Frequently Asked Questions

  • You may have many questions about the Gift Body Program and the process for making an anatomical gift. Below are some of our most commonly asked questions. As always, if you have additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office by calling 816-654-7533 or toll-free 800-234-4847. You may also email your questions to giftbody@kcumb.edu.


    How does a donor register to make an anatomical gift?

    Visit our instructions for body donation to learn more or contact the Department of Anatomy at KCUMB by calling 816-654-7533 or 800-234-4847 (toll-free) or emailing giftbody@kcumb.edu.

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    When do arrangements for body donations need to be made?
    The paperwork is typically completed prior to death. The paperwork can also be completed by immediate next of kin at the time of death, using the Next of Kin Authorization Form. In either case, the donor must meet certain criteria for medical study.

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    How does an anatomical gift help the medical students at KCUMB?

    KCUMB has a need for anatomical donations in order to carry out educational studies. This program, established in the early 1960s, has advanced the osteopathic medical education of thousands of students. The program allows future physicians to learn about the inner workings of the human body in an up-close, personally meaningful way that otherwise would not be possible. Learn more about the history and philosophy of our Gift Body Program.

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    What if the donor is unable to fill out the Certificate of Bequeathal?
    If the donor is unable to fill out the Certificate of Bequeathal then a separate Next of Kin Authorization Form must be completed instead. If completing a downloaded form, the legal representative should retain a copy of the form, and mail the original form to:

    KCUMB Department of Anatomy
    1750 Independence Avenue
    Kansas City, MO 64106-1453

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    What are the instructions for donating a registered body at the time of death?
    In the event that a death of a registered donor occurs, call 800-234-4847, ext. 7533. If an Anatomy Department representative is not available, a voicemail message will give instructions on the proper procedure. Arrangements will be made for a funeral director to prepare the death certificate and transport the body to the University.

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    Does making an anatomical donation conflict with religious views?
    Most religions do not object to an anatomical donation. Please Note: Following the completion of medical study, cremation is required. If you are in doubt about donating or cremation, you should consult a religious counselor of your faith.

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    What expenses are involved?
    The University pays for transportation of the gift body to the campus facility from locations within the Greater Kansas City area. The family or the deceased’s estate is responsible for transportation expenses outside a 100-mile radius. KCUMB does not pay for bodies or body parts.

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    What happens to the body when medical study is complete?
    Upon completion of educational studies, the body is cremated and the ashes may be returned to the family if desired. Cremated remains may be returned via registered mail to a cemetery, funeral home or family member. The donor has the option of having the cremains interred at the University-owned gravesite at Park Lawn Cemetery, located in Kansas City, Mo. Donor or family member wishes should be made using the Disposition of Ashes Form and mailed to:

    KCUMB Department of Anatomy
    1750 Independence Avenue
    Kansas City, MO 64106-1453

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    How long will the body be at KCUMB for medical study?
    The amount of time the body remains at KCUMB is dependent upon the time of year the donation is received. Typically, the body will be at the University for 12 to 18 months, with a maximum of two years.

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    Can a donor change his or her mind, and choose not to donate after registering?
    Yes, at any time. Donors registered with this program may rescind their donation by notifying KCUMB’s Department of Anatomy in writing. In the event that the family wishes to end the donation commitment early, our program policy requires that the body will be cremated before being returned to the family.

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    Should the body be embalmed?
    Donated bodies must be unembalmed. We work directly with a funeral home that performs the embalming process.

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    Is it possible to donate organs?
    While donation of the corneas is acceptable, donation of other organs would disqualify an individual from donating to the Gift Body Program. The organs are essential for medical school study, instruction and research.

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    Can an autopsy be performed?
    Medical study requires that the body be intact at the time of donation. Due to the invasiveness of the autopsy procedure, the donation would not be able to be fully utilized for medical study.

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     If a donor has undergone surgery, can an anatomical donation be made?
    Yes. We accept individuals who have undergone surgical procedures and these findings provide significant learning opportunities for the students.

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    Is there any reason that a body wouldn’t be accepted to the Gift Body Program?
    Extensive trauma to the body may preclude the University from accepting the donation. The donation will not be accepted if the donor is infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Staph, VRE and Syphilis. The University may not accept a donor who is obese due to equipment limitations. Please contact the Anatomy Department for more information regarding this topic at 816-654-7533 or 800-234-4847 (toll-free) or by emailing giftbody@kcumb.edu.

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    Is there an age limit for making a body donation?
    The donor must be over the age of 18.

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    Will it be possible to receive a report of medical findings, cause of death or details about the specific studies?
    Anatomic observations are recorded in the donor’s file and available upon request, but a cause of death cannot be determined by the Anatomy Department. Participation in particular medical studies is not released to the donor’s families.

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    How does KCUMB honor those who have made an anatomical donation?
    The students and faculty at KCUMB are grateful for gift bodies and always treat the donors with the utmost respect. KCUMB hosts a memorial service annually on campus to remember those who have made this important gift to benefit future generations. The donor’s family will receive notification of the date and time of the ceremony, should they wish to attend.

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    Will I be notified once my paperwork is complete?
    Yes. Once the paperwork is complete, a letter will be sent from KCUMB along with your donation card.

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    What happens if the donor relocates to another city or state?
    If the donor moves within the 100-mile radius of KCUMB, please notify the Gift Body Program of the change in your address. If, however, the donor moves outside of the 100-mile radius from KCUMB, the individual’s family or estate is responsible for transportation cost. If the donor moves outside of the Kansas or Missouri region, it is suggested that the donor find a university or gift body program near their new location.

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    Should donation wishes be included in a will?
    Including donation wishes in a will is not required, but certainly legally reinforces the donor’s wishes to the heirs of his or her estate. The paperwork completed by the donor is a legal document that states the donor’s wishes to participate in the Gift Body Program.

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    Who do I contact if I have further questions?
    Please contact KCUMB’s Anatomy Department at 816-654-7533 or 800-234-4847 (toll-free) or by emailing giftbody@kcumb.edu.

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