Who may donate to the Willed Body Program?
Any person 18 years old and older who is at least a part-time resident of Arizona may enroll as a body donor with the Willed Body Program. There is no upper age limit.
Please note: All donors must be enrolled and active in our database to be considered for acceptance into the program.
In order to protect our students, faculty and employees, the Willed Body Program is unable to accept enrolled donors who have a current or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis.
Can the Willed Body Program deny my donation at the time of death?
Yes. Possession of a Body Donor Card does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Some restrictions and conditions that may preclude acceptance of a donation include, but are not limited to:
- Unenrolled in the Willed Body Program at the time of death
- Obesity (For weight chart, please click here)
- Autopsy or major trauma (i.e., automobile accident, etc.)
- Recent surgery
- Organ donation (other than the corneas)
- Severe edema
- A history or active infection of HIV/AIDS or hepatitis
- Communicable diseases such as COVID, MRSA or tuberculosis at the time of death
- Family member objections
- A delay in notifying the Willed Body Program of the donor's death
- The program’s facilities are at capacity
It is advisable to have alternate arrangements in place should your donation be declined.
How will my donation benefit the program?
Donors support medical training and education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine's Tucson and Phoenix campuses, as well as education and training at other accredited educational institutions throughout the United States of America.
Is there a fee to enroll?
In most cases, the costs of transportation is covered by the Willed Body Program. If a funeral home must be used, all costs associated with services, storage and transportation by the funeral home are the responsibility of the family or responsible party.
Can part-time residents of Arizona enroll?
Yes. However, the program can only accept deaths that occur within the State of Arizona.
Can I enroll on behalf of someone else?
No. The Willed Body Program cannot accept paperwork that is not signed by the donor.
What is the process following the death of a body donor?
After a body donor's death is pronounced, a family member or medical caretaker must contact the number listed on the body donor card. Final acceptance into the Willed Body Program will be made at that time. If accepted, arrangements for transportation to the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona will be made. Please note that transportation does come from Tucson. It may take a few hours to arrive at the location of the donor. Families may choose, at their expense, to make arrangements for a local funeral home to hold the donor at their location until the Willed Body Program’s transportation arrives. If declined, the donor’s family or other responsible party will need to arrange an alternate disposition.
How do I obtain a death certificate?
The Willed Body Program coordinates the signing and filing of the death certificate. It can take up to two weeks before the certificate is filed with the state of Arizona. The Willed Body Program cannot provide any copies of the death certificate itself but will provide information to the next of kin on how to order them. Please note that Arizona is a closed record state meaning you will need to show proof of relationship or legal interest in order to obtain certified copies. The Willed Body Program is unable to provide proof of eligibility to the health department so please double check that you have the correct documentation before ordering certified copies. For more information on Arizona death certificates, please visit their website at www.azdhs.gov
Is it possible to view the donor after they have arrived at the Willed Body Program?
It may be possible to arrange for a brief viewing for the donor's immediate family. Please note that a visitation with embalming is not possible due to time constraints and the anatomical preparation process.
Is it possible to know or receive a report detailing how the donor’s body was used?
Due to the anonymity of our donors while they are teaching, no pathological findings or reports are kept. Most donors teach anatomy, but they can also teach continuing education courses for physicians and surgeons.
Will the donor's organs and tissues be used for transplants or research?
No. The Willed Body Program is a whole-body donation program created for the purpose of furthering medical education and training. A donor's body will not be accepted at the time of death if organs or tissues are removed by another donation program (with the exception of the corneas).
Upon completion in the Willed Body Program, what happens to the donor's body?
All donors are cremated individually in accordance with Arizona State laws. The next of kin may request the donor's cremated remains be returned at the time of the donor's death. Due to the nature of our program, it may take up to two years before the donor is cremated. If the family does not request the cremated remains to be returned, the donor's cremated remains will be scattered by the University. Please make sure to discuss your wishes with your family prior to submitting your enrollment paperwork.
Do you need to state your wish to donate your body in your will?
You do not need to state your wish for body donation in your will. However, it is advisable to let others know of your decision regarding body donation to ensure your wish is carried out. The Willed Body Program will not accept a body donation over family objections.
What is the enrollment process?
Please click here to go to our enrollment page. Once your enrollment is accepted, you will receive a Body Donor Card indicating your arrangements to donate your body for medical education and training. Please carry it with you, as it lists the phone number to call in the event of your death. Please allow four weeks for processing and receipt of your donor card.