UTN is a Nonprofit 501(c)(3)

What to Know About Donating Your Body to Science

Donating your body to science is one of the most important choices you can make, which means critical considerations go into making that decision.  Deciding to donate a body to science is part of an end-of-life planning process, giving you time to consider your options. But if either you or a loved one becomes ill or death is sudden and unexpected, some basic information keeps you on the right path while making this decision quickly.  

Ways that People Donate a Body to Science

There are two primary ways to donate a body to science:  organ and tissue donation and whole-body donation.  The bottom line is that both help others, but in different ways.

  1. Organ Donation: When most people think of donating their body to science, they think of organ donation, where one donates specific organs and tissue needed for immediate transplant into another human being. In most states, you can register for organ donation through the motor vehicle department or The National Registry.  But registering as an organ donor and having that indicated on your driver’s license is not the same as, nor is it consent for, a whole-body donation to science.  
  2. Whole Body Donation: The other primary choice for donating a body to science is Whole Body Donation, the use of the body for science, which is often followed by cremation and the return of the remains to you or your loved ones, and scattering of ashes if desired. It’s estimated that about 20,000 Americans donate their bodies to science each year. 

In most cases, you can be both an organ donor and a whole-body donor, but you must register separately for each.  All donations to science are selfless acts that benefit others. One way to think about the difference between options for donating your body to science is that organ donation saves a life. Tissue and eye donation heal a life.  Whole Body Donation heals and saves countless lives and moves medical science and education forward over a long period.

Benefits of Donating Your Body to Science

The benefits of donating your body to science are immeasurable.  To begin, there are scientific advances and medical discoveries that can only be sustained using human tissue.  Further, body donation is crucial in helping healthcare and medical science students understand the human body and master surgical and treatment competencies.  Beyond the training in human anatomy, learning by way of deceased human bodies also helps teach medical students teamwork and how to navigate the emotional hurdles they will face when practicing health care and medicine.  Whole-body donation is an uncomplicated way to leave a legacy.  Imagine helping cure the illness that led to the loss of your loved one! 

Another significant benefit of whole-body donation with cremation is the cost.  Traditional funeral costs in the United States range from $6,684 to $14,975 as of 2023.  Donating your body to science cuts cremation costs considerably, often costing nothing. So, for families not only dealing with the loss of a loved one but also concerned with finances, whole body donation with cremation is an optimal choice.

How Do I Donate My Body to Science?

Whole-body donation takes a few more steps than organ donation because there isn’t one single organization or network that oversees the process. The steps you take to become a whole-body donor will depend partly on where you live or if there is a specific program or medical school you want your gift to benefit.

The good news is that United Tissue Network will handle the entire process for you.

How Can I Get Help with Body Donation

United Tissue Network’s caring, experienced, and locally based staff are ready to help you access free whole-Body donation and cremation services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

UTN is the only true non-profit (501C3) organization to do this important work and has created the only online registration process in the country to make the process even easier.

Our Donor Services Coordinators put into practice the fundamentals of the UTN Way: “Do the Right Thing, Always” and “Do What is Best for the Client”. 

You can trust that we will help you navigate a challenging time with honesty, all while putting your and your family’s needs first.  

How Do I Get Started Accessing Whole-Body Donation Services?

Visit United Tissue Network for more information about whole body donations with cremation in Arizona and Florida.   Begin the easy online, self-directed registration process now, or call us toll-free at 1-877-738-6111. 

Ready to register a loved one?

Click the link below to get started:

Register someone who is passing/passed