Body donation is the donation of the whole body following death for medical research, teaching, and education. One may choose to pre-register with their state anatomical program, or if registration was not made by the donor prior to death, the legal next-of-kin can give his/her consent for the donation after death. The legal right for an individual to choose body donation is governed by the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which has been largely accepted by most states. Typically, the human remains are cremated following the completion of the medical studies, and the next-of-kin can usually request that the ashes be returned for final disposition.
When body donation is chosen, a visitation and/or memorial or celebration of life service can be planned. If the ashes are returned to the family following the medical studies and cremation, the final disposition may include in-ground burial, above-ground burial in a mausoleum or columbarium niche, scattering of the ashes, or inurnment.
To learn more about the Humanity Gifts Registry of Pennsylvania, feel free to contact one of our licensed funeral directors or visit the HGR website, www.hgrpa.org.