Donating Your Body to Science

The Anatomical Gift Program allows one to donate their body, as a gift, to the Division of Clinical Anatomy in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Human bodies are an indispensable aid in medical teaching and research. The basis of all medical knowledge is human anatomy; human anatomy can be learned only by a study of the human body. Without this study there could be no doctors, no surgery, no alleviation of disease or repair of injury. The need for anatomical donation is great and will be further increased by the demand for more doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other members of the health service professions.

Conditions and Policies

Who may donate?
Any person 18 years of age or older who is of sound mind.

Are there religious objections to donating one’s body to medical science?
The practice is approved, and even encouraged, by Catholic, Protestant and Reformed Jewish religious leaders.

Will my family or I be paid for the donation of my body?
No. United States Laws specifically prohibit paying persons for human bodies or internal organs.

What expenses will my family or I have to pay?

If death occurs at one’s home or in a hospital without a morgue, a local funeral home must be contacted to pick up and hold the body in cold storage. The funeral home will charge the family for any services performed. Under certain circumstances, if death occurs in a hospital with an in-house morgue, the body may simply be placed in the morgue. In this case the family will bear no expenses.
I also understand that the acceptance of my donation is at the complete discretion of the institution, and if it is not accepted my estate is responsible for the final disposition of my remains.

Are there any restrictions on the conditions of bodies that are accepted?
Yes. There are a few cases in which bodies cannot be accepted for donation: if the body has been severely injured in an accident; if a highly contagious disease such as hepatitis is present; if the body is more than moderately overweight or severely underweight; if the body is severely deformed; if cancer has damaged the internal organs; or if the body has been autopsied.

Organ Donation

Is there a difference between this program and organ donor programs?
Yes! This program has no association with ORGAN donor programs – this program deals specifically with donating the ENTIRE BODY.

Are bodies accepted if the eyes have been donated to an Eye Bank?
Yes. In fact, we encourage you to do so. For this you may contact the Arkansas Eye Bank & Laboratory at 4301 W. Markham (Slot 523), Little Rock, AR 72205-7199 or call 501-686-8388 or 501-666-3937. They will provide you with the necessary information.

Are bodies accepted if organ(s) such as kidneys, heart, lungs are donated for transplant purposes?
No, because the procedures involved in removal of such organs are extensive enough to interrupt the blood vessels in such a fashion that it is not possible to achieve the type of embalming necessary for carrying out future anatomical studies.

Disposition Of Remains

What happens to my body after the studies are completed?
The body will be cremated and, if it is requested that we do so, the ashes (cremains) will be returned to the family, otherwise, the ashes will be buried in the Forest Hills Cemetery, Alexander, AR.

Methods For Donation

How do I donate?
You may donate your body in three ways:

1) For our own record keeping purposes, we would prefer that you enroll directly with the Anatomical Gift Program:
            The Anatomical Gift Program
            Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences
            University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
            4301 West Markham #510
            Little Rock, AR 72205-7199
            Phone: (501) 686-7019

2) You can specify your intentions to donate your body to science in your Last Will and Testament. This Will should be prepared by an attorney and you should let your next of kin and other close family members know your wishes.

3) You can complete the information on the back of your driver’s license.

What is the advantage of my making the donation by enrollment in the Anatomical Gift Program?
Your enrollment relieves the next of kin of the burden of making a decision of this magnitude under the handicap of grief. Your donation protects both your survivors and the Division of Clinical Anatomy in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences at UAMS, and greatly simplifies the procedure at the time of death.

Problems or Concerns with the Anatomical Gift Program?

If you encounter any problems or have any concerns about the Anatomical Gift Program then please feel free to contact the Director of the Anatomical Gift Program at the email address below.

Kevin D. Phelan, Ph.D.