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Body Donation

The Autopsy Service is responsible for processing all decedents and performing all requested autopsies. However, the Service does not accept body donations, nor do we send unclaimed patients to the body donation program.

Body donations may be made instead through Yale's Willed Body Donation Program, run by the Yale Department of Surgery, Section of Anatomy. To inquire about this Program and a body donation, please visit their website, contact Philip Lapre at, or call (203) 785-2813.

Please note that families must contact the Willed Body Donation Program to coordinate the release of the donated patient into the care of the program.

Applicable Excerpts from the Program's FAQs page:

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.

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.

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.