Frequently Asked Questions
Body Donor Program

Thank you for considering Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s body donor program. The staff, faculty, and medical students are grateful for your consideration. Please see the following frequently asked questions for details about our program.

Is there a need for body donation?

Yes. Donors are needed to support programs in medical education and research.

How do I donate my body?

You may register as a body donor by completing our donor documents. You may telephone or write to the program director to obtain donation forms or other information about the program. You must sign the donation form in the presence of two witnesses, who must then countersign the document in your presence. You should also obtain the signatures of your closest family members on the donation form. Although the Georgia Anatomical Gift Act allows individuals to donate their bodies without consent from the next of kin, it is the policy of the College not to accept a donation if the donor’s closest relatives object. If you wish to revoke the donation, you may do so at any time by writing the program director.



Can the family have a funeral prior to donating the body?

Yes. However, due to the need for special embalming preparation of the body, please discuss your desires in advance with the program director.

Are there any charges to my estate or my family?

No. The College will pay the cost to transport the donor to the College once they are accepted into the donor program. The College will also pay the expense of cremating the accepted donor once the medical students have concluded their study. However, if the College is unable to accept the donor, the family or estate will be responsible for the costs associated with any final disposition.

Who may donate a body?

Any Georgia resident 18 years of age or older may donate his or her body to the GA-PCOM Body Donation Program. The College also honors next of kin donations. The Georgia Anatomical Gift Act permits the following persons, in order of priority, to make a donation on behalf of the deceased:

  • A health care agent with the power to permit an anatomical gift of the whole body under a Georgia Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
  • A spouse
  • An adult son/daughter
  • Either parent
  • An adult brother/sister
  • A grandparent
  • A guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of death (other than a guardian ad litem appointed for such purpose)
  • Any other person authorized or under obligation to arrange for final disposition of the body

May I donate my organs before donating my body?

No. Medical students study the body as a whole. Therefore, a donation cannot be accepted if organs or tissue have been removed.

What happens at the time of death?

The family or funeral home should contact the program director to notify the College of the death. At that time, the program director will confirm whether the body is suitable for donation, and will make any necessary arrangements to have the body transported to the College.

Can my remains be rejected?

Yes. In some instances the body may not be suitable for medical study or research. The College will also decline a donation if the donor’s family objects. In addition, geographic limitations may require the College to decline the donation at the time of death.

If you are registered with the College as a donor and die outside of the State of Georgia, your family or funeral home should contact the nearest accredited medical school in that area.

Are autopsies conducted on body donors?

The study or research conducted at our College does not determine the cause and/or manner of death. The cause and/or manner of death will be identified on the official death certificate which is signed by the medical examiner, coroner or attending physician.

How long is it from the time of donation until cremation?

In most cases, cremation will occur within one year following anatomical study. However, sometimes anatomical study may be extended beyond one year. In that case, it could take up to two years from the time of donation until the cremation.

What happens to the ashes and/or cremains of the cremated body?

The cremains are returned to the designated family member and/or agent of the donor.

Does the College conduct a memorial service for the donors and their families?

Yes. The College conducts a memorial service each year to honor the donors and to thank the families. All donor families are contacted, invited and asked to participate in our annual memorial service. The cremains of the donors are presented to the families and/or their designated agents at this service.

body donorCONTACT US

Body Donation Program
Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
625 Old Peachtree Road, Suwanee, GA 30024
Phone: 678-225-7477 | Fax: 770-682-2309

Jeffrey K. Seiple
Director of Anatomical Donor Services
Cell: 770-833-0701 | Email: