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Donate Your Body to Science

Support Humane Medical Research That Saves Lives

Why Donate to Science

Body, organ, and tissue donation is vital for researchers to improve their understanding of how diseases start and progress, and what keeps us healthy. There is no substitute for human tissue when studying the human body. Through donation, scientists are able to advance our understanding of disease and the development of new treatments. Research breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and more have been made possible because individuals chose to donate.

Body donation also plays a critical role in helping medical and health-related science students master their comprehension of the complex anatomy of the human body. Medical students and other healthcare professionals use human bodies to learn and perfect the skills that will one day benefit the health of society. 

Body Donation 101

Donating your body to science is not the same as being an organ donor. Whole-body donation is slightly more complicated because there’s no single organization or network that oversees the process of matching donors with research programs and medical schools. Instead, the steps you’ll need to take to become a whole-body donor will depend on where you live or what type of program you want your gift to benefit. 

Some states—such as Florida, Texas, Maryland, and Illinois—have state anatomical boards that you can contact if you want to become a donor. In other states, you must reach out directly to institutions and find out if you qualify for their body donation program. 

The organ donor designation symbol on the back of your license does not imply consent for whole body donation. A whole-body donor would need to register with both the organ donation organization and the whole-body donation organization. Both organ and whole-body donations are extremely time-sensitive processes, so it’s important to talk to your loved ones and make sure they are aware of your preferences. 

There are many whole-body donation programs that offer services at no cost to the donor or the donor’s family. The organization that receives your gift may cover the transportation and cremation costs related to the donation process. Make sure you talk to the organization about any costs associated with the end of life.  


Do your research! There are numerous accredited organizations dedicated to providing valuable human bodies, organs, and tissues to medical researchers and students. Most institutions have comprehensive websites full of information; they also have people on staff who are ready to answer questions from potential donors.

If you want to help a particular research program, university, or hospital, contact them directly to ask if they have a whole-body donation program.

If you’re just getting started, you can browse this sample list of body donation programs by state. Keep in mind, many programs accept donors from out of state. A few accredited organizations you can also look into include Anatomy Gifts Registry, United Tissue Network, and Research for Life.