FAQS

Body Donation Program


Are there age restrictions for donation?
Arizona Anatomical Gift Act (Chapter 7, Articles 1-3) permits a person who is at least 18 years of age to donate his/her body to a medical school for educational purposes.  There are no upper age limits.

Do I have to pre-apply?
While this is preferred, the donation of another's body to a medical school by the durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent is allowed by Arizona Law.

Can a donation be refused?
Completion of the donor forms is considered to be an application to the donor program. It is not a guarantee that the donation will be accepted into the program. See Exclusion Criteria. If the donation is refused, the durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent will be responsible for making other arrangements for final disposition, including transportation and all associated expenses.

How will my body be used?
At Midwestern University, most body donations are used within health care curricula for anatomical study, but some are used for research to advance medical and surgical techniques and procedures.

How much time is required to complete the studies?
This will vary according to how the body is used, but generally there is a time lapse of about two years between the acceptance of the donation into the program and the completion of study.

What happens to the body when the study is completed?
The body will be cremated. If requested, the program will return the cremains to the person designated to receive them. If no such request is made, the program will inter the cremains with dignity and respect at a common site. In such cases, cremains will not be retrieved under any circumstances.

Will my family or other responsible person(s) be sent a report of observations of the study?
No. If at the time of death, a family member or durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent has concerns that might warrant a thorough forensic examination, they should contact the medical examiner or coroner to make arrangements. If an autopsy is performed, the body cannot be donated. See Exclusion Criteria.

What happens to the body when it's cremated?
Prior to cremation, pacemakers or battery-operated implants must be removed from the body. The body is then cremated. After cremation is completed, dense tissue, such as bones and any metal implants, remain. Pacemakers along with the metal implants are disposed of in a respectful manner. The dense tissues are processed into fine granules. These fine granules are collectively called cremains. The cremains are placed in a container for final disposition.

Can I change my mind about donating?
Yes, a donor or durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent may revoke an anatomical donation at any time prior to death by completing a Revocation Form, which is available by request from the program.

What if my family disagrees with my wishes to donate after I die?
It is very important to discuss your decision to donate with family members and durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent to make your wishes clear. In the event of a family member or durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent's objection at the time of death, the Body Donation Program will decline the donation.

What happens when I die?
At the time of death, the durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent should contact the Body Donation Program as soon as possible at 623-806-7990. The Body Donation Program or its representative will accept or decline the donation based on the Exclusion Criteria. If accepted, the body will be transported to the Body Donation Program at no cost to the donor's estate as long as death occurs within a 30-mile radius of Maricopa County.

Is it possible to have a funeral/memorial service before the body is brought to the donor program?
No, at the time of donation the body is transported to the program. A funeral/memorial service may be held, but the body will not be present.

What is the cost of donation to my family/estate?
If death occurs within a 30-mile radius of Maricopa County and the body is accepted into the program, the program will assume all costs, including cremation and mailing of cremains (if so designated). If death occurs outside of the 30-mile radius and the body is accepted into the program, the family/estate will be responsible for the additional mileage cost of $3.00 per mile.

How does my durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent obtain a death certificate?
All information needed for a death certificate will be filed with Arizona Bureau of Vital Statistics. The durable power of attorney/next of kin/donor agent must apply for copies of the death certificate and assume associated costs.

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