FAQ

“It was Al's wish that his body be used and now to know that first year medical students have benefited, makes me feel honored to have fulfilled his wish.”

Mrs. C Eugene, Oregon

Q: Are there any conditions which would invalidate my donation?
A: The most common but not all reasons for decline are an unhealthy body mass index, extensive trauma, signs of decomposition, or history of communicable disease. Acceptability for anatomical donation can only be determined at the time of death. To avoid undue grief and disappointment to members of your family, they should be made aware of these conditions.

Q: Am I guaranteed that my body will be accepted to the program?
A: No. Acceptability for anatomical donation can only be determined at the time of death after a medical assessment is completed. An alternate plan should be in place with a funeral home in the event that a body donation is not accepted.

Q: Will my body be used for teaching or research? If it's used for research will my family receive a report of your findings?
A: Our program does not perform autopsies and no reports are given. The primary mission of our program is to support anatomy education to medical, dental and other allied health students. Minimal research is supported by our program at this time. Anatomy education is the foundation of a student's medical knowledge and is one of their primary courses during their first year of medical school. Students are not knowledgeable enough at this stage to recognize or diagnose diseases or conditions. Donors can also aid in continuing education opportunities for practicing residents, physicians and surgeons to learn new surgical approaches and device deployment.

Q: Can I be assured that my remains will be handled properly?
A: Yes. All donors are handled with the greatest respect, in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in full compliance with federal and state laws and regulations including the Oregon Anatomical Gifts Act. Embalming and storage areas are restricted to authorized personnel only.

Q: What happens when the studies are completed?
A: Donors are cremated in the crematorium at the OHSU School of Medicine (unless specified differently on the enrollment form) and the cremated remains are returned to a place specified by the donor or the family.

Q: How long will it be before my family will receive the remains for final disposition?
A: The length of time for final disposition can be up to three years.

Q: Can I change my mind?
A: Yes. The Body Donation Form is a legal document, but it may be amended or cancelled by the donor at any time by a phone call or letter to the Body Donation Program requesting that the form be removed from the donor files and destroyed.

Q: Does the designation of "D for donor" on my license enroll me in the program?
A: No. A driver's license may be coded with a "D" for donor but this license designation only qualifies someone for tissue and organ donation. Eligibility for the Body Donation Program requires a separate registration form to be completed by the potential donor, the donor's next of kin or authorized representative.

Q: Can a donor choose to donate his or her organs before donating to the Anatomical Donations Program?
A: Due to the possible extensiveness of organ procurement it may make a potential donor ineligible to our program. Donation to our program after any organ or tissue donation will be determined on a case to case basis at the time of death.

Q: Is there a memorial service for the donors?
A: Yes. Oregon Health & Science University conducts an annual memorial service commemorating donors. The next of kin or authorized representative will be notified of the date, time, and place of the memorial service.

Q: What is an indefinite donation?
A: Donors can choose to donate their body without any time restriction. Indefinite donors may be used for educational or research purposes outside of the three year range. The remains of permanent donors will not be returned to the next of kin or authorized agent. All permanent donors will be cremated followed by burial at sea.

Q: Is any money paid to the donor?
A: No. Federal law prohibits the buying and selling of tissue or bodies donated for transplant, research or medical education.