FAQs About Body Donation

What does MedCure do?

We serve as the bridge between a donor and the medical researchers and educators that rely on donors to help discover cures for diseases and develop new and effective treatments and therapies. We do this by acquiring, recovering, processing, storing and distributing organs and tissues to approved medical researchers and educators.

Am I eligible for body donation?

Most people who want to donate can! There is no upper age limit and most disease processes are acceptable. The most common reasons for decline are a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C, history of intravenous (IV) drug use, incarceration or institutionalization and being severely over or under weight at the time of death. MedCure accepts donations from all states within the continental United States except New Jersey and Minnesota.

Terms and Conditions for MedCure Whole Body Donation

Do you offer guaranteed body donation acceptance?

MedCure does offer a guaranteed body donation acceptance screening for persons receiving hospice care.

What type of research will my body donation contribute to?

We will review your medical history at the time of death to determine which research and/or education your body donation will contribute to and match it to the researcher and/or educator best suited to your donation. We do not know in advance what research/education will be undertaken – it is based on needs at that time. Your family can request a letter explaining the research/education your body donation supported. All donations contribute to medical advancements in important and unique ways.

Can I request which research study I would like my body donation to benefit?

If you would like your donation to support a specific medical research study or university, we recommend you contact that organization and register with their program directly. We cannot guarantee that it will be possible to match your donation to a specific institution or research study at the time of your death – it is based on the researchers’ needs at that time. You can be assured your donation will benefit important medical research and/or education through MedCure’s program. Your family may request a letter from us to learn how your donation supported medical science.

How do I register to donate my body to science?

You may pre-register by completing three forms: a Body Donation Consent form, a Cremation Authorization form and a Death Certificate Vitals Worksheet. You can download the forms from our website or request they be mailed to you or by calling 1-866-560-2525.

Once your forms have been received by MedCure, we will issue you a Donor Card to carry with you. When you decide to donate your body, it is important to inform all of your family of your decision. It is your family who will be responsible for contacting MedCure at the time of your death.

Who is responsible for providing transportation to MedCure?

Upon notification of your death and donor acceptance, MedCure will be responsible for providing or arranging your transportation and care at no expense to your family.

How long before cremated remains and death certificates are sent to my family?

Cremated remains are sent to your family in approximately six to twelve weeks from the time of passing. A certified death certificate is usually received within four weeks depending on the state or county that processes it.

I am already a donor on my driver license. Why do I need to complete a separate registration with you?

Transplant donation and whole body donation are separate programs requiring separate consent. The symbol on your driver license indicates your intent to be a transplant donor. With whole body donation, your organs and tissue will never be transplanted into another person, but rather benefit medical science through research and education.

If you register for both transplant donation and whole body donation, priority will be given to transplant donation because of the opportunity to save a life.

If I am a transplant donor, can I also donate my body to science?

This is possible in only a few cases. After death has occurred, if tissues or organs can be used for transplant and you wish to also donate to medical science and education, MedCure may be able to arrange this. Unfortunately, this cannot be determined in advance because it is how or what you die of that will determine what type of donation your body can contribute to. You can be a registered transplant donor and register to donate your body to science. The highest priority will be given to transplant donation because of the ability to immediately save or enhance a persons life.

Is there really no cost to body donation?

Yes. Once a candidate for donation is accepted at the time of passing, there is no cost for body donation. MedCure covers all expenses related to the donation process. This includes transportation arrangements, cremation, a copy of the death certificate and the return of cremated remains to your family in approximately six to twelve weeks or a scattering at sea.

Will body donation interfere with funeral arrangements?

With whole body donation, open casket viewing is not possible. However, a memorial service with cremated remains is very common with our donor families.

Will MedCure help me with an obituary?

For help publishing an obituary, please contact your local newspaper and ask for their Obituary Department. They will guide you as to the submission process and any legal requirements specific to your state. MedCure is not licensed to assist persons with writing or publishing an obituary.

Should you choose to mention MedCure in an obituary, please do not represent MedCure as a licensed funeral establishment with phrases such as, “Arrangements by MedCure” or, “Cremation provided by MedCure.”  An appropriate reference would be, “Whole body donation made through MedCure.”

How is MedCure funded?

We operate on a cost recovery system. MedCure receives compensation from the researchers and educators that rely on donations to further their study for the costs incurred in donor recovery, transportation, testing, processing, matching donors with medical researcher/educator needs, cremation and the return of cremated remains to family.

How do I contact MedCure?

Toll-free 1.866.560.2525. Our email address is info [at] medcure [dot] org.

Instructions for arranging body donation to science for persons receiving hospice care

If you are receiving hospice care and would like to donate, we encourage you to contact us at 1-866-560-2525 for pre-screening.

This will allow us to make sure we have all consent forms completed properly and in our possession, obtain information about your medical history, identify any potential obstacles in advance, and decrease the questions and information your family has to provide at the time of death.