These are questions frequently asked by those who contact United Tissue Network. We understand you may have many more questions and invite you to call or email for additional information. It is our honor to provide you with all the information needed to make an informed and generous decision about donation. It is through education that we can increase awareness of whole-body donation and the need for individuals like you. Whole-body donation contributes to the advancement of medical technology, training and education. All donations are conducted and protected under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.

Am I eligible to donate?

UTN accepts whole-body donation pledges by all individuals over the age of 18. There is no upper age limit to be a whole-body donor. All donors are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and final acceptance is made at the discretion and best judgment of the Medical Director or Designee.

How do I become a UTN donor?

Please refer to the How to How to Register page.

Who can authorize donation?

UTN has both self-authorization donation forms and authorizing person donation forms.

  • Self-Authorization: This type of authorization is made when an individual is of sound mind and can make proper future decisions
  • Authorizing Person: This is done in accordance with the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in the state of passing. Our friendly staff can assist you through the process.

Is my information kept confidential?

UTN believes in the confidentiality for both the donor and the researcher or educator. In order to maintain confidentiality, all donors are assigned a unique identification number that is used for all forms of communication other than the donor family.

Why is human tissue needed?

There is no substitute for human tissue when studying the body. Medical professionals are reliant on generous donors to improve patient outcomes. This includes quicker patient recovery times, minimal scarring, heightened range of motion, added longevity for implanted medical devices and less time needed for physical therapy.

Are there exclusions for donation?

UTN is one of the most inclusive whole-body donor programs in the country. We make every effort to fulfill the wishes of those who wish to donate. To protect our medical professionals, donors with HIV/AIDS are not eligible for donation. All approvals are decided on a case by case basis, which is based on the medical social history and medical records obtained.

Can I request a specific cause for my donation to support?

While the wishes are taken into consideration, UTN cannot guarantee placement with a specific organization or area of study. We unite the donor’s gift with the most relevant medical training and education to maximize the donation.

Can I be an organ donor and a whole-body donor?

UTN encourages all whole-body donors to also be registered organ donors. It is important that your healthcare representative know your wishes to ensure both donations can occur seamlessly. UTN will coordinate all donation activities with your state organ procurement organization.

What is the cost to me or my family?

UTN covers the costs associated with the removal from the place of passing, transportation to one of our facilities, two certified copies of the death certificate and cremation.

When will cremated remains be returned to the family?

Cremated remains are returned to the family within 4-6 weeks and all cremations are performed by a licensed crematory. We encourage families to pick up the cremated remains at the local offices. If in-person pick up is not suitable, cremated remains are sent via certified mail to a funeral home of your choosing or to a personal residence. Cremated remains may not be shipped internationally.

*If a special project is selected by the family and the donor qualifies, it can take up to two years for the cremated remains to be returned.

Can I still have a funeral?

All whole-body donors are cremated and therefore a traditional funeral with a casket is not possible. Memorials, life celebrations and other types of honoring the donor are encouraged as a way of finding closure and allowing others to pay their respects. Costs associated with funeral arrangements are not covered by UTN.

Who can sign as a witness for donation authorization forms?

  • Self-Authorization: Both witnesses must be 18 years of age or older. The donor’s act in signing this document appeared to be his/her free and voluntary act. At least ONE witness must be a disinterested party (not a relative or caregiver).
  • Authorizing Person: This is done in accordance with the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in the state of passing. Our friendly staff can assist you through the process.