What are the restrictions to donate my body to Ohio State College of Medicine?

While each pre-registered donor who completes the registration form is normally accepted, final acceptance isn’t determined until time of death. We encourage each donor to make alternative arrangements in case their donation is not accepted. Restrictions may include:

  • Extreme emaciation, obesity: Donor’s body mass index must be between 16 and 33 and donor must weigh more than 80 pounds and less than 215 pounds

  • Contagious disease (Aspergillosis, Creutzfelds-Jakob (the human variant of mad-cow disease), Ebola, HIV (AIDS), Hepatitis, Meningitis, SARS, Smallpox, Tuberculosis (TB), any hospital acquired disease including MRSA and Clostridium difficile, etc.)

  • Deformities, dislocations, and/or disfigurements

  • Severe trauma or open wounds (including certain recent surgeries)

  • Fluid buildup such as ascites, edema, or septicemia

  • Organs or parts removed at time of death, except eyes

  • Decomposition / decay

  • Embalming

  • Autopsy

  • Current education or research programs are not in need of donors

May I withdraw from being a body donor? 

Yes, at any time, if your desires change, a dated and signed letter to the division will withdraw your donation and you will be notified in writing that we have removed your name from the program.

Will I be too old for this program?

No, there are no age limits for donation.

Will my family receive a report after the studies are completed?

No report will be available for families. 

Will I be paid for this donation?

No, this is against current Ohio law.

What is my cost?

The Ohio State Body Donation Program will only be responsible for the costs contracted by the program including: transporting the donor’s remains to the Body Donation Program; death certificate preparation fees; and cremation of the remains all through Shaw-Davis Funeral Homes & Cremation Services. Additionally, cremains will either be returned as designated on the bequeathal forms or interred in the mausoleum at the Silent Home Cemetery (1576 Lancaster Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068) at no cost to the family. Any other desired supplemental services, including memorial service(s), obituary notices, burial of the cremains and/or placement in a private niche, and/or certified copies of the death certificate from the Office of Vital Statistics in the county of death (download contact information for Ohio counties) are at the expense of the donor’s family and/or the donor’s estate and should be arranged with a funeral services provider of the family’s choosing.

Will we get the ashes (cremains) back?

Yes, if you request them back before death. It may take up to 2 years for the studies to be completed and the cremains to be returned. For those families choosing not to have the cremains returned, the cremains will be placed, at the program’s expense, in a crypt in the mausoleum at the Silent Home Cemetery, 1576 Lancaster Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Families are welcome to visit any time the cemetery is open. Additionally, in The Spirit of Women Park (at 10th Ave and Med Center Drive) there is a plaque and tree dedicated in memory of those individuals who made a very personal and unselfish gift to the Anatomy Body Donation Program in support of education and research at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Friends and family are encouraged to explore the park, relax, reflect and remember their loved one.

Does the program accept out-of-state donations?

The Division of Anatomy does not accept out-of-state bequeathals. In the event that death occurs while traveling outside the state of Ohio, our office can provide the family with a listing of medical colleges within the state where death occurred.

May I donate my organs, too?

Removal of the organs at the time of death would make whole-body donation impractical. Eyes, however, may be donated and arrangements should be made with the eye bank at the same time as your application for body donation.