Procedures at the Time of Death

At the time of death, a funeral home must be contracted and advised to contact the Anatomical Donations Program, University of Michigan Medical School, (734) 764-4359, to determine whether the Program can accept the anatomical gift of the donor's body and to obtain instructions regarding donation of the body. Family or other representatives may also call this number with any questions. Anatomical Donations staff members are available outside of normal business hours if necessary.

If death occurs at a considerable distance from the University of Michigan Medical School, transportation costs, legal issues, and potential deterioration of the deceased may prohibit delivery of the body to the University of Michigan. However, it is possible to donate the body to an alternate recipient. (Links to other anatomical donations programs in the United States are listed in the right-hand column of this page.) A funeral director can assist survivors in making arrangements for delivery to an alternate recipient.

Procedure for Making an Anatomical Gift

A donor may make an anatomical gift of the donor's body to the University of Michigan Medical School or other appropriate recipient as permitted by the RUAGL. To document the intent to make a gift, the University of Michigan has created the Donor Authorization Form for convenience, or the donor may use other procedures as detailed by statute.

A signed copy of the Donor Authorization may be sent to the University of Michigan Anatomical Donations Program to notify us of the gift. (See contact information.) On receipt of the completed form, a wallet card will be sent to the donor to help notify others of the intent to make an anatomical gift. Funeral homes may also assist with donation arrangements before death.

The completed gift form is a legal document of gift that may be amended or revoked. The gift becomes effective immediately upon death but is subject to conditions at the time of death and acceptance by the Anatomical Donations Program.

It is always advisable to notify the donor's family and legal representative of the intent to make an anatomical donation of the donor's body so that it may be carried out at the time of death. The reading of a will or the discovery of the gift form may come too late to accommodate the donor's wishes.

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