Anatomical donations are essential to medical education and research. Anatomy courses rely on anatomical donations to give students first-hand knowledge of the anatomical structures of the human body. These courses are among the first, and most important, in the education of physicians, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, and other health professionals.

Anatomical donations are also essential to advanced anatomy studies and research. Physicians in residency programs, practicing physicians, biomedical scientists, and others depend on anatomical donations to support new advancements in medical science.

Anatomical Gifts and the Law

The State of Kentucky first enacted legislation governing anatomical donations in 1942, and most recently developed the Kentucky Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in 2010. These statutes reside within Chapter 311 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. The most recent revisions help ensure that the wishes of the donor continue to be protected. The Willed Body Program is governed by these statutes.

Donors and their families may find comfort in the knowledge that dignity and respect for those who have donated their bodies are maintained at all times. The indispensable contribution that participants in the Willed Body Program have made is fully recognized. The laboratory is restricted and is only authorized for use by students, faculty, staff, and professionals of medical, dental, health sciences, and related professions.

Disposition of Ashes

Following the study, your remains will be cremated. The included form, “Authorization for Cremation,” contains the selection for the disposition of your ashes. These are: burial at the University of Kentucky Memorial Burial Grounds at Lexington Cemetery, shipment of ashes to a specific directed recipient, or to be picked up in person from Kentucky Mortuary Services in Lexington, Ky.

Interfaith Memorial Service

Each year an Interfaith Memorial Service will be held by the Willed Body Program. Each service will memorialize multiple donors who have decided to donate their body to the program. Faculty, staff, and students attend and participate in this service to publicly express their appreciation for the donors who have been studied. The closest next of kin will be invited to attend this service if they choose to be notified. The Interfaith Memorial Service will not include graveside services.

Financial Responsibility

There is no cost to the donor’s estate if the decedent is successfully accepted into the program with the possible exception of charges for transporting the body from the place of death outside of Fayette County to Kentucky Mortuary Services. These possible costs are through our contracted mortuary service, Kentucky Mortuary Services, and should be discussed with them at the time of notification of death. A physical assessment will be conducted prior to transportation. If the decedent is unable to be accepted into the Willed Body Program, the decedent will become the responsibility of the family or estate.