Anatomical donations

That the dead may teach the living

We sincerely appreciate your interest in Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and in our research and educational programs. The anatomical gift program at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine was established to assist individuals in the southern portion of Illinois who desire to make the selfless gift of themselves or their loved ones as an anatomical donor. As an anatomical donor, you are educating future professionals by providing them with a basis of knowledge, skills and compassion that they will utilize throughout their careers in the healthcare profession. As a charter member of the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is one of a few programs in the state of Illinois approved to accept the donation of individuals for anatomical research.

The Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois is the legal agency representing medical institutions in the state of Illinois that are authorized to procure, prepare and preserve anatomical gifts. By becoming an anatomical donor, you are providing a great advantage to the education and training of future healthcare professionals who in turn have the potential to touch many lives throughout their careers. To develop a better understanding of the donation process, please review our Frequently Asked Questions, which address common questions and concerns regarding the donation process. If you would like to become a donor or if you are considering the donation of a loved one, please review the Anatomical Gift Form (PDF) and consult the directions which correspond with your need. While each situation is unique, the hope is that this information will provide you with a better understanding of the anatomical donation process.

Criteria for donations

  • There is no maximum age, but donations under the age of 21 are accepted only under special circumstances.
  • Maximum body size is 6' 0" tall and 20" elbow to elbow.
  • Maximum weight is 200 pounds.
  • Bodies that have been autopsied or used for organ donations (other than corneas) are not accepted
  • Individuals with any conditions that would put students at risk, including the following, are not acceptable donors:  AIDS/HIV, bacterial sepsis, Hepatitis B or C, Herpes II, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, meningitis, Paget's disease, staphylococcus (MRSA), tuberculosis.
  • Time between death and donation may be a factor.

Funeral directors who are assisting families with at-need donations and/or need information on what is necessary for a donation to occur, please reference the funeral director's instruction page for details and directions concerning the donations process.

For additional information, email our anatomy curator Amanda Davis or call her at 618-453-8438.

To inquire about the donation process for the northern portion of Illinois, please visit the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois website or call 312-733-5283.

Links to forms:

Frequently Asked Questions

Anatomical Gift Form (PDF)

Disposal of Cremated Remains (PDF)

Instructions for Funeral Directors (PDF)