What is the procedure for registering a body for anatomical study?
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older who is of sound mind may donate their body by completing the forms and returning the original to this office or a person who holds Power of Attorney for Healthcare sometimes referred to as an Advanced Healthcare Directive. Also, under some circumstances, a spouse, registered domestic partner, or children of the donor may make a donation at the time of death.
Are there any costs involved in the donation of one's body?
No, the Donated Body Program underwrites costs associated with the removal, preservation and final disposition.
How is transportation to UCLA arranged?
UCLA dispatches transportation for pre-registered donors to the program 24-hours a day by calling 310-794-0372. Our program services Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, Kern County, Santa Barbara County, San Bernadine County, and Riverside County. For other counties, contact the program at 310-794-0372 for more details.
Should the donation be filed with my will?
In most instances, the will may not be read until several days after the donor’s death. Because of time constraints when the death occurs, it is important that the donor’s next of kin or agent knows the donor’s wishes at the time of enrollment and that they notify the program immediately after death occurs. It is also recommended to advise your Primary Care physician of your donation so that information is included in your medical chart.
Can a body be donated from which other body part donations have been given?
To be accepted, the body must have all vital organs intact. However, you can donate your corneas and still be a donor.
If I donate my body to the program, will I need the services of a funeral home for any reason?
It is not necessary to use a funeral provider when donating a body. In some cases, however, family members may wish to have a funeral provider coordinate a memorial service. The family is responsible for any additional costs in these situations.
Will it be possible to have a viewing or funeral service for the deceased with the body present?
It is not possible to hold a viewing or conduct a funeral for the donor due to time constraints. However, most families do hold memorial services for their loved ones shortly after the donation. Local funeral providers can assist in pre-arranging for these events.
What happens to the body after the Donated Body Program accepts it?
Following receipt of the body, certain biomedical testing, followed by preservation for long-term study is carried out or the body maybe used immediately. Students of medicine will study these bodies in an anatomy laboratory course as well as surgical resident training. Bodies are also made available for research purposes in a variety of fields. On average the educational use is between 1-yr to 18-months.
What happens to the body after the studies are completed?
Following anatomical study for medical education and/or research, and in keeping within state code, the body is disposed of by any legal method in a professional and dignified manner. UCLA utilizes an eco-friendly water cremation technology and ashes are spread at sea. Ashes cannot be returned.
Will it be possible to receive a report of medical findings, cause of death or details of the specific studies?
We do not provide any reports of pathological findings, cause of death or details of specific studies. Certified copies of death certificates can be obtained through the department of birth and death registration at the county within which the death occurred.
Will the body be studied at the University of California, Los Angeles?
The majority of the bodies are used for studies or medical research at the University of California, Los Angeles. Occasionally we receive a request from other University of California programs or institutions of higher education or medical research outside UCLA. If the request is approved, we supply anatomical material and insure all policies and procedures are strictly followed and that the educational/research use meets program standards.
Does the Donated Body Program ever refuse to accept a body?
Body donors must be free of infectious diseases such as HIV, AIDs, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. Donor’s body weight must be less than 250 lbs. If there has been a violent death, suicide or vital organs have been removed for transplant purposes, the body will be not be accepted. The UCLA Donated Body Program recommends that an alternative plan be put into place should the body not be accepted into the program at time of death. Local funeral providers can assist in pre-arranging for this possibility.
I travel a great deal...what if I should die outside the immediate area?
University of California has 5 donor programs throughout California. When registered at UCLA we are able to transfer your registration to any of the University of California programs if you were traveling within California. If you die outside of California, your next of kin will need to work with a local mortuary for a cremation/burial or they can contact a medical school within the State the death occurred to inquire if an “At Need” donation is possible.
What happens if the donor relocated outside of the geographical area?
The donor should contact a local medical school to register and rescind their donation to UCLA.
What if I change my mind, can I rescind my donation?
Yes, by notifying this office in writing.