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Anatomical Gift

Academic Success

The Donation Process

Establishing Your Donation

You must be at least 18 years of age (no upper age limit) and of sound mind to establish a body donation to the Whole Body Anatomical Gift Program of the Zucker School of Medicine. Documentation required for initiating a donation includes:

These forms should be completed and you should make two additional copies; one for your records, and one that should be given to a family member, attorney, or close friend. The original signed documents should be mailed to the Whole Body Anatomical Gift Program at:

Whole Body Anatomical Gift Program Coordinator
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
500 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549

Please be assured that a donor to our program has the right to revoke their intent at any time. This right also applies to the next of kin or authorized representative after the Donor is deceased.

Upon receipt of your completed forms, the School of Medicine will send you a Whole Body Anatomical Gift Program Donor Card that you can keep in your wallet to identify you as a donor.

At the Time of Death

When death occurs, the party responsible for making the arrangements to donate the body (next of kin or other authorized person) should contact the Whole Body Anatomical Gift Program as soon as possible at (516) 463-7505. This is a 24-hour number. If the body is deemed acceptable for donation, arrangements will be made for immediate transfer by a funeral director associated with the Medical School.

We are only able to defray the costs of body transportation to the School of Medicine from the counties of Nassau, Suffolk and the five boroughs of New York City. If death occurs outside of our donation area and donation is still desired: 1) your family may have the un-embalmed body transported to the School of Medicine at their expense, or 2) the body may be donated to a medical school within the region in which death occurred.

We require the body to be intact for use in our program. Therefore, embalming, organ donation or autopsy would preclude acceptance of a whole body donation. However, we do encourage consideration of a corneal donation, as this will not interfere with use of the body for educational purposes. For information about eye donation, please contact the Lions Eye Bank for Long Island.

There are several additional reasons why a body may not be suitable for donation. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Prior autopsy or embalming
  • Certain infectious diseases (including, but not limited to AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease)
  • Extensive trauma at the time of death
  • Advanced decomposition
  • Extreme obesity

Although most anatomical donations are accepted, donors and their next of kin should plan alternative arrangements in the event that the donation must be declined.

Disposition of Remains

Anatomical studies generally take between one and three years, although some donations may be retained for longer periods of time. In some cases, donations may provide such a unique educational opportunity that a portion of the donation may be retained for archival purposes. We reserve the right to retain portions of a donation for this purpose.

Upon completion of anatomical studies, remains will be cremated at the expense of the School of Medicine at a licensed in-state crematory. In accordance with the donor's request, cremated remains (cremains) are either returned to the designated recipient or scattered at sea. 

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