Summer 2016


Dear Friend of AGR,

Welcome to our Summer 2016 newsletter. On behalf of our team, thank you for supporting the mission of our non-profit, whole body donation program. One of the more major aspects of our work includes  public education . In this issue, we provide information on how to discuss  end-of-life arrangements and planning  with family, friends, caretakers, and other healthcare providers. 

The first crucial step toward preventing and removing undue burden is opening a dialogue about your final wishes. The information found throughout this document is intended for general consideration and guidance purposes only, legal advice should be sought from a qualified attorney.

Warm Regards,

Kana R. Neibert
Assistant Director, Compliance & Operational Oversight

Who should have End-of-Life planning conversations & when?

Almost everyone. Sooner, rather than later.

The reality is that even today, for most cultures and communities, a discussion about death is still considered one of the least comfortable conversations to have. The vast majority of people don't want to think about it, let alone talk about it. Oftentimes this leaves loved ones responsible for final arrangement decisions and financial responsibilities during a time when the grief of loss is challenging enough. A national survey by  The Conversation Project found that  9 in 10 Americans want to discuss their loved ones' and their own end-of-life care, but approximately only  3 in 10 Americans have actually had  these types of conversations.

Planning for the conversation is helpful. Many people are surprised to learn that what they think their surviving loved ones want is very different from what they expect. Discussing disagreements during a time of calm rather than crisis typically leads to more effective resolution. For example, AGR routinely finds that many of the people who register with our program in advance and sign their own Willed Consent Form often choose Not To Return Ashes to their family members- the primary reason is an assumption their loved ones won't want their ashes back, when in reality around  90% of surviving donor family members do want ashes returned . Taking the thoughts of other loved ones into consideration and avoiding surprises at the time of passing is paramount to ensuring donor wishes are followed through. 

Anatomy Gifts Registry offers the flexibility for individuals to sign themselves up or donate someone else, provided their donation and cremation authorization is obtainable from an  authorizing agent or legal next-of-kin. I n addition, someone must act as the donor's medical historian. 

Breaking Body Donation Myths.

Facts not Fear or Fiction
Over the years we've encountered individuals who have done their fair share of research on whole body donation, yet somewhere in the process information can still be misunderstood regarding final arrangements. If you have talked to your family and friends about your decision to donate, we sincerely thank and applaud you! If you haven't found a way yet to talk about your decision to donate, we highly encourage you to do so to help  make sure your wishes are carried out. Here are some popular de-bunked myths about whole body donation:

1.  "The donor will be automatically taken away in the middle of the night!"  False. Once death has occurred and legal pronouncement by a qualified medical or law enforcement professional has occurred, AGR still needs to be called by someone handling the donor's final arrangements. The donor will not be transported until our staff speak with the donor's authorizing agent/legal next-of-kin and the appropriate information is gathered.  

2. "The donor can't donate to AGR and another life-saving program." False. AGR routinely shares donors with other programs to support life-saving efforts and honor the wish to donate in as many helpful ways as possible. In these cases, the other program will communicate with the donor family to determine suitability. AGR will then arrange to bring the donor into our care. 

3.  "I can choose without ashes for now and my family can always choose with ashes after I pass away."  False. The Willed Consent Form is a legal document that can only be modified by the Willed Donor themselves and cannot be changed after death, nor can it be changed if the Willed Donor no longer has the mental capacity to make decisions. Please discuss returning ashes with your family since many times they do indeed want ashes to be returned to them as a condition of moving ahead with donation.

4.  "My family or I will be paid in money or gifts for donating."  False. AGR covers all costs associated with the donation and cremation of the donor, however, it is illegal to provide financial incentives for donation. Donor families must pay a small fee to ship donor ashes and also cover the cost to purchase certified copies of the donor's death certificate.

5. "AGR makes money selling my organs and other tissues?" False.The selling of human specimens of any kind is illegal. AGR operates using a fee-for-service model which only charges operational fees to tissue recipients. 

6. "AGR should give my family certified copies of my death certificate!" AGR does not provide this service since it is an additional item of monetary worth and not connected with the actual donation itself. Each donor family has different circumstances for needing death certificates and different quantities. AGR will direct families to the appropriate agency to purchase death certificates. 

7. "AGR only works within the United States." False. AGR only accepts donors who pass away within the Continental United States and who additionally pass away within an area we can serve (please contact us for additional information regarding acceptance areas). However, AGR serves the medical community on a global scale. As a best practices model, medical knowledge is commonly shared among health communities worldwide. 

Where do I start? Where can I find more information? What are some reliable resources? 

Make a commitment to get organized!

Finding a place to start can feel really overwhelming and incredibly challenging. At Anatomy Gifts Registry our expertly trained and compassionate staff put donors and donor families first. We make it a strict priority to ensure everyone considering donation have all the facts to make an informed decision. We also work with other organizations and programs serving the community including hospitals, hospices, chaplains, home health care agencies, assisted living facilities, organ banks, medical examiner offices, funeral homes, and many others engaged in meeting the needs of those trying to make End-of-Life decisions. 

Call Anatomy Gifts Registry at 800-300-5433 to request information about Whole Body Donation. Please visit to find additional resources to help guide you and your family through your planning. 

If you, your family, or your organization are interested in touring Anatomy Gifts Registry, we can easily accommodate this request. AGR's Education & Outreach team are also available to come onsite to help  provide training for your staff about the option of whole body donation. To set up either, contact us at 800-300-5433 or

Anatomy Gifts Registry-A Program of Anatomic Gift Foundation, Inc.  

A 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization & founded in 1994. 

"Leave a lasting impression of mankind..."

800-300-5433 (toll free)
410-863-0491 (p)
410-863-0497 (f)