Anatomical Donations

Medical Education and Research Institute of Nevada - MERIN

How to Donate to MERIN


What happens to my body?
Your body will be transported from the place of death to either a funeral home or to MERIN. If your family would like to have a viewing within 48 hours of your death, your body will go from the place of death to the funeral home of record for MERIN so that a viewing can be arranged between your family and the funeral home. If a viewing is not requested, your body will come to MERIN, where will be specially prepared for educational events.

All donations made to the MERIN Generations Anatomical Donation Program will stay within the MERIN facility and benefit medical students learning anatomy, medical device research and development teams, first responders and surgeons from around the world learning advanced surgical techniques.

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Who can donate?
Almost anyone can donate for medical research and education. Unlike organ donation, disease and age do not necessarily eliminate an individual from being accepted as a donor. However, anyone with morbid obesity or a medical history that includes the diagnosis of Hepatitis B or C and/or HIV is not eligible to be a donor to the Generations program.

How to donate to MERIN
Representatives of the MERIN Generations Anatomical Donation Program are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our representatives will provide you with the necessary documentation, or you may visit the MERIN web site at to download the appropriate authorized forms.

If you are an organ/tissue donor, please remember that an organ donation card does not grant permission for whole body donation. You may be both an organ/tissue donor and a whole body donor.

As with organ donation, remember to discuss your wishes to donate your body to science with family members and other pertinent individuals. Include your wishes in living wills or other documents that give power of attorney for medical decisions.

What is the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act?
The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) governs the making of anatomical gifts of one's body to be used in the study of medicine. The law prescribes the forms by which such gifts can be made. It also provides that in the absence of such a document, a surviving spouse, or if there is no spouse, a list of specific relatives in order of preference, can make the gift. It also seeks to limit the liability of health care providers who act on good faith representations that a deceased patient meant to make an anatomical gift. The act also prohibits trafficking and trafficking in human organs for profit from donations for transplant or therapy. MORE

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Will any of my body parts be sold for profit?
No. Federal law forbids profiting from the sale of body parts. MERIN and Generations have established strict, ethical procedures, which ensure that all individuals are treated with due respect.

If I have made a bequest of my body for medical research and education, can I rescind my bequest?
Yes. A bequest is not a legally binding document. It can be rescinded in writing.

What is the cost to my family?
There is no cost to the decedent’s family in regard to the donation. The family does remain responsible for obtaining copies of the death certificate and the cost of medical care prior to death.

Is a viewing or funeral still possible?
A viewing to take place within 48 hours of death can be arranged with a local funeral home. Many families choose to conduct a memorial service.

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What is the process if death occurs in the hospital, at home or at a nursing home facility?
When you or your loved one enters a hospital or nursing home, you should make the staff aware of your wishes and provide them with a copy of your donor card. Your wishes should also be noted in your permanent medical records. The hospital or nursing home staff should notify Generations of your passing. If death occurs at home, a Generations representative should be notified as soon as possible. Generations will then arrange for a funeral home come to the place of death to remove the body.

Regardless of where a death occurs, family members can contact Generations if they wish to make a donation to the MERIN Generations Anatomical Donation Program. A Donor Liaison is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Will my body automatically be accepted? If not, why might a donation be rejected?
The decision to accept or reject a donation is made after an initial screening has been completed. Donations may be declined due to morbid obesity or a medical history that includes the diagnosis of Hepatitis B or C and/or HIV. However, once a donor has been accepted into the Generations program, acceptance will never be revoked unless the donor requests this in writing..

How long will my body be used for educational and research purposes?
Usually from one to eighteen months. If family members would like to plan a memorial service on a particular date, they should alert the Generations staff and efforts will be made to have the cremains available for the service.

What is the final disposition of the body?
All donors will be cremated. Family members make an individual decision whether or not to have the cremains returned. The average length of time between donation and the return of cremated remains is six months, but this can take as long as eighteen months. If preferred, Generations will respectfully scatter the cremains.

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