Anatomical Gift Program

Rodney J. Guthrie, Director

Frequently Asked Questions

May I donate my organs as well as my body?

Organ donation generally rules out whole body donation. However, there are two exceptions:

  • First, whole eyes or corneas may be donated prior to donation of the whole body. Interested donors should contact local eye banks prior to death to arrange for eye donations.
  • The second exception involves brain donations. Certain brain disorders/diseases are of interest to research scientists, and if the donor makes arrangements in advance, we will recover the donor’s brain and send it to a certified research institution.
Will I receive money for my participation in the Anatomical Gift Program?

No. Ohio law reads that the remains of a person are not an object and therefore may not be the subject of a sale.

May I withdraw from the program at any time?

If for any reason you wish to withdraw from the program, you must send a signed/notarized letter to the Anatomical Gift Program notifying us of the change.

May my body be donated if I pass away outside of the state of Ohio?

No. If you pass away outside of the state of Ohio, your body will not be accepted into the Anatomical Gift Program at the time of your death.

May my body be donated following an autopsy?


What procedure should be followed if I pass away at home?

In the event of an at-home death, notify the coroner’s office in the county where the death occurred or the local police department. After the coroner or police officer has released the body, call the Boonshoft School of Medicine at (937) 775-2304. We will make appropriate arrangements to transport the body to the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

What procedure should be followed if I pass away in a hospital or other care facility?

Upon admission, always make the hospital or care facility aware that you are a donor to the Anatomical Gift Program at the Boonshoft School of Medicine. Should death occur while you are there, the personnel in the hospital or care facility will notify the appropriate authorities to have your body released. Personnel at the care facility should then notify the Anatomical Gift Program by calling (937) 775-2304. We will make appropriate arrangements for moving the donor from the facility to the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Who is responsible for filing the death certificate?

Anatomical Gift Program personnel will file the death certificate with the Department of Vital Statistics in the county where the death occurred. This occurs as quickly as the coroner or the attending physician returns the properly completed death certificate to us. On average, death certificates are filed with the county Department of Vital Statistics within two weeks. Anyone may obtain certified copies of the death certificate from the Department of Vital Statistics in the county where death took place. Our office can provide you with the locations and telephone numbers of Ohio Departments of Vital Statistics. By law, the Anatomical Gift Program is not permitted to provide certified copies of death certificates.

Who is responsible for writing and placing my obituary in the newspaper?

The survivors of the donor are responsible for writing and placing an obituary in the newspaper. The staff of the newspaper may be able to assist you in preparing the notice. Charges for the obituary are paid by the survivors.

How long will my body remain at Wright State?

Donors may remain at Wright State University for as little as a few weeks or as long as three years. Typically, donors are with us for two years. If there is something about a donor that is of special educational interest or research value, that donor may be retained for a longer period.

Where will my body be studied?

The remains of donors who come to the Boonshoft School of Medicine remain on the campus or are studied in one of our local hospitals. In addition, we do loan some of our donors to other institutions on a temporary basis, as many medical schools do not have their own donor programs. We require that all donors be returned to the Boonshoft School of Medicine for cremation.

Will anatomical/pathological findings be reported to family members?


What happens to my body following anatomical study?

After anatomical study, each donor is cremated individually by Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton. This service is independent of the Boonshoft School of Medicine and Wright State University. When the ashes are returned to the Anatomical Gift Program, we will contact the individual the donor has named on the “Anatomical Gift Consent and Release of Ashes” form. Please note that once the ashes have been picked up or mailed from Wright State University, they cannot be returned.

Is it possible for my cremated remains to be divided among several of my survivors?

Yes. Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum will divide the cremains upon request.

Is there a Memorial Program?

Each fall, a Memorial Program is held for family members and friends to recognize and honor the donors. Invitations for this memorial are mailed out in late summer. Any expense incurred for a private memorial or funeral service will not be the responsibility of the Boonshoft School of Medicine or the Anatomical Gift Program. Also, we are not financially responsible for the purchase of a personal urn or burial in a cemetery of your choice.

May my survivors visit Rockafield Cemetery at Wright State University?

Yes. The cemetery area on the campus is accessible to everyone at all times, except during our annual Memorial Program, when visitation is restricted to attending guests.

Burial sites are marked with bronze plaques bearing the year of burial. Gravesite decorations must be limited to floral arrangements, either real or silk, and are removed on a regular basis to accommodate cemetery maintenance.

How do I purchase a memorial brick?

Memorial bricks compose the walkway in Rockafield Cemetery and bear the donor’s name, year of birth and year of death. Purchase of a brick is optional and may be made regardless of whether a donor is buried in Rockafield Cemetery or not. Names of donors for whom bricks have been purchased are recorded in the display case in Rockafield Cemetery. For more information, please visit the Rockafield Cemetary web page or call (937) 775-3066. 

Can financial contributions be made to the Anatomical Gift Program to memorialize donors?

Financial contributions are gratefully accepted and highly valued. Unless specifically designated, such funds are used to support and expand the many services offered by the Anatomical Gift Program.

Donations may be made by mailing a check to us at the following address:

Anatomical Gift Program
Wright State University
Boonshoft School of Medicine
108 White Hall
3640 Col. Glenn Highway
Dayton, OH 45435-0001