WHOLE BODY DONATION
U of M Anatomy Bequest Program
University of Minnesota Medical School
3-005 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Requirements For Donation
The Anatomy Bequest Program accepts donations in the form of signed donation authorizations from individuals who are of sound mind and are 18 years of age or older. If you wish to complete a donation form for yourself, click here: Anatomy Bequest Program Donation Form
If the donor is medically unable to complete an authorization form or if the death has already occurred, the next of kin or authorizing person may be able to donate their loved one’s body by submitting a signed Next of Kin/Authorizing Person Donation Form.
Under the terms of the Minnesota Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, the Anatomy Bequest Program has the right to accept or decline a donation dependent upon the needs of the Anatomy Bequest Program and the medical and/or social history of the decedent at the time of death.
The Anatomy Bequest Program reserves the right to decline whole body donation for the following reasons:
• The individual has a disease such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or a Prion disease
• The individual weighs over 300 pounds
• The individual has a family member who objects to the donation
• The condition or pathology of the remains precludes adequate and/or safe preparation, storage or study
If the Anatomy Bequest Program declines or refuses donation at the time of death, it becomes the responsibility of the next of kin/authorizing person to make final arrangements.
When a Death Occurs in Minnesota
When a death occurs within the state of Minnesota, the Anatomy Bequest Program will arrange for transportation of the body from the place of death to the University at the Anatomy Bequest Program's expense.
The donor's body may be embalmed and will be used for teaching in an anatomy course and/or other scientific studies. Studies and/or courses can last an average of 18 months but may last as few as two months or up to two years. Viewing of donors is not possible at the University of Minnesota at any time.
When a Death Occurs Outside of Minnesota
If a death occurs outside of Minnesota, donation to the Anatomy Bequest Program may be possible depending of the anatomical gift laws in the state of death.
The donor’s estate and/or next of kin/ authorizing person is responsible for the out of state transportation and other funeral service expenses associated with whole body donation to University of Minnesota. These arrangements must be made with a funeral home. Once the donor has been transported into Minnesota, the Anatomy Bequest Program will then cover the expense of transporting the donor the remainder of the distance to the University of Minnesota.
Mayo Clinic Bequest Program
Department of Anatomy
200 First Street, SW
Rochester, MN 55905
Making a donation
Mayo Clinic requires a signed consent form for whole-body donation. The gift of whole-body donation is authorized by the individual, but the legal next of kin is responsible for carrying out the donor's wishes. If the next of kin opposes the donation, it will not occur. Mayo Clinic advises donors to notify their families of their intentions. See initiating the donation process.
Body donation procedure
Mayo Clinic's procedure for accepting a whole-body donation begins with notification of a donor's death. A health care representative from the hospital, medical facility or hospice organization where the death occurs should contact Mayo Clinic's donor program coordinator. The coordinator will review acceptance protocol to determine if the donation can be accepted. If the potential donor meets the acceptance criteria, the next of kin will be contacted to determine if whole-body donation should proceed. Transportation of the body to Mayo Clinic will then be arranged.
If the death does not occur in a medical facility or under hospice care, local law enforcement personnel should be notified and the coroner or medical examiner will determine if an autopsy is necessary. If no further investigation is required, Mayo Clinic will be notified and proceed with the acceptance procedure.
Typically studies of donated bodies are completed in six to 15 months. Mayo Clinic offers biocremation as a means of final disposition. The biocremated remains can be returned to the family or interred in the Mayo vault at Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester. If traditional cremation or burial is the donor's wish, the donor's estate is responsible for the cost of the casket and all funeral expenses.
Criteria and considerations for donation
Prospective donors should not consider themselves too old for whole-body donation. Unlike most organ donation programs, age is rarely a factor in whole-body donation.
Whole-body donation after organ donation
An individual might not be eligible for whole-body donation after an organ donation. Mayo Clinic's donor program coordinator will consult with the organ procurement organization to evaluate the potential for whole-body donation acceptance.
Specific disease study
Mayo Clinic's anatomical bequest program does not typically accept bodies donated for specific disease research. However, allowances are made to accommodate the requests of a Mayo Clinic primary physician or specialist.
Denial of a donation
Mayo Clinic might not accept a bequest if:
There is no payment for body donation, as explicitly stated by law in every state. Mayo Clinic has limited funds to reimburse families for transportation and funeral home expenses for a whole-body donation. Any expenses beyond our fund limit are the responsibility of the donor's estate. If the donor dies out of state, and the cost of transporting the body to Mayo Clinic is too expensive, the next of kin can contact a nearby medical school about making the donation there.