Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Willed Body FAQs
Donors must be at least 18 years of age and competent to make the decision to donate. There is no maximum age limit. Registration as a donor in our Willed Body Program does not mean that the body donation is always accepted. That decision is made at the time of death at the discretion of the Willed Body Program staff. It is wise to have an alternative plan, as there are restrictions on the condition of bodies that we are able to accept.
Yes, the Willed Body Program may decline any donor body that may not be suitable for educational purposes. There are a number of conditions that preclude us from accepting the donation, such as:
- A history of contagious disease such as hepatitis, AIDS, tuberculosis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, MRSA, VRE, virulent herpes, etc.
- If organs (other than eyes) have been removed at or near the time of death, such as for organ donation and/or autopsy
- Severe obesity, extremely emaciated, jaundice, or body contractures
- Advanced decomposition of body
- Traumatic Injury such as that suffered during an automobile accident, drowning, homicide, suicide, autopsy, decomposition etc.
In the event that the Willed Body Program determines that the donor body is unusable, the next of kin will need to make alternative arrangements for the final disposition. The Willed Body Program is not responsible for any costs associated with alternative arrangements.
If you are interested in donating your body to help educate our future health care professionals, you will first need to contact our program via email, mail, or phone and ask for the Willed Body Program donation forms. You can also download and print the forms from our website. We will provide a pack of four forms, three of which will need to be completed and mailed back to us. The Donation Form will need to be completed and signed by you and two adult witnesses. The Personal Data Sheet and Medical Assessment Questionnaire will also need to be completed and returned.
The Willed Body Program can also accept donation of deceased persons, who meet criteria, who did not register with our program prior to passing away. The next of kin may contact the Willed Body Program to initiate the donation process and they will be asked to fill out the Next of Kin Donation Forms.
When we receive your completed and signed Donation Form as well as your completed Personal Data Sheet we will send you a letter of acknowledgement and a donor wallet card. Please sign your card and carry it with you at all times, as it includes a statement of your intent to donate to our Willed Body Program.
Generally, there is no cost to your family. The Willed Body Program will pay for transportation of your unprepared body if the place of death is within 300 miles of the institution. If the place of death is beyond 300 miles, the Willed Body Program will assist in referring you to another designated State Anatomical Board Willed Body Program closer to your location or your family may elect to pay a per mileage fee for mileage beyond the 300 miles. If the death occurs outside of a 1 hour drive from Lubbock, Texas, you or your next of kin may have to contract to a local funeral home entity to pick up and hold the body until the Willed Body Program can arrange for transportation. These arrangements and costs are not the responsibility of the Willed Body Program; they are the donor's or donor’s next of kin. (The Willed Body Program will advise you at the time of registration if these arrangements are necessary for your area.)
The embalming procedure is facilitated by the medical school by an individual licensed in mortuary science once the donor body is received. This is done at no cost to your family.
No. Texas law prohibits such payments.
It is important that we receive the body as soon as possible after death, so most families choose to have a memorial service without the body present. Additionally, the family may request to have their loved one’s ashes returned upon completion of the anatomical studies course and they may prefer to hold a service at that time. Clergy or funeral directors can easily arrange services of this type. If the family feels strongly about holding a funeral prior to the donation, the funeral director would need to contact our department first for specific embalming instructions.
While it is not a requirement that you inform your family of your decision to donate, it is encouraged. Family members may need some time to understand this unique and generous decision so it is best to begin discussing your wishes with your family once you initially make the decision to donate. Ideally, you should inform your next of kin or the executor of your estate and provide copies of your donation paperwork. We also advise that you notify your physician, clergy and attorney of the arrangements.
We are required by law to cremate all donors.
The cremated remains may be returned to the next of kin if the request is made in advance. The cremated remains are returned via Priority Mail Express, return receipt requested, so it is imperative that we have a current address and phone number for you and your next of kin. In the event that the next of kin prefers not to receive the ashes or does not request the return of the ashes, the cremated remains will be buried in a shared cemetery plot.
Yes, at any time by writing the TTUHSC Institute of Anatomical Sciences Willed Body Program and destroying your donation forms.
At time of death, contact should be made to: 806-743-2708. It should be explained that the deceased is a registered donor with our program or that the nearest surviving relative wishes to make a donation to our Willed Body Program. The Willed Body Program staff member will verify enrollment in our donor program, screen the donor for acceptance, and provide a Next of Kin donation form if the deceased did not pre-enroll.
Your family may choose to have your body transported (through a funeral home) to our institution at the expense of your estate within 12 hours. Alternatively, your family may choose to donate your body to a medical school located in the state in which your death occurred.
If you carry the donor card that we provide to you in your purse or wallet, it will be understood that you are a donor in our program. If not, your family members will need to know of your request ahead of time so they can contact our Willed Body Program.
No, we primarily utilize our donors for Anatomical Sciences Education to ensure that our future healthcare professionals are properly trained. We cannot accept bodies to determine the cause of death or for specific disease research.
24 hour on call - 806-743-2708
TTUHSC Institute of Anatomical Sciences
Willed Body Program
3601 4th St. STOP 6528
Lubbock, TX. 79430-6528