research For Life in 2009. They both have a deep background in the funeral industry – spanning several decades. They believed that donor families deserved a higher level of care and service. The original lab was in Chandler, Arizona and then moved to Phoenix in 2012, near Sky Harbor airport. This move allowed for a larger building with space for training doctors and paramedics. These new facilities allowed Research For Life to offer better opportunities for learning with technology and state-of-the art recovery facilities.

Our organization identified the growing need in Southern California to support those individuals who wished to become whole body donors. So, in 2011, the Temecula, California office was opened to the public.

As we grew, we recognized the importance of accreditation, licensure, and inspection within our industry. We made the commitment to consistently meet the highest possible standards for whole body donor programs to better serve our donors, their families, and our end users. Research For Life is 1 of only 7 accredited whole body donor organizations in the United States.

Since we opened our doors in 2009, we have served more than 10,000 families in Arizona and California. More families are choosing Research For Life for whole body donation over any other organization and we are currently registering hundreds of future donors each month.

From our earliest beginnings, we have believed that transparency and public outreach are key to helping people understand the facts about whole body donation and the benefits it provides to society. Research For Life hosts quarterly public tours of our facility, participates in public speaking tours, and offers in-service presentations for medical professionals. From the start we have placed donors ahead of profits because it is the right thing to do.

Currently, Research For Life currently has just under 50 employees and provides anatomical specimens for medical education and research organizations worldwide.

Leadership Team

Garland Shreves, CEO Research For Life

Garland Shreves

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Laurie Shreves, Director of Family Services Research For Life

Laurie Shreves
Director of Family Services

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Michael J. Bauer, MD, Medical Director Research For Life

Michael J. Bauer, MD
Medical Director

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Licenses & Accreditations

AATB logo

AATB - American Association of Tissue Banks

Research for Life is a proud member of the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Our accreditation is characterized by our commitment to medical research and education.

Research For Life offers a full spectrum of accredited tissue services for our research and educational partners here in the United States and all over the globe.

Proudly, our accreditations with the AATB offer our donors and their families the peace of mind that we operate and conduct our services with only the highest levels of quality, control, and integrity.

We are a licensed, accredited and inspected Non-transplant Anatomical Donation Organization (NADO).

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Research For Life - Understanding Whole Body Donor Consent

Hello, my name is Garland Shreves, CEO of Research For Life. I want to take a moment to discuss some very basic information with you regarding consent forms, in general, that you may encounter when considering to donate to a whole body donor organization.

First and foremost, you need to understand and read the consent form, also known as the authorization form or document of gift, so you know what you are consenting to.  Ask questions of the organization if you don’t understand something. 

 All states require, under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, that consent be granted by an authorized agent of the donor or self-authorization before death.

Each state defines who in the consenting class has the most authority to direct donation. Such as the medical power of attorney, spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, etc. and differs slightly in each state. 

Consent may be given by means of a verbal recorded consent or by a written document of gift.

Research For Life uses a written consent form which can be found on our website.

Understand that the donor or authorizing agent is giving the body to an organization. Once given it belongs to the organization to use in accordance with the consent form.

In other words, the donor organization is free to use the donor provided it does so within the terms

of the consent, it may not use the donor in a manner not consented too.  

The consent may state how the body may be used.  Educational and/or research purposes or some other purpose may be stated or in the discretion of the donor organization.

Research For Life provides cadavers and/or anatomical specimens for education and research purposes and does not do ballistic testing.

The consent may state that the body will be used in whole or in parts. It may also state that the anatomical parts may be used domestically and or internationally.

And most consents will cover some basic things like consent to test the donor for diseases and order medical records to help best determine the medical suitability for the donation.

The consent may also touch on issues like for profit or nonprofit status and if the donor or anatomical specimens will be used by one or more or both types of entities.  Remember that regardless of an organizations tax status they all charge fees to end users who order anatomical specimens and offer those specimens to both for profit and nonprofit entities.

From the very start of the donation process costs to the donor organization begin. 24-hour answering service, transport team to respond 24/7, qualified trained staff paid a livable wage with benefits and retirement, electric, gas, phone, insurances, building payments, maintenance, medical director, and regulatory requirements, and cremation fees. And these are just some of the expenses that an organization may have to cover.

Another item you may see on most authorization forms is a release of liability, a hold harmless agreement, excluding misconduct of course.  

Research For Life states clearly it will not and donor or agent agrees that Research For Life will not be held responsible for acts of third parties in connection with the donation.

Another item that reduces a donor organizations liability is the Anatomical Gift Act prohibits criminal, civil or administrative actions provided there is no intentional misconduct on the part of the donor organization. In other words, if the donor organization acted in good faith it is immune and provided some protection from lawsuits.

Another important part on a consent form is the person signing the authorization attests (affirms) that they have the authority to direct the donation. The donor organization accepts the authorizing agent’s authority in good faith barring any information known to it at the time of donation that would contradict the authority of the person authorizing donation.    

Remember, should you decide to register, tell your family and friends about your decision.

Also, the donation authorization form is not valid until notarized or signed by two witnesses; one witness must be non-family or disinterested party. 

Consent forms contain other important information that you need to read and understand.

All documents of gift or authorizations can be cancelled prior to death.

I want to thank you for taking the time to watch this video and I hope it helped provide you with some basic information regarding whole body donation consent forms.  Thank you.