Benefits of Whole Body Donation

Whole Body Donation Saves Lives.

You can benefit humanity.  We can help. 

The Research For Life whole body donor program connects donors with the medical researchers and educators that require human tissue to do their important work. Through this powerful gift, each donor has taken that monumental first step towards benefiting humanity and providing hope to future generations.

Donors allow medical students to get the training they need to become doctors. They also allow doctors to maintain their surgical and medical skills and assist medical device organizations develop new implantable devices such as hips, knees, and other joints. Donor organ tissue samples help anatomical researchers develop breakthroughs in the treatment options for conditions like cancer, dementia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and so much more.

The experience and education gained using human tissue is far superior to any learning provided by artificial substitutes and textbooks. Human body donation after death makes the medical advancements possible that we see today and improves the quality of life for generations to come.

An end of life option for almost everyone.

Research For Life makes every effort possible to educate and help families through this deeply personal decision.  The most common misconception we encounter is people believing that they would not be accepted as a donor. Who can donate? Almost everyone is eligible for whole body donation, even at the time of passing. There is no upper age limit restriction and we can accept donors who have or have had cancer or other diseases and are not accepted for certain types of transplant donations. There are many myths about whole body donation, read our article on Understanding Whole Body Donation.

We believe it is important to know your options and be able to accurately compare whole body donation to other forms of final arrangements.  Research For Life complies with the highest standards available throughout the entire donation process in order to best honor the donor’s selfless gift.  Our donation program is provided at no cost to the donor or the donor’s family.

A no-cost alternative for final arrangements.

As a part of our whole body donation program, Research For Life provides transportation from the location of the passing and cremation at no cost. When you donate your body to science, we make the process simple and helpful for your family members. Saving your family money is important but saving them peace of mind is priceless.

What happens to the cremated remains is up to you. We offer several options: 

  • Spread Ashes at Sea (a.k.a. Burial at Sea) 
  • Or a “No Return” Option 

If you choose to have the cremains spread at sea, there are some things you should know: 

  • Ashes are spread at an appropriate distance off the coast of California. 
  • Families or next of kin receive a Spread at Sea Certificate complete with witness details, dates and coordinates of spreading location including longitude and latitude. 
  • Families cannot attend the spreading; space does not allow for families
  • We spread the ashes annually. 

Donors make a difference, take the first step in helping advance medicine & saving lives. Click here to complete our donor registration packet

Anatomical donation plays a significant role in advancing medicine.

It is the donation of one’s remains – not for transplant, but for scientific research and medical education that has the power to impact the quality of medical care and breakthroughs that improve the quality of life for millions.

Need more information

Have questions about Research For Life & Whole Body Donation?
Call us 800.229.3244 or contact us online.
Our professional and compassionate staff is available 24/7 – 365 days/year.

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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.