UTN is a Nonprofit 501(c)(3)

Navigating Body Donation in Nevada: How to Contribute to Science and Medicine

If you are searching online for “body donation in Las Vegas” or “whole body donation near me in Nevada,” this article will explain how the process works, how to donate one’s body to science in Nevada, and the best places for making a body donation.

Body donations have led to major breakthroughs in the treatment of disease, so your donation can potentially advance medical science. Still, there are some pros and cons you should be aware of.

Pros and Cons of Donating Your Body to Science

Making a body donation is a big decision, so you should understand the positives and negatives of donating a body to science in Nevada.

Advancing medical education and researchPotential emotional impact on loved ones
Contributing to scientific progressLack of a traditional viewing or burial
Cost-effective alternative to burial or cremationDelayed return or remains
Environmental benefitSome restrictions on eligibility
Creating a legacyNot all donations are accepted


  • Advancing medical education and research: Donated bodies are invaluable resources for training medical students, surgeons, and researchers, allowing them to study human anatomy, practice surgical techniques, and gain insights into various medical conditions.
  • Contributing to scientific progress: Body donation can further medical discoveries and the development of new treatments, surgical procedures, and medical technologies, ultimately benefiting countless lives.
  • Cost-effective alternative to burial or cremation: Body donation programs typically cover the transportation and cremation costs, which can be a more affordable option than traditional funeral arrangements.
  • Environmental benefit: Body donation eliminates the need for a burial plot or cremation, which can have a smaller environmental impact.
  • Creating a legacy: For some individuals, body donation aligns with their values and provides a sense of contributing to the greater good after their passing.


  • Emotional impact on family and loved ones: The idea of donating a body can be challenging for some families to accept, and they may have cultural or religious objections.
  • Lack of traditional funeral or burial: Without a traditional funeral service or burial, some individuals and families may find it difficult to achieve closure or have a sense of finality.
  • Delayed return of cremated remains: It can take several months or even years for the cremated remains to be returned to the family after the body has been used for educational or research purposes.
  • Restrictions on eligibility: Certain medical conditions, such as infectious diseases or extreme obesity, may disqualify individuals from body donation programs.
  • Not all donations are accepted: Depending on who you choose to work with, some donations are rejected due to lack of need.

What Are the Best Places to Donate a Body to Science?

You have a few options for making a whole-body donation in Nevada.

State Anatomical Gift Programs

Some states have formal gift programs that coordinate the donation of bodies to medical schools or research institutions. These programs serve as a central clearinghouse. However, there is no such program in Nevada.

Non-profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations like United Tissue Network (UTN) work with a wide network of medical institutions and research facilities. UTN coordinates with funeral homes, hospice centers, and families to handle all of the arrangements for transporting bodies from the place of passing, placement with a legitimate research or training facility, and cremation after research has been concluded.

You will want an organization that is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). The AATB is a non-profit organization that grants accreditation to organizations that uphold the highest levels of ethics and treat donors and families with dignity and respect.

Who Is Eligible for Whole Body Donation?

Eligibility rules vary depending on the organization. United Tissue Network accepts a broad range of donations as long as donors are 18 years of age or older. There is no upper age limit.

UTN accepts donations from individuals afflicted with a wide range of diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and various types of cancer. This diversity in donated bodies helps researchers gain valuable insights into the effects and progression of different diseases and conditions, contributing to potential treatments and advancements in medical knowledge.

One exception is those with infectious or communicable diseases. To protect the safety of medical professionals and those involved in the donation process, individuals who have conditions such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis are automatically disqualified.

Because of UTN’s non-profit status and broad distribution network, it accepts more donations than many other organizations — about 97%. However, each case is reviewed individually to ensure a match. Once you have been approved, UTN guarantees acceptance, even for those with subsequent medical issues. This differs from some other programs, which may revoke acceptance due to changes in condition or need.

Body Donation and Free Cremation

United Tissue Network pays for 100% of the costs associated with your body donation. This helps relieve the financial burden for families, saving between $1,200 and $7,000 for a traditional funeral and burial or cremation.

The average cost of a traditional funeral is nearly $8,000 according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). That does not include the cost of cemetery plots or markers. The median cost of a funeral service with cremation is nearly $7,000.

Direct cremation, which does include a funeral or memorial service, will vary depending on where you live in Nevada. In Las Vegas, the average cost for a direct cremation is about $1,500 while in Reno, the average cost is about $1,200.  There may be other more affordable options. Some funeral homes and crematoriums advertise cremation services that cost as little as $800.

What Are the Rules for Donating Your Body to Science in Nevada?

Body donations must be done in accordance with The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) and a Nevada state law that regulates organ and tissue donation and details how medical examiners, agencies, or organizations handle organ and body donations.

It is illegal to sell body parts, although some unscrupulous for-profit operators have done so. UTN does not profit from body donations.

Nevada Rules for Cremation

There are specific rules for the cremation process. For example, cremations in Nevada may only be done by licensed funeral directors or crematory operators. Cremation must take place in a licensed facility.

Dispersing Remains

When it comes to dispersing remains, Nevada does not have any specific laws. Cremated remains are sterile and non-toxic, so families are allowed to scatter ashes on private land (with permission), public lands or state parks, and public waterways. You should check with the appropriate state or local agencies first for local guidelines.

In Nevada, there are national parks where you can disperse cremated remains, although you will want to check with the Park Ranger’s office first. These include:

  • Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  • Great Basin National Parks
  • Death Valley

How to Donate One’s Body to Science in Nevada

Deciding to donate your body to science is a generous decision that can help advance medical science and training to benefit others. Many families find comfort in knowing that this gift will help future generations.

Donation helps support training and research such as:

  • Hands-on training for medical students
  • Refinement of surgical procedures
  • R&D of innovative medical devices
  • Development of new drugs and therapies
  • Training for EMTs and other first responders

Past donations have led to significant breakthroughs in a wide variety of diseases, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease

You can donate your body or that of a loved one in Nevada by taking a few simple steps.

Pledge Your Body Donation for Medical Science

Just as you have to sign up to become an organ donor, you also need to make your intentions known when you want to be a body donor.

You can pledge to become a donor by filling out an online form on the UTN website. You will receive a Donor Pledge Card. Afterward, you will need to sign the forms along with two witnesses. Only one of the witnesses can be an immediate family member. The signing occurs electronically using DocuSign, so the process is secure, and witnesses do not need to be in the same location.

Register a Loved One for a Body Donation

You can register a loved one for pre-approval. This can be done at any time or as someone enters the end-of-life stage. You will need to complete a checklist about the donor’s medical history. Upon acceptance, you will need to provide authorized signatures.

If a loved one has passed away, you can still apply for a body donation by calling UTN’s Donor Service Coordinators 24/7 at 877-738-6111 or by filling out the online form.

Discussing Body Donation with Family Members

The decision to donate your body is a highly personal one. Once you decide to move forward, you should discuss it with your family members or loved ones. You want to make sure they know what you want and will honor your wishes upon your passing.

There may be questions that come up about the process, so you can feel free to talk to the caring professionals at United Tissue Network to get the answers you need.

What Happens Once Someone Passes Away?

When you or a loved one passes away, United Tissue Network will review a more thorough medical history. There may be some limited initial testing to make sure the body is safe for research and transportation.

UTN will then coordinate with the funeral home or hospice center and the qualified research and education facility for transportation and storage. If the donor has also signed up to be an organ donor, UTN will work with the appropriate medical professionals and give priority to life-saving transplants.

After research is completed, UTN will coordinate the transportation to a licensed crematorium and the return of remains to families if they choose. Loved ones can pick up remains at the facility or have them delivered by mail or disposed of by the facility.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQs

Can I be an organ donor and whole body donor?

Yes, although you need to register or authorize both processes. UTN works with the appropriate agencies to coordinate organ donation for life-saving transplants. There is an organ donation time limit after death, which is typically 60–90 minutes.

Can I still have a funeral service?

You can have a memorial service, end-of-life celebration, or any other type of service you desire. However, you will not be able to have a traditional viewing.

Will UTN pay for the costs involved?

UTN pays for the costs of transporting the donated body, cremation, and return of the remains if desired. Family members will be responsible for the costs of any memorial services.

Can I specify where or how the donated body is used?

You can let UTN know your wishes, and we will do our best to fulfill them. However, we cannot guarantee how the donation will be used due to varying demand and placements.

How do you keep donations confidential?

UTN protects donor identities and keeps researcher information confidential as well. Donors are assigned unique identification numbers that are used for all communication outside the donor’s family or authorized representative.

Call United Tissue Network at 877-738-6111 to talk to one of our team members at any time about whole body donation in Nevada. Donor Service Coordinators are available 24/7.

Ready to register a loved one?

Click the link below to get started:

Register someone who is passing/passed