Humanity Gifts Body Donation

Musselman Funeral Home and Cremation Services hold the utmost respect for those who choose to donate their body to science and want to provide you with information to help you make an informed decision on donating your body.

It is important to know that not all bodies will be accepted at the time of death. There are certain conditions in which the donation may be turned down. This is to protect the safety of the medical students and to also ensure that a thorough study can be completed. A review of the donator’s medical history by the attending or family doctor is required.

If any of the following conditions apply, the body
will NOT be accepted:

Highly communicable diseases (AIDS, HIV Positive, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Staph Infection such as MRSA)
Shingles or Gangrene
Crushing injuries to body
Bed sores
Stitches or staples just days before death
Autopsied remains
Decomposition of the body
An embalmed body
Person over 190 lbs
Limbs not easily able to be straightened

Recent extensive surgery prior to death

Additional Information

There is no age limit in which body donations are based upon.

The Registry will pay $100 towards the expense of having your body transported from the place of death, by a licensed funeral director, to one of our medical teaching institutions. Your next of kin or estate will be responsible for the costs over this amount. The Registry also assumes the cost of cremation, burial of the ashes in our established cemeteries and Celebrations of Remembrance held by the Registry once a year.

Your family may obtain certified copies of the death certificate through the funeral director who has transported your remains to the medical school or directly through the Bureau of Vital Records in New Castle, Pennsylvania. One cannot legally obtain copies from a hospital or physician. Costs for death certificates and fees which a funeral director may charge for services in obtaining such copies are the responsibility of the next of kin or estate. The Registry has no jurisdiction in the matter.

Studies for medical education and research will take up to two years or longer to complete.

Upon a written request, the cremated remains can be returned to the legal next of kin upon completion of studies.

Celebrations of Remembrance are held each year in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Family members and friends are invited to help honor and commemorate the special individuals who have selflessly donated their bodies for the advancement of medical education and research. Names of the donors are included on a Memorial Card at the request of the family. Medical students and faculty members from all of our medical schools will be participating and attending the celebrations.

The medical schools cannot give out any reports concerning their anatomical studies. If the family has any questions regarding the cause of death, such matters should be directed to the deceased’s physician.

How to become a donor

CLICK HERE for the Donor Form: Must complete two forms, both witnessed by two persons aged 18 and older and signed by you. Keep one for your own records and return the other copy to:

Humanity Gifts Registry
P.O. Box 835
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0835

CLICK HERE for the Consent Form: Complete this form if you are the legal next of kin of someone who has already passed away and would like their body to be donated to science. Must be witnessed by two persons aged 18 and older and signed by you as the legal next of kin.

What to Do When a Death Occurs

Please advise the hospital, nursing home, hospice or coroner that the deceased is a body donor and that you are choosing Musselman Funeral Home and Cremation Services to handle those arrangements. They in turn, will contact us directly (717) 763-7440 and we will either bring the body into our care (if death occurs outside of Humanity Gift Registry hours of 8am to 3 pm or on the weekend) or arrange to transport it to the nearest medical school once the body is approved.

Funeral Home Involvement

As stated above, Humanity Gifts Registry requires the body to be transported by a licensed funeral director. With that being said, there are also additional things we, as the funeral home must assist you and Humanity Gifts with.

We must coordinate with the facility of death (hospital, nursing home, hospice house), the doctor needed to verify medical history and Humanity Gifts Registry for approval and further instructions. We check the body for any physical conditions that may disqualify them and transport the deceased either to the receiving medical facility or back to the funeral home in refrigeration (if after Humanity Gifts Registry hours) and then to the receiving medical facility. We will meet with the legal next of kin for an arrangement conference to go over all the information needed to complete the death certificate, complete consent forms (if deceased is not registered) and letter requesting return of cremains, draft and submit an obituary if family desires, obtain the signed death certificate from the doctor, prepare and file the death certificate and disposition permit, notify social security of the death and apply for any and all veteran benefits if applicable. 

More information

For more information, please visit the Humanity Gifts website: