Montana Body Donation Program
Donation for medical education is a generous and thoughtful act. Anatomy is an important subject in the education of students aspiring to become physicians, dentists, physical therapists, and nurses. There is no better way to learn this vital subject than by studying real human bodies. Our pre-health professionals will use this knowledge for the rest of their careers and many refer to their cadaver as their first patient. Body donation is truly a noble deed that is deeply appreciated.
What are some conditions or circumstances that would prevent the MBDP from being able to accept a donation?
- Next of kin do not agree with the donation of the body
- Open or unhealed wounds at time of death
- Massive systemic infections (e.g., MRSA)
- Diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrigs’ s Disease)
- Death due to trauma (e.g., car accident, homicide or suicide)
- If an autopsy has to be, or was performed
- If the donor is exceptionally obese or emaciated at the time of death
- If the initial embalming is not completed within 6-12 hours after death
The MBDP can accept a donation if only the corneas have been harvested for organ donation.
If any internal organs have been harvested for organ donation the MBDP must decline the donation because we must have a complete donor for educational purposes. If organs have been harvested we also cannot complete our long-term secondary preservation.
Next of kin of the person donating should call a pre-determined local funeral home for initial care of the donation. The funeral home will then contact the MBDP.
Upon death, the next of kin should call a pre-determined local funeral home which will handle inital care of the donation. The funeral home will then contact our program and arrange for transport to the MBDP if within 225 miles of the Montana State University campus. Donations outside of this radius will need the local funeral home to arrange transport at the expense of the donor's estate to a funeral home within the 225 miles radius, which can then arrange for transport with the MBDP.
Yes. We prefer that people wishing to donate complete the Declaration of Consent form before death; however, in the event this is not possible, the next of kin can complete and submit the Next of Kin Consent form for acceptance of the donation after death. This needs to be done as soon after death as possible.
What choices do I and my family have in regard to final disposition of my remains after the anatomical study is complete:
Donors and families have 3 choices for final disposition of the donor after the anatomical studies are complete:
- Remains will be buried in a shared plot and coffin, without a named stone, in the Bozeman City Cemetery, at no expense to the donor's estate or next of kin. Names are not included on the gravestone to protect the privacy of the individual donors. The simple gravestone acknowledges the donors' gifts to medical education.
- The donor or next of kin can make arrangements with a funeral home of their choice to have the remains cremated and returned to the family. Such arrangements are at the expense of the donor's estate or next of kin.
- The donor or next of kin can make arrangements with a hometown funeral home or a Bozeman area funeral home to have the remains returned for local burial, recognizing that such arrangements are at the expense of the donor's estate or next of kin.
The original consent forms on file with the MBDP state the wishes of the donor or next of kin for final disposition of the remains. The MBDP will, in every case, confirm the final disposition wishes with the next of kin when the anatomical study is complete.
The Declaration of Consent form is not a binding document. The form may be revoked by contacting our program and stating your wishes.