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MUSC Anatomical Gift Program

General Information

At the Medical University of South Carolina, donated bodies are used for teaching students in various health programs such as medicine, dentistry, and allied health, as well as some advanced studies in later years of training and residency.  The MUSC Anatomical Gift Program is conducted according to the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act adopted by the South Carolina General Assembly on May 6, 2009, to enable individuals to donate their bodies to medical science.

The Medical University of South Carolina graciously acknowledges your interest in our Anatomical Gift Program. This page contains information about the Program, including how to become a donor, how to contact the Program, and a link to a page where you may download the needed forms.

Please carefully read the information on this page prior to contacting the Program.

Who may donate?

The MUSC Anatomical Gift Program program requires a donor to be an individual of sound mind and 18 years of age or more. Individuals wishing to become donors must be pre-registered with the Program prior to time of death. The person whose body will be received by the Program must be the person who signs the MUSC Anatomical Gift Program donation form.

The MUSC Anatomical Gift Program can not accept next-of-kin body donations.

Our students need to study bodies not altered by major surgery or certain major diseases. Individuals who wish to become donors in the Anatomical Gift Program should take note that a body donation can be declined at time of death based on the following points of medical history:

  • Major involvement of metastatic disease (cancer, with extensive spread of tumors)
  • Extreme obesity (body weight must be proportional to height)
  • Amputations of upper or lower limbs (due to disease or trauma)
  • Removal of organs (organ donors are not accepted, except those donating eyes only)
  • Recent surgery, not completely healed
  • History of specific contagious and blood-borne diseases: hepatitis, meningitis, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS
  • Dementia from Creutzfeldt-Jakob virus (spongiform encephalitis; may be indicated by rapid onset of dementia)
  • Any major trauma to the body (due to accident, suicide, etc.)
  • Autopsy (requirement for autopsy supersedes donation of whole body)

    Other unforeseen circumstances (such as full capacity of our storage facility) might prevent acceptance of the donation.

Becoming a donor

To obtain the necessary forms, potential donors should either download the forms using the Donor Forms Packet link below or contact the Program at the following address:

MUSC Anatomical Gift Program
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
173 Ashley Avenue - BSB 601
MSC 508
Charleston, SC 29425-5080

You may email your request to giftofbody@musc.edu
You may contact the Program by phone at 843-792-3521

Downloaded forms are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You must print these forms, enter the information, and return the signed forms to the mail address indicated above.  Valid forms must have original donor and witnesses signatures.

A packet of information and forms is available to download by clicking on the Donor Forms Packet link below.

The person whose body will be received by the Program MUST be the person who signs the MUSC Anatomical Gift Program donation form.

The MUSC Anatomical Gift Program reserves the right to reject body donations at any time, in case of unforeseen circumstances (such as full capacity of our storage facility). We have many participants in this program and are unable to accept all donors at the time of their death. Donors may withdraw from the program at any time.

You should make alternate arrangements to provide for care and ultimate disposition of your remains, should we be unable to accept your donation.

After completion of anatomical studies, the donor bodies are cremated and the ashes are interred at a local cemetery. The Medical University of South Carolina does not automatically return the cremated remains of donors. However, arrangements have been made with our local cremation center and the center will return the cremated remains to your designee (the next-of-kin on record).  There is no fee for this service. If you would like this to be done, please check this option on the donor form.

Returning the forms

The completed, signed, and witnessed legal form and the Donor Information Form MUST be returned to the MUSC Anatomical Gift Program at the following address:

MUSC Anatomical Gift Program
Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology
173 Ashley Avenue - BSB 601
MSC 508
Charleston, SC 29425-5080

NOTE: The donor is not registered with the program until the completed, signed, and witnessed forms are received at MUSC. Be sure to remember to send the forms to the address above.

For further information you may email to: giftofbody@musc.edu
or you may contact the Program by phone at 843-792-3521

The MUSC Anatomical Gift Program reserves the right to decline body donations at any time, in case of unforeseen circumstances (such as full capacity in our storage facility) or changes in physical condition, which prevent acceptance of the donation. Therefore, we request that you have alternate arrangements made to provide for care of your remains, should we be unable to accept your donation. Donors may withdraw from the program at any time by calling the Program office.

Death Certificates

The MUSC Anatomical Gift Program prepares Death Certificates for the donors to our program. The Death Certificate is sent to the attending physician for signature, and then it is filed in the Vital Records Office of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) that is responsible for the county where death occurred. Please be aware that this process may take a couple of weeks to be completed. The MUSC Anatomical Gift Program cannot provide copies of the Death Certificate, needed for legal and estate purposes. Those official copies must be obtained by applying to one of the four DHEC Regional Vital Records Office that is responsible for the county where death occurred.

Vital Records contact information may be found at the following links:
Vital Records Death Certificates in South Carolina
Vital Records Locations in South Carolina