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"The option to donate for medical research was my mother's final wish." - Lisa

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is human tissue donated for medical education and research purposes?

There is no substitute for human tissue when studying the body. Physicians, doctors, medical educators, and researchers around the world rely on donated tissue to help further medical advancements and/or to complete their studies on the many debilitating diseases that continue to afflict mankind.

Are there any financial costs associated with whole body donation for medical education and research?

SWIBA reimburses the funeral home for a direct cremation (cremation, transportation, and filing of the death certificate). If a donor’s family chooses to have an urn, memorial service, ship out of ashes, etc., those additional selections can be arranged with the funeral home at the family’s expense.

If I’m a SWIBA donor, can I have a traditional funeral service?

All SWIBA whole body donors are cremated and therefore a traditional funeral with an open “viewing” casket is not an option. However, a closed casket service is a possibility.

When will cremated remains be returned to the family?

The donation process does not slow the cremation process. Remains are usually returned to the family within weeks.

Is the personal information of donors kept confidential?

Absolutely. SWIBA adheres to strict confidentiality practices. All donors are assigned a unique identification number that is used throughout the donation process to keep the donor’s personal information confidential.

How does my religion feel about organ and tissue donation?

Most major religions are supportive of organ and tissue donation, but SWIBA recommends checking with your spiritual advisor.

What is the corporate status of SWIBA and its affiliated research programs?

SWIBA is incorporated as a taxable organization. The medical education and research programs that rely on SWIBA for anatomical tissue specimens are both taxable and tax exempt.

Where does SWIBA’s funding come from?

SWIBA is a self-funded medical education and research tissue bank that receives reimbursements from universities, government agencies, and corporate and private medical institutions for the professional services we provide. SWIBA adheres to all state and federal regulations through the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.

Do I need to pre-register in order to be a SWIBA donor?

No. After death has occurred, the legal next-of-kin can consent to donation if all family members are in agreement. However, proactively making the decision to consent and registering prior to death is always encouraged.

Does an autopsy prohibit donation for medical education and research?

No. An autopsy does not exclude donation for medical education and research. However, a testable blood sample will need to be drawn prior to the autopsy.

Can my family request cremated remains?

Yes. The return of cremated remains to the next-of-kin is an option and is free of charge.

Can I specify the research program and/or institution I wish to donate to?

This is difficult to accommodate since different research programs accept tissue at different times. However, SWIBA will work with you or your loved ones to make every reasonable effort to fulfill your wish.

If I am declined as an organ donor for transplant, does that mean that I am also excluded from donating to medical education and research?

No. Transplant and medical education and research have very different exclusions. Transplant exclusions are much stricter, requiring viable, non-diseased tissue. However, in medical education and research donation, non-infectious diseased tissue is desirable and is often matched up with a medical educator or researcher studying that particular disease.

If I am an organ donor for transplant, can I still donate for medical education and research?

There is not a definite answer to this question. It depends on which organs and tissue were donated for transplant and what current organs and tissue are needed by medical educators and researchers. Contact SWIBA for your donation options.

Who is eligible to donate for the advancement of medical education and research?

Almost anyone can donate regardless of age and health. Although a few exclusions exist, most people qualify. Please contact SWIBA for your donation options.

What amount of ashes will be returned to me?

We try to honor our donors' wishes and maximize the gift of donation. It is difficult to determine the amount of ashes you will receive.

Ready to Donate to SWIBA?

Please call 1-800-723-3031 or click here to register.

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