About Us
Why Donate?
Make The Decision
Share the Choice
Donation Process
Disposition & Interment
WWW Links
Funeral Directors

Information for Funeral Directors

Building Partnerships

The Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois (AGA) is working to build strong partnerships with funeral directors throughout Illinois. By working together, funeral directors and the AGA can preserve dignity and discretion for every family when making final arrangements for loved ones.

Whole body donation through the AGA offers financial benefits to donor families by limiting funeral and burial expenses and may be beneficial for those who have strained financial resources. The AGA assumes the expense for cremation, and if desired, the respectfully return of cremains.

For remarks on whole body donation by one of the Chicago area’s most prominent funeral directors, see Mr. Spencer Leake, Jr. in the Conversations section of the AGA Web site. We appreciate your cooperation and assistance in facilitating donations to medical science through the AGA.

Donation Procedure

Please review this information before transferring a body for donation to the AGA

The AGA requests that, when possible, donors’ unembalmed remains be transported to the AGA within 72 hours after death to ensure the condition of the donor is acceptable. If your funeral home does not have refrigeration, please contact the AGA as soon as possible to transfer the donor and decrease the likelihood of decomposition. If a family is interested in holding a service for their loved one, please contact the AGA to discuss the logistics and embalming procedures. Do not embalm the body without first contacting the AGA.

If you need assistance after business hours (Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) please email info@agaillinois.org and staff will respond as soon as possible or leave a message at 312-733-5283.

Transfer during business hours (Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM):

  • All jewelry and person items should be removed and returned to the family. The AGA is not responsible for returning any items left with the donor.

  • Upon arrival, ring the bell by the Funeral Directors entrance. An AGA staff member will let you in to the facility. DO NOT use the door code to enter the facility during business hours.

  • An AGA Funeral Director will inspect the body and accompanying paperwork to determine the donor’s eligibility for the program.

    • You MUST bring a document identifying the donor. If you are unable to acquire all of the required documents at the time of transfer, we request that either the Donor Enrollment form or Authority to Cremate form and the cause of death are present.

Transfer after hours:

  • If you are unable to transfer a donor during business hours, the AGA can provide you with a pass code to our facility after-hours. Please call during business hours (312-733-5283) to verify the pass code and inform us of the name of the donor and approximately what time you will be arriving.

    • If the death occurs over the weekend and you do not have the door pass code, please email info@agaillinois.org.

  • When you arrive at the AGA:

    • You MUST bring a document identifying the Donor. If you are unable to acquire all the required documents at the time of transfer, we request that either the Donor Enrollment form or Authority to Cremate form and the cause of death are present.

    • Place paperwork in plastic sleeve on the table with the body, and place the table in the cooler.

    • Make sure the door to the cooler is completely closed and turn off interior cooler light.

    • Turn off light on your way out and make sure the exterior door closes securely behind you.

    • The AGA will notify you the next business day if the donation cannot be accepted.

Required Documents

The AGA requests that, when possible, donors be transported to the AGA within 72 hours after death to ensure the condition of the donor is acceptable. Upon transfer of the body, the funeral home MUST provide a copy of the Donor Enrollment form or the Authority to Cremate form. If possible, the cause of death should be present upon arrival; an IVRS worksheet or unsigned death certificate will be accepted. If any documents are not present at the time of arrival, paperwork should be sent by fax or mail to the AGA as soon as it is acquired. If the decedent has appointed a Power of Attorney, please provide this paperwork as well.

The funeral home is responsible for preparing the following documents:

Copy of the Death Certificate

  • The disposition of the Death Certificate should read as follows:

    • Box 17: Donation

    • Box 18: Anatomical Gift Association or AGA

    • Box 19: Chicago, IL

    • Box 20: Date of Transportation to our facility

Burial or Transit Permit

  • This permit is obtained from the Department of Public Health or Local Registrar's office in the district where the death occured. It can also be printed from the IVRS.

Cremation Permit

  • This permit is obtained from the County Medical Examiner’s Office or the Coroner’s Office, depending on where the death had taken place. If the County Coroner’s Office cannot produce a cremation permit, please obtain a signed affidavit giving us permission to cremate.

Donor Enrollment Form

  • The AGA will accept donors who were not pre-registered. If the donor is not registered, you may have the family or executor complete the Donor Enrollment form on the behalf of the decedent. This will serve as a release authorization for the donation. A copy of this form is available on the AGA website (www.agaillinois.org) under the Donation Process tab.

Authority to Cremate Form

  • All donors are cremated according to state laws upon completion of their benefit to the medical school which may last two years or more. We will return the ashes via USPS Registered Mail to the Funeral Home or family if designated on the Authority to Cremate form. A copy of this form is available on the AGA website (www.agaillinois.org) under the Donation Process tab. If you do not use this form, you must use a comparable form indicating permission to cremate and a signed letter indicating the final disposition of the cremains.

Please note that donors may be sent out to a school immediately, therefore it is important that we receive all the required documentation as soon as it is available.

Qualifications for Acceptance

The AGA reserves the right to decline a donor on behalf of the medical school it represents if, in its opinion, it is not suitable for study. If you have any questions about a potential donor and their suitability for anatomic study, please contact the AGA before transferring them to our facility.

The following conditions will not be accepted:

  • Donors with the following infectious disease:
    • AIDS/HIV Positive
    • Tuberculosis
    • Hepatitis A, B, C or D
    • Meningitis
    • Herpes
    • MRSA, VRSA, or VRE
    • Clostridium Difficile
    • Klebsiella Pneumoniae Carbapenemases (KPC)
    • Jakob-Cruetzfeldt Disease (Mad Cow)
    • Shigella
    • Salmonella
    • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
    • Cryptospiridium
    • Isospora Belli
    • The AGA reserves the right to decline a body if it has a communicable medical condition at the time of death that is not listed above.
  • Donors that are severely decomposed
  • Donors who weigh over 300 lbs.
  • Donors who have had a recent abdominal surgery
  • Those who have donated organs other than their brain, kidneys, or eyes
  • Donor who are disfigured by fire or accident such as a car crash
  • Donors containing tissue gas
  • Donors with prolonged exposure to water or the elements

Case by case acceptance:

  • Autopsy and surgery cases: The AGA has a limited need for these types of donations.

  • Donors from which organs, tissues, or bones have been donated may be accepted. Please contact the AGA for further information.

The AGA will accept donors:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Who have donated their eyes, brain, and/or kidneys
  • Who have had amputations of a limb; however, we do not accept the amputated portions

Final Disposition of Remains

Medical schools may study the remains of a donor for an average of two to three years.  After the study is complete, the AGA and associates will respectfully cremate remains according to the laws and regulations of the State of Illinois.

The final disposition of cremains, upon completion of service, will be determined by the information provided on the Donor Enrollment form and/or Authority to Cremate form. Cremains will be returned if requested at no expense. The AGA will contact the person designated to receive the cremains before mailing them.

If the family does not request the cremains be returned, the AGA will assume responsibility for disposition and will inter the cremains at a local cemetery.




© 2013 Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois. All Rights Reserved.

1540 S. Ashland Ave., Suite 104
Chicago, IL 60608