As The Doyenne of Death®, I get a lot of phone calls asking about body disposition, funeral questions and cemetery issues. Sometimes even people at funeral homes call me about getting special clothing for the deceased or arranging air shipment of bodies.
This morning, a woman called me, thinking I was the BioGift body donation service. Someone in her family had preplanned with them, that person was now dead, and she was calling for a pick-up. I told her, “I’m a death educator, not a body donation service.”
She said, “Then why is your phone number listed for BioGift?” I Googled BioGift, and did not see my phone number. I don’t know where she got that information.
So, to be helpful, here’s a listing of body donation services with links to their websites and phone numbers. Many are approved by the AATB, the American Association of Tissue Banks. Please call these services for pick-up, not me.
Body Donation Services
Anatomy Gifts Registry: Based in Hanover, MD 800-300-5433
BioGift: Based in Portland, OR 503-670-1799
MedCure: Based in Portland, OR (note: several negative experiences have been posted on this blog regarding this organization) 503-257-9100
Medical Education and Research Institute – MERI: Based in Memphis, TN 901-722-8001
Research for Life: Based in Phoenix, AZ 800-229-3244
Science Care: Based in Phoenix, AZ 800-417-3747
Southwest Institute for Bio-Advancement (SWIBA): Based in Tucson, AZ 800-723-3031
United Tissue Network: Based in Phoenix, AZ 877-738-6111
Also, please remember that while you can get a free cremation by donating your body to one of these services, they can disqualify a donation for any number of reasons: body trauma, being grossly overweight or underweight, infectious diseases like hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other maladies.
You can also check into body donation to your local university medical school anatomical gift program. They can also deny a donation for various reasons. Be prepared to look for a low-cost direct cremation in your market. Two funeral home price comparison sites are Parting.com and Funeralocity.com.
Reuters Investigative Report
You may want to read this November 2017 investigative report to learn more about the business of body donation. Here’s a link: The Body Trade: Cashing in on the donated dead.
Talk to your family about your wishes.
Let your spouse and dependents know what arrangements you’ve made. Have a conversation and listen to their concerns. Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals – or body donation – won’t make you dead. Your family will benefit from the conversation.