Make an Anatomical Donation
The Willed Body Program is accepting body donations of residents only within the state of Kentucky. There are two ways to donate. The first is to register for donation prior to death. The second method is to have a body donated after death as an unregistered body donation.
Register to Donate your Body
If you would like to pre-arrange for the donation of your body after death, we have created a donation package that includes the information and forms needed to get you registered. The donation package can be found here and in our resources section.
The original signed forms must be sent to the Willed Body Program. Please retain copies of the forms for your own records. On receipt of the completed forms, a confirmation letter and wallet card will be sent to you to help notify others of your intent to make an anatomical gift.
The completed Donor Authorization form is a legal document of gift that may be amended or revoked. The gift becomes effective immediately upon death but is subject to conditions at the time of death and acceptance by the Willed Body Program.
Notify Family Members and/or Representatives of Intention to Donate Your Body to the University of Kentucky
It is advisable to notify your family, healthcare providers, and legal representatives of your intent to make an anatomical donation so that it may be carried out at the time of your death. The reading of a will or the discovery of the gift form may come too late after death to accommodate your wishes.
There may be a need for you to revoke your donation request. Some reasons may include major surgeries, moving from the state, a change of mind, religious convictions, etc. In such circumstances, you will need to contact the Willed Body Program office directly to begin the revocation process.
Body Donation after Death of Unregistered Donor
If you do not register to donate your body before you die, it is possible to still have your body donated after your death. The closest next of kin or legal representative may donate a body to the Willed Body Program by completing the proper donation forms. The donation package can be found here and in our resources section. The closest next of kin or legal representative must contact the Willed Body Program directly as soon as possible after the death to notify us of the intent to donate. The donation forms must be received by the Willed Body Program prior to transporting the body to the Willed Body Program.
Information for All Donations
Acceptance into the Program
The donation becomes effective immediately upon death but is subject to conditions at the time of death and acceptance by the Willed Body Program.
If the Willed Body Program accepts the donation of an individual’s body, the family can expect the body to remain in the program for several years. Due to the nature of the study, the Willed Body Program is unable to return a body to the family at the end of the study. All donors of the program will be cremated immediately at the end of the study. The ashes will be dispersed and honored according to the original declaration on the Authorization for Cremation form completed within the original signed donation package.
If the Willed Body Program declines or refuses the donation of an individual, it is the obligation of the donor’s estate to make final arrangements. Individuals who are considering body donation may wish to make funeral pre-arrangements with their local funeral director in the event the Willed Body Program is not able to accept the body.
Death Occurring Outside of Kentucky
We recommend that a donor’s body be donated to a recipient in the state where death occurs. If the donor is already registered within the program and dies out-of-state, immediately contact Kentucky Mortuary Services to determine if the donation is still a possibility. Several factors may prohibit the delivery and acceptance of the body to the Willed Body Program. For this reason, if a death occurs outside of Kentucky, it is likely the Willed Body Program will not be able to accept the donor into the program due to a delay in the time to receive a donor such as transportation, legal issues, and coordination with a local funeral home at the place of death.
Procedures at the Time of Death
The University of Kentucky utilizes a contracted mortuary service for the acquisition, preparation, and delivery of the donor’s body to the Willed Body Program. At the time of death, the family, funeral home, or other representative of the donor should arrange promptly to contact the University’s contracted service provider for transportation:
Kentucky Mortuary Services
104 Dennis Drive
Lexington, KY 40503
If death occurs outside of Fayette County, there may be additional transportation charges that are the responsibility of the donor’s estate. Family or other representatives should call Kentucky Mortuary Services to coordinate delivery and to discuss any possible transportation charges.
Donation of a Decedent that Did Not Register Prior to Death
If a person passes without donating their body, the closest next of kin or legal representative may donate the decedent to the Willed Body Program by completing the proper donation forms. The closest next of kin or legal representative must contact the Willed Body Program directly as soon as possible to notify us of the intent to donate, and to receive the proper forms needed to facilitate and expedite the donation.
The original signed forms must be sent to the Willed Body Program. These forms must be received by the Willed Body Program prior to transporting the body to the Willed Body Program. Please retain copies of the forms for the decedent’s estate records.