Conditions may exist which would render the donor unsuitable for study or would risk safety to students and faculty. Morbid obesity, organ donation (with the exception of eyes), severe trauma, communicable diseases or decomposition are the main reasons why we would not accept a donation. Therefore determination of acceptance into the program can only be made at the time of death. If there are questions or concerns with any of the above mentioned conditions please call and ask. We are more than happy to clarify or explain the reasonings behind this thought process.
Any individual may donate their organs, and it is strongly encouraged. You will no longer be eligible for whole body donation with us, but the gift you are giving far outweighs our needs. The chances of one being able to donate vital organs to the living are far fewer than being able to donate to our program. Eye donation is the exception to vital organ donation at time of death. Previous living donations (for example a kidney or bone marrow donation) may be made and still keep the donor eligible for whole body donation.
If I have not signed my bequeathal form, can my family still donate my body to the University of South Dakota?
A donation made by the next of kin after death has occurred will be accepted only if space allows and at the discretion of the Body Donation Program.
Yes. A donor or their next of kin may choose to revoke a donation at any time by contacting the Body Donation Program.
If a donation is declined, it is the family's obligation to make final arrangements.
The Sanford School of Medicine does not accept donors under the age of 18. We only ask the age on our forms and birth date to ensure we are following applicable laws. We are happy to take donors of any age over 18. We have accepted donors at the age of 102.
No. The mission of our Body Donation Program is to support anatomical education.
The Uniform Anatomical Gift Law prohibits medical schools from purchasing human bodies.
At the time of death the family should call their funeral director and advise them to contact a representative of the University of South Dakota Body Donation Program for instructions regarding proper preparation of the body. If this is not done, there is a chance we will be unable to accept the potential donor as preservation becomes an issue.
Yes. Each body must be initially embalmed at a licensed funeral home prior to arrival at the university. The funeral home is asked to contact USD for appropriate instructions. All expenses incurred at the funeral home are the responsibility of the donor's estate.
No. A licensed funeral home, a licensed funeral facility, or the South Dakota Body Donation Program personnel must transport all bodies.
Yes. The donor's estate is responsible for the cost of transport outside of South Dakota or 100 miles from the Vermillion campus to the medical school.
Yes. A visitation and a traditional service may be held prior to the transfer of the body to the Sanford School of Medicine.
Yes. Each year the University of South Dakota students honor donors with a memorial service to recognize those who have generously donated to medical education. Faculty, staff and students attend and participate in this service to publicly express their appreciation to the donor families. Family members will be notified of the date and time of this service.
Studies typically last for two and a half years. Some studies last more or less time. We will notify your family when the study is complete regardless of time frame.