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Frequently Asked Questions

How will my body be used?
Yale Medical School accepts the body as an unrestricted gift for the purpose of medical education and research. It is not possible to specify research in a specific area. We will attempt to maximize the impact of your gift by making it available to as many students and clinicians as possible.
How will my body be transported to Yale?

Bodies donated according to the guidelines are transported from the place of death to Yale Medical School at no cost to the estate of the deceased (provided a valid death certificate is available). By registering with us you will receive a wallet identification and authorization card for your signature. You are encouraged to discuss your intentions with your loved ones and caregivers, so that they may act on your behalf.

Immediately upon the death of the potential donor please contact our office by calling: 203-785-2813. We have 24-hour coverage.

What if I die outside of Connecticut?
Unfortunately, we cannot transport your body from out-of-state due to legal restrictions involving transporting a body from one state to an other.. If you reside part of the year in another state, you might consider registering with a Medical School in that state as well.
May a post mortem exam (autopsy) be performed before my body is donated?

We regret we cannot accept your body if a post mortem exam is performed.

Do certain diseases prevent my donation?
State laws prevent us from accepting bodies of people who have died of certain contagious disease. Our mortician makes final determination at the time when the donor has passed away. We regret that we must present this detail. We do this because we know that it can be a disappointment to everyone concerned and trust that, if it does happen, the family members and friends of the deceased will understand. Click here for a more detail list of circumstances that might prevent donation.
What are the criteria for body donation?

The criteria for body donation are as follows:

  • No history of contagious illness.
  • Death must occur within the State of Connecticut.
  • A post mortem exam (autopsy) may not be performed.
  • Donor must maintain normal weight. Overweight and obese persons are not acceptable.
  • Persons with metastatic disease due to cancer are not acceptable.
  • Bodies that have been mutilated due to accidents are not acceptable.
  • Amputees are not acceptable.
  • Alzheimer Disease is not acceptable.
  • Major surgery recent, or as a result of major resections or major organs surgically removed not acceptable.
  • Unreasonable lapse of time between death and discovery of body is not acceptable.
  • Fetal positioning and/or severe contortions are not acceptable.
  • Edema, ascites may not be acceptable. (Case by case review)
  • Certain other illnesses such as but not exclusive to jaundice and sepsis are not acceptable.
  • The death certificate must be signed by the physician/APRN including a cause of death. Donor bodies will not be transported without this. Nurse pronouncement is not sufficient in this case.

Please note that body donations are accepted only when all criteria are met.

Upon the death of the potential donor please contact our office by calling 203-785-2813.

If the deceased meets the criteria and is accepted as a donor, Section of Anatomy will arrange to transport the deceased to the medical school.

What will happen to my body following its use?

You have two choices. We encourage you to discuss your choice with your loved ones:

  • You may choose to have Yale cremate and bury your remains at no cost to your estate. The final disposition of the remains is usually done by joint cremation following the completion of our study. The ashes are buried at our site in Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven, CT.
  • You may choose to have the cremated remains returned to your family.
Is it possible to make donations in the memory of the Donor?

We would be honored to receive such a gift. We are grateful for your interest in medical education.

Donations may be made to:

Yale University School of Medicine
Department of Surgery
Section of Anatomy and Experimental Surgery
300 Cedar Street, P.O. Box 208062, New Haven, CT 06520-8062

For more information, please call 203 785-2814.