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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I donate my body to the AGA?
  2. What is the procedure upon the death of the donor?
  3. What about autopsies?
  4. Does disease, surgery or amputation make donation unacceptable?
  5. What is the final disposition following study?
  6. Can the cremains (ashes) be returned to the family?
  7. If a bequest is made and the donor later has a change of mind, can the gift be rescinded?
  8. Can minor children be registered with the association?
  9. Are remains used for exactly two years? When can I expect cremains to be returned?
  10. Is it possible to hold a funeral service if a body has been donated?
  11. Does the AGA preserve the anonymity of the deceased?
  12. If I donated organs, can my body still come to the AGA?
  13. What is the cost of donating my body?
  14. May I donate my remains to a specific institution?
  15. Can the arrangements to donate my body be made after I die?
  16. What if I die outside the state of Illinois?
  17. What were the findings from the study done with my family member’s remains? What was the outcome of the research on the body?

1. How do I donate my body to AGA?

1. Discuss your decision to donate with your family. (See Mr. Bill Figel in the “Conversations “section of the AGA Web site.) Informing your family members of your decision is an important part of the process so that they are able to fulfill your wishes at the time of your death and contact a licensed funeral director to transport your body to the AGA.

2. Complete a Donor Enrollment form and Authority to Cremate form, both of which can be printed from the AGA Web site.

3. If you do not have access to the Internet or to a printer, please feel free to contact the AGA by telephone at (312) 733-5283 and the forms will be mailed to you. The AGA staff can also address any questions you may have about whole body donation.

4. Fill out the forms and return them to the AGA. The association will acknowledge receipt of these forms by sending you a donor card in the mail.

The AGA suggests that you keep a copy of your donor enrollment forms for your records as well as giving a copy to the person responsible for your final arrangements.


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2. What is the procedure upon the death of the donor?

The next of kin or executor of the estate is to hire a licensed funeral director and arrange to have the unembalmed remains and associated documents forwarded to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, 1540 S. Ashland Ave., Ste. 104, Chicago, Ill., 60608.

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3. What about autopsies?

The Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois accepts autopsied remains on a limited basis. Please contact the association for further information.

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4. Does disease, surgery, or amputation make donation unacceptable?

Most remains can be accepted for medical studies except from those who expire with a communicable disease. While the AGA accepts bodies with amputations, it does not accept the amputated limbs or parts.

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5. What is the final disposition following study?

Medical schools may study the body for an average of 2 years.  After the study is complete, the school will have the remains cremated according to the laws and regulations of the State of Illinois.

 

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6. Can the cremains (ashes) be returned to the family?

Yes, provided advance arrangements are made. Cremains will be returned if requested without charge. The AGA will contact the person designated to receive the cremains before sending them.

If the family does not request the cremains be returned, the AGA will assume responsibility for disposition and will inter the ashes at a local cemetery.

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7. If a bequest is made and the donor later has a change of mind, can the gift be rescinded?

Yes. The donor can make a request in writing to rescind his or her bequeathal. The AGA will send the donor his or her original bequest form if it is requested.

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8. Can minor children be registered with the association?

No. Current courses of study do not include donors younger than age 18. No upper age limit exists.

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9. Are remains used for exactly two years? When can I expect cremains to be returned?

On average, institutions will use remains for two years. In some cases, donors may serve in educational programs for longer periods of time. We appreciate your patience and understanding. If ashes were requested to be returned  on the Authority to Cremate form, the AGA will contact the designated party when the ashes are ready for return.

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10. Is it possible to hold a funeral service if a body has been donated?

The feasibility of a funeral service is assessed case by case. If you would like to have a service, the Funeral Home must contact the AGA beforehand.

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11. Does the AGA preserve anonymity of the deceased?

The AGA makes every effort to protect the anonymity of the donor and to respect the privacy of the donor’s family. The association provides basic information to the medical schools on the donated body that would be relevant to the students’ experience of dissection: age and cause of death.

 

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12. If I donate organs can I still come to the AGA?

In most instances, corneas, brains and kidneys can be donated without interfering with whole body donation. Each case is determined individually. The next-of-kin or power or executor of the estate is responsible for coordinating transportation of the remains to the AGA following a donation of the organs listed above. If you would like information about donating corneas, brain, or kidneys, please visit the Media Contacts page to view organizations that accept donations of these organs.

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13. What is the cost of donating my body the AGA?

The AGA does not charge for its services. The only cost of donation is the expense of transporting the body from the place of death to the AGA as set by a funeral director. This cost is dependent on several factors as determined by the funeral director. In general the donor avoids the costs of a funeral by donating his or her body to the AGA. Cremains can be returned to the family or funeral home free of charge.

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14. May I donate my remains to a specific institution?

Yes. The AGA makes every effort to honor the requests of donors that their remains be directed to the specific institutions they designate.

Although the AGA makes every effort to accommodate the wishes of donors to have their remains sent to specific member institutions, the association does not inform the family where the body is while it is at a specific institution.

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15. Can the arrangements to donate my body be made after I die?

Yes. At the time of death, the next of kin or someone with power of attorney can make the donation.

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16. What if  I die outside the state of Illinois?

The donor’s family would have to pay the cost of transporting the remains to the AGA. These transportation costs can be significant, so donating in the city or state in which death occurs is an alternative. For a listing of whole body donation programs in other states, click here.

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17. What were the findings from the study done with my family member's remains? What was the outcome of the research on the body?

Although a small number of bodies are used for specific research projects, the majority of donations are used for anatomic and structural study. Bodies donated to the AGA are used by medical schools to demonstrate the structures of the human body. They are not used for specific research projects or experimental investigations. These studies do not yield scientific results or findings concerning cause of death.

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© 2013 Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois. All Rights Reserved.

1540 S. Ashland Ave., Suite 104
Chicago, IL 60608
312-733-5283
info@agaillinois.org