The Body Donation Program morticians may refuse the gift if the body is not suitable for educational purposes. As a precaution for that event, donors should inform their executor of alternate arrangements for their body.

We accept bodies only from persons who have made prearrangements by filing forms in advance with our program.

Condition of the body

Occasionally we must refuse a donor’s body because it is not suitable for educational purposes. We cannot accept mutilated bodies (e.g., automobile accidents), bodies that have unhealed major surgery prior to death or have been autopsied, or from which major organs have been removed/donated.

Other conditions that may cause a body to be refused include obesity, malnutrition, excessive edema, hepatitis, jaundice, and infectious diseases.

Due to changes in a person’s health over time, the decision to accept or decline a body will be made at the time of death by the UW mortician, and not at the time the donor signs the registration form. Registration does not constitute acceptance in advance.

Removals

Body Donation Program morticians do not remove bodies from private residences and most nursing homes. If death occurs in a private setting, the family must contact a local funeral home to make the removal and hold the remains until our mortician arrives. Any funeral home expenses are the responsibility of the family or other person(s) responsible for posthumous affairs. However, we are able to make removals if death occurs at a hospital facility that has a morgue.

On occasion, our department mortician is unable to immediately remove the body from the place of death (local mortuary or hospital) due to distance, weather, or another commitment. In those instances, interim funeral home expenses are the responsibility of the family.

Funeral services

Families may hold funeral services before we receive the body. Any funeral home expenses are the responsibility of the family, including paperwork if performed by the local funeral director.

Fees for UW services

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health does not charge donor families for our services.

Find out how to request a donation packet