Instructions for Making an Anatomical Gift Donation

Printable version of these instructions.

After you have studied the information about our program please register your intent to become an anatomical donor after death by completing the Instrument of Anatomical Gift form, and have it witnessed.

Please distribute the completed form as follows:

  1. The original Instrument of Anatomical Gift (photocopy not acceptable) should be returned to:
    Anatomical Gift Program
    Harvard Medical School
    Tosteson Medical Education Center 384
    260 Longwood Avenue
    Boston, Massachusetts 02115

  2. One photocopy of the Instrument of Anatomical Gift should be made and retained for your personal records.

  3. One photocopy of the Instrument of Anatomical Gift should be made and retained by your next of kin or executor.

After Harvard Medical School receives your completed Instrument of Anatomical Gift, your name will be entered into the HMS registry of anatomical donors.  You will receive a letter of acknowledgement and two wallet-sized donor cards.  Your registration is not complete until you have been entered into Harvard’s registry.

Please Note: At death most registered donors are accepted.  However, acceptance of an anatomical gift is contingent upon a decision by Harvard Medical School at the time of the potential donor’s death.  Before acceptance, the School must qualify the remains as suitable for use in education, research and/or the advancement of medical or dental science or therapy. The qualification process includes, but is not limited to, careful review of potential donors who have died of infectious diseases, who are emaciated or obese, who have had amputations or recent surgery, whose final illness has destroyed or altered their anatomy significantly, or who have died under circumstances that require investigation by the police or medical authorities.  An autopsy or prior embalming of the donor will cause the remains to be unsuitable for donation. All donors are advised to make alternative arrangements in the event that your gift cannot be accepted. 

Please inform your next of kin that we will be glad to assist them at the time of your death.  If you or they have any questions regarding the enclosed forms, or the Anatomical Gift Program, please do not hesitate to call our office at 617-432-1735.  Some conditions and provisions of this Program may be altered over time to conform to changes in State or Federal laws or regulations, the policies of the Medical School, and standard practices of the mortuary science industry.