How Do I Donate My Body to Science?

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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Ask the experts

I have multiple sclerosis and when I die I would like to donate my body to a medical school. What does this entail, and does it cost money to donate my body?

Doctor's response

Donating your body to a medical school for research or teaching purposes does not cost anything. To donate your body, you must contact the medical school or university to which you would like to donate your body and fill out a registration form. Medical schools will send an information packet to potential donors, including instructions for your next-of-kin on contacting the medical school when you die. Your body will be transported by the medical school and stored until it is needed.

Donation is not considered final until the medical school has received a signed consent form. A copy of this form should be stored with your will and/or personal documents. You may revoke your consent to be a donor at any time by notifying the medical school in writing.

Talk to the specific medical school or university of your choice about the disposition of the body after it has been used. Many medical schools will cremate the body at their own expense and return the ashes to loved ones, if they so desire.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

"Giving ourselves: the ethics of anatomical donation"
Gunderman, RB
Anatomical Sciences Education
Sept. 2008


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Reviewed on 7/26/2017

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