deeded body, living will, estate planning des moinesMany clients inquire as to the process to donate one’s body to the University of Iowa for scientific purposes. In order to be effective, the University of Iowa requires that a Deed of Disposition of Body for Scientific Purposes be on file with the University prior to an individual’s death. The Deed of Disposition of Body for Scientific Purposes can be executed by a person who is 18 years of age and competent. The University retains the right to not accept the body if it is not appropriate for their needs. The family of the donor or the estate of the donor is required to pay the transportation fees and the professional service fees of a funeral director in delivering the body to the University. The Deed must be signed by two witnesses in the presence of each other. At the same time that the Deed is submitted, the individual is required to fill out a Deeded Body Program Donor Information Sheet setting forth information about the donor and the donor’s contact person. At the same time the donor is required to prepare a Deeded Body Program Medical History Form setting forth information about the donor’s medical history. Finally, the donor is required to complete a Final Disposition Option Form selecting one of two options. Option 1 is cremation with the cremains to be returned to the donor’s contact person at the expense of the University, and Option 2 is cremation with burial of cremains in the University of Iowa Deeded Body Program Plot at Oakland Cemetery, Iowa City, Iowa, at the expense of the University.

Upon receipt of all the documents, the University will issue an identification card indicating that the applicant meets the necessary criteria. It is important to note that the Uniform Donor Card is not sufficient for whole body donation to the University. At the time of death the body needs to be transported by a license funeral facility to the University. The family may hold a visitation and traditional funeral service before the transfer. If the delay is more than eight hours, embalming will be required. If the donor’s body is not accepted by the University, the person in charge of the donor’s affairs will be contacted and options for final disposition will be discussed. Possible problems that would lead to the body not being accepted would include an autopsy, extensive trauma, the presence of a highly contagious disease, or a weight problem that would prevent optimal use of the body.

The study of the body is typically completed in one to one and one-half years. The University holds a memorial service once a year and the person who is in charge of the donor’s affairs will be invited to attend.

The required forms are online and can be located by googling University of Iowa Deeded Body Program. The contact information for the program is as follows:

Deeded Body Program
Department of Anatomy
Bowen Science Building
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Phone No. (319) 335-7762

By James D. Beatty