Whole Body Donation: What to Expect After a Death

Research For Life has made the entire whole body donation process as simple as possible. Our process is comprised of two phases for both registered and non-registered donors. We have also made sure that we have taken every action possible to keep contact with your loved ones at a minimum during this difficult time.

Phase One

All registered Research For Life donors that are pre-qualified have already supplied all required authorization and permission forms for this phase.

Close up of a researcher looking into a microscope

Steps for Registered Donors

Step 1: Contact Research For Life to report the death.

Step 2: Collect information for the transportation of the donor.

Step 3: Transportation to the Research For Life facility.

Steps for Non-registered Donors

Step 1: Contact Research For Life to report the death.

Step 2: Qualification questionnaire. Research For Life will use the questionnaire to determine donor qualification during the call.

Step 3: Authorization/permission for transportation. We obtain all necessary authorizations and collect the information necessary for transportation of the donor.

Step 4: Transportation to the Research For Life facility.

Phase Two

Step 5: Research For Life contacts the legal next of kin for additional information. The Medical/Social History questionnaire, any missing information from the authorization packet, and any additional forms that may needed, depending on the situation, will be requested at this time.

In Arizona, the Death Registration Worksheet will be requested. In California, we will confirm death certificate information by phone.

Step 6: The donor body is processed for recovery at the Research For Life facility. Those tissues not retained for placement are cremated at this time.

Step 7: If selected, the cremated remains are returned to the legal next of kin within 4 to 6 weeks.

We provide several options to all our donors:

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

Step 8: The donor is honored at the Research For Life Annual Memorial Celebration held during the month of April in Arizona and California. Personal invitations are sent out to the families of donors from the previous year. All attendees are welcome to bring friends and additional family members.

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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