Survivors may derive comfort from the knowledge that respect for those who have donated their bodies is maintained at all times. The indispensable contribution that body donors have made is fully recognized. The teaching laboratories are situated in a restricted area and only medical and dental students, faculty, staff, or other students of the health professions are authorized to use the facility.
Respect for the Donor
Uniform Anatomical Gift Act
Revised Michigan Anatomical Gift Law – Abridged Provisions
Selected provisions of the Revised Michigan Anatomical Gift Law, Public Act 368 of 1978, amended as Public Act 39 of 2008, are provided below. Download the full statute.
Please Note: Although the information in this Guide is about legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel. While a reasonable effort has been made to compile complete and accurate information in this Guide, the University of Michigan does not assume any liability resulting from any errors or omissions.
Article 10 Part 101, Act No. 368, Public Acts of 1978
Subject to section 10108, an anatomical gift of a donor's body or body part may be made during the life of the donor for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education in the manner provided in section 10105 by any of the following:
- a. The donor, if the donor is an adult or if the donor is a minor and meets 1 or more of the following requirements: (i) Is emancipated. (ii) Has been issued a driver license or identification card because the donor is at least 16 years of age.
- b. An agent of the donor, unless the power of attorney for health care or other record prohibits the agent from making an anatomical gift.
- c. A parent of the donor, if the donor is an unemancipated minor.
- d. The donor's guardian.
(1) A donor may make an anatomical gift by doing any of the following:
- a. By authorizing a statement or symbol indicating that the donor has made an anatomical gift to be imprinted on the donor's driver license or identification card.
- b. In a will.
- c. During a terminal illness or injury of the donor, by any form of communication addressed to at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom is a disinterested witness. However, the physician who attends the donor during the terminal illness or injury shall not act as a recipient of the communication under this subdivision.
(2) A donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 10104 may make a gift by a donor card or other record signed by the donor or other person making the gift or by authorizing that a statement or symbol indicating that the donor has made an anatomical gift be included on a donor registry.
(3) Revocation, suspension, expiration, or cancellation of a driver license or identification card upon which an anatomical gift is indicated does not invalidate the gift.
(4) An anatomical gift made by will takes effect upon the donor's death whether or not the will is probated. Invalidation of the will after the donor's death does not invalidate the gift.
(1) Subject to section 10108, a donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 10104 may amend or revoke an anatomical gift by any of the following means:
- a. A record signed by any of the following: (i) The donor. (ii) The other person authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 10104. (iii) Subject to subsection (2), another individual acting at the direction of the donor or the other person authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 10104 if the donor or other person is physically unable to sign.
- b. A later-executed document of gift that amends or revokes a previous anatomical gift or portion of an anatomical gift, either expressly or by inconsistency.
(2) A record signed pursuant to subsection (1)(a)(iii) shall meet all of the following requirements:
- a. Be witnessed by at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom is a disinterested witness, who have signed at the request of the donor or the other person.
- b. State that it has been signed and witnessed.
(3) Subject to section 10108, a donor or other person authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 10104 may revoke an anatomical gift by the destruction or cancellation of the document of gift, or the portion of the document of gift used to make the gift, with the intent to revoke the gift.
(4) A donor may amend or revoke an anatomical gift that was not made in a will by any form of communication during a terminal illness or injury addressed to at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom is a disinterested witness.
(5) A donor who makes an anatomical gift in a will may amend or revoke the gift in the manner provided for amendment or revocation of wills or as provided in subsection (1).
(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (7)…in the absence of an express, contrary indication by the donor, a person other than the donor is barred from making, amending, or revoking an anatomical gift of a donor's body or body part.
(2) A donor's revocation of an anatomical gift of the donor's body or body part under section 10106 is not a refusal and does not bar another person specified in section 10104 or 10109 from making an anatomical gift of the donor's body or body part under section 10105 or 10110.
(7) If a donor who is an unemancipated minor dies, a parent of the donor who is reasonably available may revoke or amend an anatomical gift of the donor's body or body part.
(8) If an unemancipated minor who signed a refusal dies, a parent of the minor who is reasonable available may revoke the minor's refusal.
(1) An anatomical gift may be made to any of the following persons named in the document of gift:
- a. A hospital; accredited medical school, dental school, college, or university; organ procurement organization; or other appropriate person, for research or education.
(4) [I]f there is more than 1 purpose of an anatomical gift set forth in the document of gift but the purposes are not set forth in any priority, the gift shall be used for transplantation or therapy, if suitable. If the gift cannot be used for transplantation or therapy, the gift may be used for research or education.
(1) A document of gift need not be delivered during the donor's lifetime to be effective.
(8) [T]he rights of the person to which a body part passes under section 10111 are superior to the rights of all others with respect to the body part. The person may accept or reject an anatomical gift in whole or in part. Subject to the terms of the document of gift and this part, a person that accepts an anatomical gift of an entire body may allow embalming, burial, or cremation, and use of remains in a funeral service. If the gift is of a body part, the person to which the body part passes under section 10111, upon the death of the donor and before embalming, burial, or cremation, shall cause the body part to be removed without unnecessary mutilation.
In applying and construing this part, consideration shall be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.
Disposition of Remains & Memorial Service
Following the study of the donor's body, the remains are cremated. For temporary donations, ashes may be returned to the donor's family or a funeral director for private burial. A request for the return of ashes must be made in writing by the time the donor's body is transported to the Medical School, or shortly thereafter. For permanent donations, the ashes will not be returned.
If the donor's legal representative requests that the ashes be buried at the University of Michigan, the deceased will be interred in conjunction with the University of Michigan Annual Memorial Service. Medical students are involved with all aspects of the ceremony. Family and friends of all donors are invited; close to 1,000 people attend each year to share memories and help with the healing process.