FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions that may help you in your decision regarding a donation to our Willed Body Program.

How can I donate my body to help medical science? What happens to the remains after they are cremated?
Do I get proof of my donation? If I register with an organ bank, can I still donate my body?
Is there any cost to my family for donating my body? What if I should die out of town?
Will I or my family receive payment for agreeing to my donation? What if my family is not around when I die?
How should my family notify you upon my death? Could a bequest be made as an amendment to a will?
Who should I tell of my intent to donate? What conditions might make my donation unacceptable?
What should I do if I change my mind? Can you determine the cause of death after your studies?
Can I still have a funeral and viewings? Can I donate someone else's body, like my wife or my husband?
What happens to the donation when studies have been completed? More information

HOW CAN I DONATE MY BODY TO HELP MEDICAL SCIENCE?

Upon request, forms are sent to you authorizing your generous gift to the health science center. Complete the information and have two people witness your signature. Witnesses must be at least 18 years old. Your signatures do not need to be notarized. The original form must be sent back to us. One duplicate form should be kept where it can be quickly located and the other one given to the individual who will be concerned with your final arrangements.

DO I GET PROOF OF MY DONATION?

Once we receive your donor form, we will send you an acknowledgment letter with a donor card that you can carry in your wallet. If you should ever need more cards, please call the Department of Cell Biology & Immunology at (817)735-2047.

IS THERE ANY COST TO MY FAMILY FOR DONATING MY BODY?

Not usually. However, if you die outside Dallas or Tarrant County, your estate would need to pay for transportation to the health science center. Also, your family will need to pay for certified copies of death certificates. It will be their responsibility to get any needed copies through the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the city where death occurred. There is no cost to the family for preparation of your body, however a fee will be assessed for final disposition by cremation. This fee is subject to increase based on the requirements and policies of the Department of Cell Biology & Immunology.

WILL I OR MY FAMILY RECEIVE PAYMENT FOR AGREEING TO MY DONATION?

No. Paying an individual or an estate for a donation is against the law.

HOW SHOULD MY FAMILY NOTIFY YOU UPON MY DEATH?

Your nearest family member or executor of your estate should call our department at 817-735-2047, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. If it's after hours, contact the UNT Health Science Center Campus Police at 817-735-2210. They will notify us immediately, and we will make the necessary arrangements.

WHO SHOULD I TELL OF MY INTENT TO DONATE?

Your next of kin or the executor of your estate should be notified of the arrangements and have access to all information about your bequest. A friend or a relative living close to you should be notified if there is no next of kin. We also advise you to notify your physician, clergy and attorney of the arrangements.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I CHANGE MY MIND?

If you change your mind, all you need to do is send a written or verbal request to us canceling your donation.

CAN I STILL HAVE A FUNERAL AND VIEWINGS?

Our health science center is a state-assisted institution, and we are unable to offer those services. Because we must prepare each donation within 12 hours of the time of death, it would not be possible to have funeral services and viewing with the body present, but your family may have a memorial service conducted elsewhere at any time.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DONATION WHEN STUDIES HAVE BEEN COMPLETED?

State law requires us to cremate all donations.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE REMAINS AFTER THEY ARE CREMATED?

State law does not obligate the health science center to return cremains to family members.  However, our institution allows you to chose whether you want your cremains returned to your family or UNT Health Science Center will arrange for final disposition of the cremains with no possible return.

IF I REGISTER WITH AN ORGAN BANK, CAN I STILL DONATE MY BODY?

No. A body from which organs and tissue have been removed is of limited use to us.  However individuals who have donor forms on file with our willed body program can donate their eyes to the eye bank by completing the donation form provided in our packet.

WHAT IF I SHOULD DIE OUT OF TOWN?

There are two alternatives:

1) Your family may choose to forward your body to the Health Science Center at your estate's expense within 12 hours; 2) Your family may donate your body to a medical school located in the state in which death occurred.

WHAT IF MY FAMILY IS NOT AROUND WHEN I DIE?

As long as your donor card is with you, there should be no problem. If not, the, authorities will have to contact your next of kin or another family member. Be sure that your family members know of your request and that they have access to all information pertaining to your bequest with the Willed Body Program.

COULD A BEQUEST BE MADE AS AN AMENDMENT TO A WILL?

Yes. Consult an attorney for details. However, we must receive the bequest form before accepting your donation.

WHAT CONDITIONS MIGHT MAKE MY DONATION UNACCEPTABLE?

If you had a contagious disease such as hepatitis, tuberculosis or HIV, then the medical school couldn't use your donation. We cannot accept donations that are the result of suicide or have suffered severe trauma, such as an automobile accident or a gunshot wound. Also, we cannot accept your donation if an autopsy has been performed. We reserve the right to decline any donation.

CAN YOU DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF DEATH AFTER YOUR STUDIES?

Studies to determine the cause of death would not be conclusive and are not performed.

CAN I DONATE SOMEONE ELSE'S BODY- LIKE MY WIFE OR MY HUSBAND?

Third-party donation forms for families of individuals who cannot sign for themselves or who pass away before signing a donation form are available. They are completed with the assistance of the next of kin or Power of Attorney.

For more information, call or write to:

The Willed Body Program
Department of Cell Biology and Immunology
UNT Health Science Center
3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Fort Worth, Texas  76107
817-735-2047

This page last updated 15th Jan 2014