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Why are people calling me for body donation services?
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque , NM
Thursday, February 21, 2019


As The Doyenne of Death®, I get a lot of phone calls asking about body disposition, funeral questions and cemetery issues. Sometimes even people at funeral homes call me about getting special clothing for the deceased or arranging air shipment of bodies.

This morning, a woman called me, thinking I was the BioGift body donation service. Someone in her family had preplanned with them, that person was now dead, and she was calling for a pick-up. I told her, “I’m a death educator, not a body donation service.”

She said, “Then why is your phone number listed for BioGift?” I Googled BioGift, and did not see my phone number. I don’t know where she got that information.

AATB accredited institution

So, to be helpful, here’s a listing of body donation services with links to their websites and phone numbers. Many are approved by the AATB, the American Association of Tissue Banks. Please call these services for pick-up, not me.

Body Donation Services

Anatomy Gifts Registry: Based in Hanover, MD 800-300-5433

BioGift: Based in Portland, OR 503-670-1799

MedCure: Based in Portland, OR (note: several negative experiences have been posted on this blog regarding this organization) 503-257-9100

Medical Education and Research Institute – MERI: Based in Memphis, TN 901-722-8001

Research for Life: Based in Phoenix, AZ 800-229-3244

Science Care: Based in Phoenix, AZ 800-417-3747

Southwest Institute for Bio-Advancement (SWIBA): Based in Tucson, AZ 800-723-3031

United Tissue Network: Based in Phoenix, AZ 877-738-6111

Also, please remember that while you can get a free cremation by donating your body to one of these services, they can disqualify a donation for any number of reasons: body trauma, being grossly overweight or underweight, infectious diseases like hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other maladies.

You can also check into body donation to your local university medical school anatomical gift program. They can also deny a donation for various reasons. Be prepared to look for a low-cost direct cremation in your market. Two funeral home price comparison sites are Parting.com and Funeralocity.com.

Reuters Investigative Report

You may want to read this November 2017 investigative report to learn more about the business of body donation. Here’s a link: The Body Trade: Cashing in on the donated dead.

Talk to your family about your wishes.

Let your spouse and dependents know what arrangements you’ve made. Have a conversation and listen to their concerns. Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals – or body donation – won’t make you dead. Your family will benefit from the conversation.

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die NM Festival. She also hosts A Good Goodbye Internet radio show and produces Mortality Minute radio and online video spots. Her YouTube Channel features more than 450 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV. Albuquerque Business First named her as one of their 2019 Women of Influence.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

A Good Goodbye
Albuquerque, NM