Body Donation Blog

Gene Therapy: Is This The Future of Medicine & Curing Diseases?

An Introduction To Gene Therapy Gene Therapy was first introduced in 1972 with a paper titled ‘Gene Therapy For Human Genetic Disease?’ published in Science by US composed by Theodore Friedmann and Richard Roblin. This outlined the potential for incorporating DNA sequences into a patient in hopes of curing genetic disorders. This introduction followed 18 [...]more

Bereavement Counseling

A Look Into Complicated Grief and Noticing The Signs For Help Grief is a natural response to loss. While it is a universal experience, every personal experience can differ. While conventionally grief is an emotional response, extreme cases can have physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural, spiritual, and philosophical responses. The continuing, heightened state of mourning [...]more

Identifying and Caring for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia can be demanding. There are constant worries of deteriorating behavior, making the best choices for their well-being, and if the care they are receiving is adequate. There are ways to ease this difficult journey. First is by remembering that you are not alone. More than [...]more

Appreciation Dinner for Hospice

Video Content: Research For Life Appreciation Dinner for Hospice June 11, 2021 Marriott Phoenix Resort Tempe at The Buttes Celebrating our Hospice Heroesmore

A Deep Dive into The History of Cadaver Use and Whole Body Donation

The use of cadavers to further education of the human body was developed in the third century with the establishment of the school of Greek medicine in Alexandria. Before human dissection, knowledge of medicine was based largely on observation, supposition, the study of animals, and the examination of human bones. In the early 3rd Century, [...]more

Consent: The Basics

Let's talk about consent. Consent forms, though the concept seems very straight forward, are critical in the donor process. Some things to know about consent forms: Exactly what are you consenting to What organizations do you want to donate to? Do prefer your gift to be used for educational or research purposes? What are some [...]more

The Importance of Caregivers

Professional caregivers and hospice aides give more than just physical help through their work. They are also there to provide emotional and moral support while always providing a level of comfort to their patients. The end of life stages undoubtedly will be filled with ups and downs that families and patients have to work through. […]


Funeral Burial, Cremation, Whole Body Donation: What is the best option for you?

Death, though a natural part of life, does not come without fiscal burden or emotional stress. When you think about an end of life option, your mind likely goes to the choices of either a traditional burial or a cremation. Two well-known options; but both seeing consistently rising price rates for many years. From December […]


The Importance of Accreditation in the Whole Body Donor Industry

This video explores the differences between accreditation and non-accreditation and why it is important to choose an AATB-accredited organization when you are researching whole body donation. Video Content: Research For Life CEO, Garland Shreves discusses the importance of accreditation in the whole body donor industry.


Some Compelling Reasons to Consider Donation your Body to Science

There is no doubt that anatomical donation is a benevolent gift that has the power to advance medical research and impact the quality of medical care and breakthroughs for generations to come. But, are there other reasons why someone would want to donate their body to science? Reason #1: Donating a body to science saves […]

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.