Donor Frequently Asked Questions:
The Decision to Donate
1. I'd like to be an organ donor. Can I do that AND donate my skeletal remains to your program? Yes. Organ donation does not affect the skeletal remains. You will need to set up your organ donation contract separately, however. In the State of New Mexico, call Donor Services at (505) 843-7672 to get an application. If you are residing in another state, check your phonebook.
2. I would actually like to donate my body to a medical school anatomy program. Can I do that AND donate my skeleton to your program? At the present time, we cannot accept the skeletal remains from medical school cadavers. If it is your wish to donate to the UNM Medical School cadaver program, please call (505) 272-5555. Please be aware that cadaver programs may decline donations due to traumatic injury, autopsy, extensive surgery, and some terminal illnesses. Several of our donors have chosen to rank their donation priorities: first to a cadaver program, and if rejected, to our program. We make note of this when we receive completed paperwork from possible donors.
3. What conditions might cause the refusal of the donation of my body to the anthropology program? We are required by law to refuse individuals with blood-borne diseases such as HIV, AIDS, Ebola, and Hepatitis A, B, or C. These diseases can be transferred during the rendering process.
4. What paperwork is involved in the donation of my body? We will provide a three part form that you need to return to us. The first part of the form is a statement to certify that you are of sound mind and are donating your remains of your own free will. You and two witnesses need to sign this statement. The second portion of the form is an information sheet that asks questions such as your date of birth, your primary occupation, location of any broken bones, your typical physical activity level, etc. This information is important for us because it will provide researchers with a full background. The third portion of the form asks for permission to allow casting of the remains.
You may choose to receive a donation card. However, please be advised that until we have received the completed form, this card is not considered valid.
Completed forms can be returned by mail to:
Laboratory of Human Osteology
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131
(505) 277-1547 - fax
5. Must I have two witnesses, and do they need to be related to me? Yes, two witnesses are required to sign your donor form and card. They do not, however, have to be related to you. Many donors ask friends or family members, but you may also get two notary publics to sign and stamp the form.
6. Can I change my mind about donation after I have signed the forms? Yes. At any time you may submit a written, signed statement to the Maxwell Museum’s Laboratory of Human Osteology requesting that your donation be nullified and the original forms returned to you.
7. I have the power of attorney for my relative. Can I make the decision to donate him/her upon their death? Yes. We will need a copy of the legal statement giving you power of attorney, along with the donor forms signed by you and two witnesses.
8. What if I move to a different place after I've sent in my donor forms? You can always call our lab at (505) 277-3535 to give us your new address. You may also send us your new address through the mail.
9. What if I break a bone, or need to update my form in some other manner after I've already submitted it? We will be occasionally sending you a form to update your information. You can also call us or contact us through mail or email.