FAQ

Will my body automatically be accepted into the willed body program once i sign and return the donor form?

No, the decision to accept or reject the donation is always made at the time of death. Therefore, it would be advisable to have an alternative plan in the event we are unable to accept the donation.

Does the university or any other medical school pay a fee for a donated body?

The Uniform Anatomical Gift Law makes no provision for buying donated bodies. In most cases, the University does pay all expenses for transportation, cremation, and burial of the body donation within the following counties: Bay, Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, St. Clair, Tuscola, Wayne and Washtenaw.

At the time of death, under what conditions would the wayne state university school of medicine body bequest program refuse a body donation?

At the time of death, the following conditions in which a body donation would be denied are as follows:

  • Recent major surgery (within the last 6 months prior to death)
  • Height & Weight not proportionate (18-30 BMI)
  • Badly burned (such as in a fire) or decomposed (such as drowning)
  • Contagious disease ( COVID-19, HIV, TB, VRE, HEP B/C/D, MRSA, C-DIFF)
  • An autopsied body, Amputations of Limbs or part thereof, Fetal or contracted position
  • Bed Sores Stage 3-4
  • Parkinson's, Lewy Body Dementia

Are autopsies performed at the university?

No, autopsies are usually performed in a hospital or medical examiner's office.  The University does not provide pathology reports.

Is age a consideration for body donation?

No; as long as the donor is of legal age.

Can you donate organs and a body simultaneously?

No. The removal of any major organ, at the time of death, with exception of the corneas, deems a body unsuitable for medical teaching and/or research

What percentage of the bodies are used for research, and what type of research is being done at the university?

98% of bodies are used for medical and/or dental teaching.  2% are used for research. At the present time, continual research is in operation on, but not limited to – Orthopedic, Stroke, and Bioengineering studies, including safety testing.

What about research on cancer?

Cancer research is not performed on the bodies received at the University. Research studies on cancer are usually performed in a major hospital or cancer institute.

Does the willed body bequest program ever refuse donatons because they have an adequate supply of bodies?

Not usually. The Body Bequest program has a consistent need for bodies in order to maintain its teaching program. There is a possibility that a donation may be refused if our supply exceeds our needs, but this is not common.

What is the procedure in the event that an individual should expire at a private residence?

In the event the death occurs at home, the person finding the body should first notify their local police department and then notify the Body Bequest Office.

What if i should move or die outside southeast michigan or in another state?  Will the university still accept my body?

If a person moves, lives, or dies outside Southeastern Michigan or in another state, arrangements should be made with the nearest medical school. Should the family still want the body sent of Wayne State University, they would have to assume the transportation costs. 

Can the family have a funeral service before the university receives the body?

Yes,  however, the family and funeral director should notify the Body Bequest Office before final funeral preparations are made. At that time, instructions will be given to the funeral director as to how to prepare the body for teaching purposes.

How long is a body used for teaching and what is the final disposition of the body?

The medical profession is a long and slow learning process. The bodies utilized in the medical curriculum will entail a period of one week to two years. When the various studies have been completed, the remains are cremated.

Can the family claim the ashes for private burial?

If the family wishes to have the remains returned for private burial, the university will honor those wishes. The expense of this burial must be assumed by the family.

How are the ashes buried and where is the university burial plot?

Ashes are buried together in a shared grave. The next of kin is notified by mail when the memorial service and burial service will take place and is invited to attend both services. The university burial plot is located at:

Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens
43300 Twelve Mile Road
Novi, Michigan, 48377
248-349-2784

Are individual markers or flowers permitted at the university burial plot?

Individual flowers are permitted at the university burial plot. Individual markers are not permitted. As an alternative there are memorial walls at the grave site and the family can purchase a name plaque to be placed on the wall. This is done through the cemetery office.