FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE ANATOMICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
1. WHO MAY BEQUEATH THEIR BODY TO MEDICAL SCIENCE IN INDIANA?
Any person 18 years of age or over may bequeath their body to medical science. There is no upper age limit.
2. HOW DO I ENROLL TO DONATE MY BODY TO THE ANATOMICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM?
Simply by completing the Certificate of Bequeathal and Biographical Information forms and returning them to us.
3. HOW MUCH DOES THE ANATOMICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM PAY FOR BODIES?
No monies are paid from procurement of bodies for anatomical studies. All human material utilized in teaching is by donation only.
4. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME TO DONATE MY BODY TO THE PROGRAM?
If you donate directly to the Anatomical Education Program at (317) 274-7450 through the Direct Donor Program, your donation will not cost you anything. We will provide transportation, embalming, and assistance in filing paperwork (i.e. burial permit, death certificate, and other necessary forms), at no cost to you or your family. However, newspaper charges for obituaries and county health department fees for certified death certificates need to be paid directly by the family.
5. DO I HAVE TO USE THE DIRECT DONOR PROGRAM?
No. You may use a funeral home to provide the services listed above. However, a funeral director may charge you for his/her services, and you or your family will be responsible for all of his/her fees.
6. WHAT PROCEDURE SHOULD BE FOLLOWED UPON MY DEATH?
A nurse or doctor involved in your healthcare should call the Anatomical Education Program at (317) 274-7450. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A medical screening will be conducted over the phone to determine if your remains can be accepted.
7. WHAT COULD PREVENT MY BODY BEING ACCEPTED?
The cause of death could prevent use of the body for medical education. If an infectious or communicable disease is present, or if there is trauma to the body that may render it unusable for teaching, the body cannot be accepted. Excessive height, weight (maximum 6’0” and 200 lbs. – the maximum acceptable weight declines in correspondence to the donor’s height), ostomies/stomas, or recent surgeries could also prevent acceptance.
8. MAY AN AUTOPSY OR POST-MORTEM EXAMINATION BE CONDUCTED?
No. The Anatomical Education Program cannot accept autopsied bodies.
9. WHAT HAPPENS SHOULD MY BODY NOT BE ACCEPTED BY THE PROGRAM?
Your family will be notified at the time of our telephone medical screening and directed to select a funeral director to make arrangements for an alternative form of disposition. It should be noted every effort is made to accept all donations.
10. MAY I HAVE A FUNERAL SERVICE?
You may elect to have a funeral service with your body present, after which the body is brought to the Anatomical Education Program. Some families choose a traditional funeral service, while many will utilize the Direct Donor Program and hold a memorial service with no remains present at a church or funeral home, or wait until the cremains are returned (up to 24 months after death) to hold a service.
11. HOW WILL MY BODY BE USED?
All donations are used for the purposed of advancing medical education.
12. WHAT HAPPENS TO MY BODY AFTER YOU HAVE COMPLETED YOUR STUDIES?
All donated bodies are cremated. The Program usually requires 18 to 24 months before the cremains may be claimed or inurned.
13. WHO PAYS FOR CREMATION?
The Anatomical Education Program of the Indiana University School of Medicine.
14. CAN MY FAMILY RECEIVE A REPORT OF YOUR FINDINGS?
Typically, no reports are provided to families. Because our donors are utilized for education, bodies are studied by medical students who are not yet qualified to provide an assessment about causes of death or medical conditions. Donor bodies are studied to gain an in-depth understanding of human anatomy; research into specific diseases or conditions will not be conducted.
15. CAN MY CREMATED REMAINS BE RETURNED TO MY FAMILY?
You may stipulate on the Certificate of Bequeathal your wish to have your cremains returned to your family. Following cremation, your family will be notified by letter and asked to choose whether to retrieve the cremains at our office, or – with a written request – we can mail the cremains by certified mail.
16. WHAT IF I DO NOT WANT MY CREMAINS RETURNED?
A portion of Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis has been set aside for burial of those who gave their bodies to benefit medical education. The cemetery area is marked with a memorial wall and path that can be personalized at a family’s request and expense. Inurnment in Crown Hill Cemetery will require written permission from your family.
17. IS A MEMORIAL SERVICE HELD?
Yes. The University holds an annual memorial service in Indianapolis. Family and friends of donors who have completed the Program and been cremated will be invited to attend. The service is held in the fall and families will receive advance notice of the memorial service.
18. WHAT IF I DIE IN ANOTHER STATE?
The Anatomical Education Program should be notified of the death at (317) 274-7450, and our medical screening will be conducted over the phone. Once the body is accepted, the family should make arrangements with a local funeral director to assume responsibility for bringing your body to IU School of Medicine. In this case, you or your family will be responsible for the cost of your body being prepared and transported.
19. WILL THE ANATOMICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM ACCEPT MY BODY IF I GIVE MY EYES AND/OR OTHER ORGANS OR TISSUES FOR TRANSPLANT?
A donor may donate their eyes through the Indiana Lions Eye Bank. The donation of tissues or organs other than the eyes would render the body unacceptable to our Program.
20. WHERE CAN I GET INFORMATION ON THE DONATION OF EYES, ORGANS, AND OTHER TISSUE?
INDIANA LYONS EYE BANK – 727 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240, (317) 808-5000
INDIANA DONOR NETWORK – 3760 Guion Road, Indianapolis, IN 46222, (317) 685-0389
21. SHOULD THE BEQUEATHAL OF MY BODY BE MADE A PROVISION OF MY WILL?
It may be, but this is not necessary. If this provision is made only in your will, your body may not be accepted since there is usually a considerable delay before a will is probated. We request that the Certificate of Bequeathal be signed by the donor and two competent witnesses. We do not need a copy of your will.
22. MAY I PAY THE EXPENSES THE ANATOMICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM INCURS WITH MY BODY DONATION?
Yes. The Anatomical Education Program does accept monetary donations which help to offset expenses associated with medical, dental, and allied health education within the State of Indiana. Such donations qualify for an Indiana College Credit on your state tax form, and also qualify for an itemized deduction on your federal form.
23. WHAT IF I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?
If you have additional questions regarding bequeathal procedures or the Program, please call us at (317) 274-7450.