Are There Exclusions For Donation?

Most people qualify for body donation.  There is no maximum age limit for body or brain donation, and medical conditions, including cancer, are not disqualifying. Below is a list of the disqualifying conditions for body donation.

HIV/AIDS

If the prospective donor has ever had HIV/AIDS or tests positive for HIV/AIDS at the time of death, they do not qualify for body or brain donation.

BMI Too High or Too Low

“BMI” stands for body mass index.  A BMI that is too high or too low disqualifies prospective donors from body donation but is not a disqualifying condition for brain donation.

Anyone with a BMI score between 16 and 36 is automatically acceptable.  BMI scores outside that range may be accepted as well.

If you would like to calculate your BMI score, please click this link to access the CDC BMI calculator.  All you need to enter is your height and weight, and your BMI will be calculated for you.

Hepatitis A, B, or C

Anyone that has ever had hepatitis A, B, or C, is ineligible for whole body donation.

Prior to acceptance into the program, but after death, we perform a blood test to confirm hepatitis status.  We perform the blood test because many people who test positive for hepatitis do not know how or why they were exposed or that they have the active virus in their system.

Exposure to hepatitis can occur by eating certain foods or foods prepared by someone who has hepatitis when preparing or serving food.

Other Diseases That May Be Present at the Time Of Death

Other disqualifying diseases include MRSA, severe sepsis, gangrene, necrotizing fasciitis, and certain infected bedsores.  Individuals with these conditions cannot be accepted for body donation (and often brain donation) because it is unsafe for technicians and physicians.

Diseases That Do Not Disqualify

COVID-19 is not a disqualifying disease.  As it turns out, researchers currently believe that COVID-19 does not survive after death.

Other Disqualifying Conditions

The prospective donor’s body conditions are essential criteria.  For example, if the prospective donor were in an accident that resulted in large-scale trauma, or a fatal fire, these would be disqualifying conditions.  Also, the prospective donor cannot have meaningfully decomposed after death (but before donation).  Also, if more than ten days have passed from the time of death until the deceased comes into our care, we will not be able to accept the donation.