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College of
Health Sciences

Anatomical Gift Program

Body donation is a generous and humanitarian decision. An immeasurable gift, donating one’s body provides numerous educational and scientific discovery benefits in medical education.

Managed by Humanity Gifts Registry, the Anatomical Gift Program at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine lays the foundation for four years of education and a lifelong career in medicine. Donors give medical students the opportunity to see how the body functions, study anatomy up close and apply working knowledge to classroom lectures.


Frequently asked questions

I want to donate my body, how do I get started?

The process is quite simple but requires some paperwork to be filled out with Humanity Gifts Registry (HGR). First, fill out the donor form following the online instructions. Once completed mail one copy of the form to: P.O. Box 835, Philadelphia, PA 19105. Keep a copy for your records with important health and legal documents.

If you are donating the body of a loved one, a consent form must be completed. Once completed, fax a copy of the form to HGR at 215-922-4896.

How do I alert my family, friends and physicians of my wishes?

It is important to discuss your donation with friends and family members so that they can make proper arrangements following your death and carry out your wishes. In addition to a verbal discussion, you should place a copy of your donor form with a living will or advance directive and share it with your physician and medical team. We also recommend that you discuss your donation with a religious leader or funeral director who may be planning remembrance services.

I live locally, will students know my identity?

Part of working with HGR ensures that a donor’s identity remains anonymous. Donors’ identities remain strictly confidential.

Can my family still have a funeral?

Body donation precludes the possibility of having a funeral with the body present. However, it is appropriate and common to have funeral services without the body present. All arrangements and costs associated with private memorials or funeral services are the responsibility of the family. Geisinger Commonwealth hosts a Celebration of Remembrance Ceremony each year to recognize and pay tribute to our donors and their families.

What costs are associated with a donation?

HGR pays $100 toward the cost of transporting a body from the place of death, by a licensed funeral director, to a medical teaching institution. If transportation costs exceed $100, those costs are the responsibility of the next of kin or the estate. Costs associated with cremation are covered by Geisinger Commonwealth. The ashes of a loved one can be returned to the family if arrangements are made at the time of donation with Humanity Gifts Registry.

Can I request that my body be used at Geisinger Commonwealth?

Yes. A donor can designate a specific medical school as the recipient. When completing the donor registration form please write-in “I would like to designate Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine for this donation.” Donations can stay in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Does Geisinger Commonwealth provide funeral services?

Geisinger Commonwealth does not plan or host funeral services. However, each donor is recognized at the Celebration of Remembrance Ceremony, held once per year. Family and friends are invited to attend the event.

I’ve decided not to donate my body, but I’d like to donate my organs.

At this time, only whole body donations are accepted for Geisinger Commonwealth’s Anatomical Gift Program. However, organs can be donated to living recipients through the Gift of Life Program.

Can a donor be registered as an organ donor and a whole body donor?

It is possible to be registered as both an organ donor and a whole body donor. However, HGR and Geisinger Commonwealth are only able to accept whole body donations. Typically, the registry is only able to accept a body after the eyes and skin have been donated.

My loved one has donated their body. Can I acknowledge their gift with a monetary donation?

Yes. Memorial gifts can be made at any time and memorialize anyone a donor wishes. Donations can be made online using the secure form or by check made payable to “Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine” and sent to: Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Development Office, 525 Pine St., Scranton, PA 18509.

For additional questions

Humanity Gifts Registry 
P.O. Box 835
Philadelphia, PA 19105
Fax: 215-922-4896 

Office hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Phone hours: 24/7, including holidays and weekends via answering service

Humanity Gifts Registry is located in Philadelphia and manages donations for the entire state. If desired, your donation can stay in northeastern Pennsylvania. HGR ensures that each donation receives the proper management required and that the family receives the support necessary to proceed with the donation.

For questions or more information, contact Geisinger Commonwealth’s humanity gift coordinator at 570-955-1306.
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