UTN is a Nonprofit 501(c)(3)

Whole Body Donation Near You in Arizona: How to Find Ethical Body Donation Programs

If you are considering whole-body donation, United Tissue Network is here to help every step of the way.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to furthering medical research and education through body donation while also providing Arizonans with cost-free end-of-life options for themselves or their loved ones.

Those who register to donate themselves, or their loved ones, to UTN after death have the peace of mind of knowing that they are contributing to the ethical advancement of medical science and education while receiving no-cost cremation services.

Those who are charity minded in life can continue to be so after death by making a whole-body donation in Arizona, knowing they are positively impacting the medical research community and furthering advancement of medical devices.

Here at United Tissue Network, we are dedicated to furthering that cause.

We encourage you to learn more about United Tissue Network and to continue reading below to find out more about how you can donate your body in Arizona.

Why Donate Your Body to Science in Arizona?

Donating to United Tissue Network is an assurance that you will affect programs that focus on the advancement of Bioskills development, surgical training, and education. Because UTN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we are held to a higher standard to educate our communities about the benefits of whole-body donation.

UTN has also been accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks, which promotes and oversees the safety, quality, and availability of donated human tissue in the United States for transplant and research purposes.

So, why would a person choose to donate their body to science in Arizona rather than simply holding a traditional funeral?

The primary reason people choose donation is the desire to help advance the mission of medical research. Programs that use human tissue in laboratory settings include:

  • Physician education
  • Surgical-student training
  • Medical device research and training
  • Drug research and development
  • Emergency response training

In these settings, researchers use human tissue for many purposes designed to improve medicine for everyone. Some of the benefits of working with real cadavers in laboratories include:

  • Students can study human anatomy in detail
  • Surgeons-in-training can practice new techniques with cutting-edge medical devices
  • Researchers can study diseases and how they begin and progress

Another common question people sometimes ask us: Do the donors or their families get compensated if they donate their body to science?

Whether you’re donating your body to science in Arizona or anywhere else in the United States, there is no monetary compensation for the donation. Instead, organizations like UTN aid families by covering all the costs directly related to the donation, including the transportation fees, filing fee, two certified death certificates, and the cremation upon program completion.

Ultimately, if the medical or science industries have made an impact in your life, and you would like to make a lasting legacy in a truly unique and invaluable way, you might consider registering with United Tissue Network as whole-body donor in Arizona.

a young medical worker embracing an older patient

How to Donate Your Body to Science in Arizona

Once you’ve made the decision to donate your body towards the advancement of medical research and education after your death–or to donate the body of a loved one who is imminent or has passed–it can sometimes be difficult to navigate how it works or how to get started, but United Tissue Network is here to make the process easy.

Individuals 18 and older can start the registration process to donate themselves to United Tissue Network in Arizona by completing one of our registration forms and signing our consent forms. A Donor Services Coordinator is available to walk you through all the procedures we follow before and after your death so you know what will happen.

It begins by completing the appropriate registration and consent forms with us, all of which you can find on the right sidebar of this page.

The forms allow you or your loved one to be considered for whole-body donation in Arizona.

Note that, on certain occasions, a body may be rejected for donation due to the presence of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.

Once we have accepted an imminent patient into our donor program, we issue a Donor Security Certificate. This document states that we will unconditionally accept the donor after death, no matter the changes in their medical history.

United Tissue Network offers our “S.E.T.” Program which provides options to register with us at different points in a person’s life:

  • Self-Registration – Individuals who are in good health and interested in donating their bodies for medical advancement. This is considered a pledge process. 
  • End of life Registration– For individuals who are at the end-of-life and receiving hospice care. This is also called the pre-approval process. 
  • Time of passing Registration – For the family or hospice worker of a deceased individual to complete the approval process.

In cases of self-registration, United Tissue Network provides individuals with donor-pledge cards that can be kept in a wallet like a credit card. The cards detail the wishes of the person to be a whole-body donor at death.

a medical worker holding hands with an older patient

When a pledged donor passes, we are contacted by their family or hospice provider to complete a medical/social history questionnaire to officially approve into a current medical program.

The purpose of the medical/social questionnaire is to obtain the most accurate information possible to the medical programs, ensuring a donor is matched with a program that will best utilize their donation.

We do not include personal, identifying information with our medical histories.

It is important to note here that a whole-body donation in Arizona does not prevent you from also serving as an organ donor.

If you have organ-donor status at the time of your death, we work with our organ-donor partners to ensure that all usable organs are donated for transplants before the whole body is transported.

Ready to register a loved one?

Click the link below to get started:

How Whole-Body Donation Eliminates Your Cremation Costs in Arizona

Allowing your body or that of a family member to advance the good cause of medical science is reason enough to donate your body to science, but there is another major benefit of donating: the elimination of the costs of passing.

We mentioned above that United Tissue Network is a nonprofit, charitable organization that is committed to ensuring that medical education and surgical training in Arizona and elsewhere have the human tissue they need to continue their research.

Your donation of your body to our organization means you won’t pay anything at any point in the process.

United Tissue Network proudly handles the costs directly related to the donation, including:

  • Removal and transportation from place of passing to UTN
  • Administrative services for Death Certificate registration
  • 2 certified copies of the Death Certificate
  • Cremation upon program completion

The last point is an important one.

While cremation costs in Arizona are much lower than casket burial costs, the expenses associated with cremation may still be too high for many families to afford.

The costs of cremation in the state can start as low as $600 and go up to $3,000, with the state average lying somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000.

It’s for this reason that a whole-body donation to science can prove to be a viable funeral alternative in Arizona for many families. Once the medical community completes its research on the body, United Tissue Network coordinates the cremation and the return of the remains to the family.

The family of the deceased can choose to receive the cremated remains in four to six weeks or have United Tissue Network scatter the cremated remains at the Grand Canyon.

This is all done at no cost to you.

In that case, the benefits of donating your body to science are twofold: the gift of your body will help to advance medical science while also allowing for a no-cost Arizona funeral alternative.

United Tissue Network has provided many Arizonans the peace and comfort in registering for whole-body donation with us.

Register for Whole-Body Donation in Arizona

At United Tissue Network, we understand that death and the end of life are sensitive times for Arizona families. It can be difficult to make decisions or think clearly about anything.

We want to make the process of donating your body to science in Arizona as easy as possible.

When you register with us, you know you are making a real difference in the work of medical professionals who are striving to improve medical processes for all people. Because we are a nonprofit, we have wide acceptance criteria and can accept donors with most BMIs, cancers, and dementia.

Donating your body to science through us also eliminates cremation costs for the surviving family, an enormous financial benefit. To pledge yourself or register a loved one who is passing or has just passed, complete the appropriate form on the right. You can also contact us for more information. A donor services coordinator is available 24 hours a day at (877) 738-6111 to answer all your questions.

Ready to register a loved one?

Click the link below to get started:

Deciding to donate your body or that of a loved one to science can leave an important legacy. Arizona whole body donation helps scientists research new medical procedures and devices, surgeons train on procedures and cutting-edge technology, and medical students learn.

When searching online for whole-body donations near you in Arizona, it is important to know how programs work and to find one that will carry out your wishes ethically and respectfully. Here is a guide to help you make an informed choice and better understand the whole-body donation process in Arizona.

Finding the Best Whole Body Donation Programs Near You in Arizona

Finding the best Arizona whole-body donation programs near you will require some due diligence on your part. When doing your research, here are some of the key things you need to look for.

Verify Accreditation and Non-Profit Status

One of the most important things to look for is accreditation from the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), a professional organization that thoroughly inspects whole-body donation programs to ensure they comply with stringent standards. These include responsible transportation and handling of donated bodies and only working with legitimate medical research, education, and training facilities.

You should also verify the non-profit status of any organization you are considering. While some for-profit companies accept body donations, they may profit from the sale of body parts, which contradicts most donors’ intentions. Selecting a non-profit, such as United Tissue Network (UTN), ensures your donation will not be exploited for financial gain.

Evaluate Ethics and Respect for Donors

Besides verifying accreditation, take time to review the ethical principles and respect for donors of any program you are evaluating. Make sure the program’s goals align with your wishes in terms of advancing medical knowledge and training responsible healthcare professionals. If you have any concerns, bring them up to make sure they are addressed.

UTN makes it a priority to treat every donor with dignity and care.

Understand the Criteria and Restrictions

When considering Arizona whole body donation, you need to know the criteria organizations use to determine if a body is accepted. Here are some of the key factors considered:

Age Requirements

  • Donors are required to be at least 18 years old.
  • Most programs accept elderly donors.

Health History

  • Most medical conditions and causes of death are acceptable for donation. However, donors with a communicable disease like HIV or hepatitis are excluded.
  • Specific causes of death do not automatically disqualify a donation, but each case is evaluated individually.
  • Height and weight are typically not restricting factors.
  • Authorization requires consent forms that comply with the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.
  • Forms must be signed by the donor or power of attorney and notarized.

Review Process

  • An evaluation of medical and social history will be conducted.
  • Additional testing may be required to confirm compatibility and safety.

As a nonprofit organization, United Tissue Network has less stringent criteria than many other programs and can often accept whole-body donations that other organizations may not accommodate.

Confirming Your Eligibility

Due to the specific criteria each organization uses, it is important to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your own eligibility or that of your loved one. By registering a loved one or pledging yourself for Arizona whole body donation in advance, you can make sure the criteria are met.

Hospice caregivers can help you with the paperwork and coordinate with the whole body donation program. If someone has already passed, the funeral home can also help.

Review Costs Covered

Most reputable whole-body donation organizations will cover the transportation costs to transfer the body from a funeral home or hospice to the research facility. Check if they also pay for cremation once studies are complete and return the remains to the family. UTN covers both of these services and provides two certified death certificates free of charge.

Keep in mind you will likely need to pay for events such as memorial services and celebrations of life. So, know which costs you are responsible for.

Is Whole Body Donation Worth it?

While the decision to donate one’s body is a highly personal one, many families take comfort in knowing their loved one’s remains will contribute to the greater good. Whole-body donation plays an invaluable role in furthering medical knowledge that can save lives.

Contributions to Medical Research

Whole-body donation provides an invaluable contribution to advancing medical research and allowing doctors to push new frontiers in healthcare.

Donated bodies give surgeons an essential tool to develop and practice innovative surgical techniques. The ability to study the intricate details of human anatomy facilitates new protocols and approaches that can save patients’ lives. Researchers also rely on the study of donated bodies to better understand how diseases progress.

Doctors have also been able to perfect emerging procedures like robotic surgery by gaining hands-on training with bodies, directly translating to improved outcomes for patients undergoing complex operations. Donated bodies have also been instrumental in testing new drug therapies and treatments to determine effectiveness and safety before they are used in clinical settings.

Training Medical Students

Whole body donation also plays a central role in medical education, providing students with critical hands-on training that cannot be found in books or simulations. While lectures and models help establish foundational knowledge, there is no replacement for working with actual human bodies to develop skills.

Through experience with donated bodies, students learn to:

  • Distinguish healthy anatomies from those impacted by disease and damage.
  • Strengthen the examination skills and investigative techniques they will utilize with future patients.
  • Gain a firsthand appreciation of how various conditions affect the body.
  • Practice surgical, treatment, and procedure protocols to build proficiency.

Ready to register a loved one?

Click the link below to get started:

What Excludes You from Donating Your Body to Science?

Different organizations have different standards that may prevent someone from being able to donate their body to science, so you will want to check with the whole-body donation program you choose. Here are some of the most common reasons a donation may not be accepted into an Arizona whole-body donation program:

  • Communicable Diseases: Donors must not have diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or sepsis at the time of death. These diseases can put medical personnel at risk during research.
  • Obesity: Most donation programs have weight limits between 300-400 pounds for the donor at the time of passing. Extreme obesity may disqualify a donor.
  • Autopsies: If an autopsy has been performed, the remains may no longer be accepted for donation.
  • Decomposition: If the remains have begun decomposing or have not been preserved properly after death, they may be declined. Donations typically must occur within 24–48 hours of passing.
  • Violent Death: Donors who died from homicide, suicide, or traumatic accidents may not be eligible, depending on the program’s criteria. Each case is reviewed individually.
  • Anatomical Damage: Significant damage to the body, which would limit its usefulness for science and medical training, may result in disqualification.

United Tissue Network has broad discretion over which bodies it can accept into the program and generally accepts most donations. For example, some programs impose body mass index (BMI) limits and will not accept donors above certain thresholds due to potential concerns about safely handling larger bodies. UTN does not impose BMI or weight limitations.

UTN also accepts donors with a wider range of health conditions and causes of death. Bodies of those who suffered from cancer, dementia, and other illnesses can often still be registered. Only contagious diseases like HIV/AIDS preclude donation. Ultimately, UTN evaluates each body individually to determine acceptance.

How Can I Donate My Whole Body?

To make an Arizona whole-body donation, you can contact United Tissue Network by calling 877-738-6111. A Donation Coordinator will explain the process and answer any of your questions. You can also register online to start the process.

There are three main scenarios under which you can arrange for whole-body donation in Arizona:


You can register yourself to become a donor upon your death. This requires completing a short pledge form online to sign up. There is no cost or obligation to register yourself in advance, but it lets family members and loved ones know your intentions after you pass.

End-of-Life Registration

For those nearing the end of life, you can pre-register them as a donor. This ensures the proper consent forms and other documentation are completed in advance if they pass soon. This process involves confirming eligibility and finalizing registration while the individual is still living.

Registration at the Time of Death

You can also register a loved one who has just passed away as a donor. However, you will want to verify the specific requirements for the viability of the body with each organization at the time of death. For example, there are typically restrictions on how soon after passing the body must be donated and properly stored in the interim. Some bodies may no longer be eligible if too much time has elapsed since the time of death.

Why Choose United Tissue Network for Arizona Whole Body Donation

United Tissue Network is a non-profit organization facilitating whole-body donations. UTN meets the highest standards in the industry for ethics and regulatory compliance. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, UTN is driven by its mission rather than profits. Each body donation advances medical knowledge and training through a network of research and education institutions.

UTN has earned accreditation from the American Association of Tissue Banks. This rigorous accreditation evaluates all aspects of their program, from transportation procedures to partner vetting and more. It provides assurance they adhere to strict industry best practices.

One of the factors that sets UTN apart is their careful screening of the facilities with which they work. UTN only collaborates with those that align with their principles for the respectful, ethical, and confidential use of donated bodies. Families can trust UTN to make ethical decisions when considering how their loved one’s gift can make the greatest impact.

Since 2009, UTN has helped more than 12,000 families, providing cost-free services and helping donors make a significant contribution to the advancement of science.

You can learn more about whole-body donation by talking to one of our Donation Specialists today at 877-738-6111.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can someone be an organ donor and whole-body donation donor?

Organ donation provides organs for life-saving transplants, while whole-body donation is used for research, training, and education. You can do both. Most Arizona residents register to be organ donors when obtaining or renewing their driver’s license. You can also register directly through the Donor Network of Arizona. However, being an organ donor will not register you to be a whole-body donor unless you choose a different organization, such as United Tissue Network.

What are the costs involved in Arizona whole-body donation?

While whole-body donation programs differ, most will pay for transportation of the body to research and medical facilities and the cost of cremation after research projects are completed. UTN pays for these costs, as well as the return of the remains to family members upon request or disposal of the remains, along with two certified death certificates.

A whole-body donation also eliminates the cost of caskets, embalming, and burial. This can help ease the financial burden for families.

Can I still have a memorial service?

Making a whole-body donation would preclude having a traditional funeral service with viewing and burial. However, you can certainly have a memorial service or celebration of life to honor your loved one. The costs for such services would be your responsibility.

Are donor identities confidential?

Ethical programs will treat your information confidentially and protect the donor’s identity. For example, UTN assigns a unique number to each body, which is shared with researchers and medical facilities. Names are never disclosed except to family members.

You can learn more about whole-body donation by talking to one of our Donation Specialists today at 877-738-6111.

Ready to register a loved one?

Click the link below to get started: