An anatomical gift refers to whole body donation. Through the Stanford Anatomical Gift Program, donors play an essential role in the training and education of Stanford medical students, residents, and surgeons. Anatomical donation allows students to train in clinical science, surgical techniques, and perform research that improves healthcare.
In order to register to be an Anatomical Gift Program donor, you must be at least 18 years old at the time of registration. A power of attorney may sign the registration documents on your behalf if you are unable to sign for yourself.
There are some conditions that disqualify a donor from being accepted to the Anatomical Gift Program:
Has a contagious blood-borne disease: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis
Weighs over 220 lb
Is outside a 150 mile radius from Stanford
Under a Coroner's Hold
We cannot guarantee in advance that your body will be accepted for donation. We recommend registrants inform family members of the donation procedures and have alternate arrangements planned in case anatomical donation is not a possibility.
Cancers, dementia, Parkinson's, transplants, artificial limbs, living organ transplantation, pacemaker are examples of medical conditions or histories that are acceptable for Anatomical Gift Program donors and will not exclude them from donation.
As of 2023, Covid-19 is no longer an exlusion criteria for Anatomical Gift Program donors.
The Anatomical Gift Program is capable of transporting donors from within a 150-mile radius of the Stanford campus. If a death occurs outside the 150-mile radius from Stanford, we are unable to accept the donation, and families will be responsible for coordinating an alternate arrangement.
Unfortunately, because of the timeliness of anatomical donation (within 12 hours of death), it is not possible for donors to be embalmed elsewhere or to be present at a funeral or viewing. We understand this can be a deeply personal choice for donors and their families. We strongly encourage potential donors to discuss with family members ahead of time.
Yes, the policy change of the previous Willed Body Program only affects donors who pass away after Jan 1, 2020.
*For families whose loved one passed prior to Jan 1, 2020: Your loved one is considered a "legacy donor." If you indicated at the time of death that you would like the remains returned, you will receive a phone call with more information when they are available to be picked up in Palo Alto.
If you would like to collect the remains of your loved one who donated to our program and they are considered a legacy donor, please contact us. We will help refile the death certificate and coordinate with the funeral home for your pickup of the remains. If you miss your appointment to pick-up the remains, it will be your responsibility to refile and coordinate with the funeral home to retrieve them. Due to liability issues, we are unable ship remains to individuals.
All donors accepted into the program after January 2020 will not have their cremated remains returned to their family, regardless of date of registration. The remains of our donors are scattered at sea in a private ceremony.