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:
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.