Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Whole Body Donation?

Whole body donation is the donation of the human body after death, for the purposes of research or education. Donations play an integral part in advancing medical science through the study of the human body. It is a meaningful alternative to a traditional funeral or cremation, which may cost upwards of several thousand dollars, according to

What Are The Costs Associated With Donation?

Once an individual has registered with our program, we will cover all expenses related to the donation process. This includes death certificate processing, cremation, and the return of partial cremated remains to the next of kin. We do not cover any expenses unrelated to the donation. 

Where Will My Donation Go?

The anatomical gifts entrusted to us through your donation will be used wherever there is the greatest potential for discovery, and may be distributed to non-profit and for-profit institutions, in the United States and internationally.

In order to ensure the dignity and lasting impact of your gift, tissues and organs are only distributed to recognized and well-respected institutions that have undergone a strict verification and approval process with Aeternitas Life. 

How Do I Become A Donor?

Prospective donors will complete an authorization for donation form with Aeternitas Life. Additional consent will be given to authorize the cremation of the body after donation. A copy of your driver license or other ID will be necessary to complete the authorization. Once the proper documentation has been received by us, we will contact you to confirm your acceptance.

Have a conversation with your family. It is important to inform everyone in your family of your commitment to donate with Aeternitas Life. It is your family who will be responsible for contacting us at the time of death so your donation can proceed in a timely manner. If your wishes are unknown, your pledge may go unfulfilled. Donations that are delayed will also negatively impact the efficacy and quantity of the gifts that can be used for research or education. 

What Is The Criteria To Become A Donor?

Aeternitas Life can accept registrations from residents of Oregon, Washington and parts of Idaho. Individuals who register with Aeternitas Life but pass away outside of those states cannot be accepted. In order to protect the safety of medical personnel, individuals with HIV, hepatitis B or C, tuberculosis, prion disease, hepatic disease, or antibiotic-resistance viral or bacterial infection cannot be accepted. Individuals with extensive surgeries or amputations may not be accepted. Furthermore, any individual who registers with Aeternitas Life but contracts an infectious, contagious, communicable or dangerous disease(s) before passing away cannot be accepted. In most cases, donations can be accepted up to a week after an individual has passed away.

Aeternitas Life guarantees acceptance for preregistered individuals that have a proportionate height-weight ratio (BMI) and meet the criteria listed in the Terms and Conditions for Anatomical Donation and Cremation. We cannot guarantee acceptance for individuals who have not preregistered with our program. 

Is My Use Of The Death With Dignity Act A Rule-Out?

No, unlike some whole body donation programs, we will never unfairly reject your pledge to donate on the basis of your participation in an assisted dying program. 

Is The Body Cremated And Returned To The Family?

Yes, any tissues and organs that could not be used for donation will be cremated by an independent, licensed crematorium selected by Aeternitas Life. The next of kin may request the return of partial cremated remains, or choose to have 100% of the body contribute toward donation (no remains will be returned). Partial cremated remains are typically returned to an authorized recipient within six to eight weeks, but may take as long as six to twelve months depending on the use of the donation. The cremated remains that are returned will not include the remains of the tissues or organs that were recovered for research or education during the donation. 

When Will I Receive Certified Copies Of The Death Certificate?

Death certificates are issued by the vital records office in the county or state where the death occurred. This information can be found by searching the CDC Division of Vital Statistics. You can expect certified copies of the death certificate to arrive in approximately four to six weeks. 

I Am Already A Donor On My Driver License; Do I Still Need To Register?

Yes, by registering with Aeternitas Life as a whole body donor, your tissues and organs will be used exclusively for research and education purposes. The designation on your driver license indicates that you have authorized the donation of your tissues and organs for transplantation. Unlike some whole body donation programs, we are able to accept tissue and organ donors on a case by case basis. Please contact us at the time of death so we may coordinate the donation with the appropriate organizations. 

Can My Donation Benefit A Specific Research Study?

We cannot guarantee that your donation will benefit specific research or education. The anatomical gifts received from whole body donors are used wherever there is the greatest need. Please be assured that we work to ensure every donation contributes to discoveries that will advance medical science for the benefit of all human beings. 

Does Whole Body Donation Interfere With Funeral Arrangements?

A traditional funeral or open casket viewing is typically not possible with donation. However, every donation is different and we are able to accept donation after a funeral ceremony if certain criteria are met. Commonly, donor families will arrange for a memorial or scattering service with partial cremated remains once the donation has been completed. 

Who Provides Transportation And Cremation For Aeternitas Life?

Aeternitas Life will arrange for transportation, cremation and death certificate processing through an independent, licensed first call provider based in the Portland Metropolitan Area. Aeternitas Life is not licensed as a funeral service organization and does not provide any funeral services.

Can I Change My Mind After I Register for Anatomical Donation?

Yes, donors who change their mind may rescind their consent for donation by completing a revocation of anatomical gift form. Per ORS 97.967(3), a revocation is effective only if it is made before the tissue and organ recovery is started. Aeternitas Life is not liable for any loss or damage resulting from a revocation made after tissue and organ recovery or from a donation made without proper legal authority on behalf of a decedent. 

What Do I Do At The Time of Death?

Inform the appropriate legal and medical parties that a natural death has occurred. This may include emergency response, hospice provider, next of kin, and the person’s doctor. Contact us at 1-844-330-7040. We will make all arrangements for transportation from the place of death to our facility in the Portland Metropolitan Area. 

Who May I Contact For More Information?

For your convenience, a representative is available to respond to any questions you may have regarding the donation process. Please call 1-844-330-7040, or e-mail us anytime on our Contact page. A representative will respond to electronic inquiries within twenty-four hours.