Why are people calling me for body donation services?

Feb 21, 2019 | 2 comments

As The Doyenne of Death®, I get a lot of phone calls asking about body donation, disposition methods, 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.

AATB accredited institution

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. Click here for a listing of schools and body donation programs by state. They can also deny a donation for various reasons. Be prepared to look for a low-cost direct cremation in your market. Check into this funeral home price comparison site: 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.

A Good Goodbye