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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Donate and the Donation Process

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  • The gift of your body will benefit forensic scientists, law enforcement agents, medicolegal death investigators, and forensic science educators. In addition your gifted body will help advance scientific knowledge in human decomposition, human skeletal variation, and osteolgocial methods used by forensic anthropologists. If you are considering an alternative to traditional funeral cremation or burial, we ask that you consider making a full body donation to FACTS. Your gift will provide numerous opportunities for training, education, and scientific research now and in the future. The gift of your body is a compassionate act that will leave a legacy of education and research for future generations.

  • To pre-register, download the body donation packet, discuss your wishes to be donated to FACTS with your family, complete the packet as thoroughly as possible (do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions), and return it by

    email to

    Sophia Mavroudas at FACTS@txstate.edu

    or U.S. mail to:

    Sophia Mavroudas
    Coordinator, Forensic Anthropology Center
    Texas State University
    Department of Anthropology
    601 University Drive ELA 232
    San Marcos, TX 78666 

  • FACTS accepts donations regardless of age, location, stage of decomposition, trauma, surgical history, and most causes of death. Unlike most anatomical donations, FACTS will accept autopsied bodies for donation.

    FACTS does not accept donations from individuals over 500 pounds or with active infectious diseases (those that can be transmitted from person-to-person) such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C, active tuberculosis, or active syphilis. FACTS will, however, accept the unpulverized cremains of individuals over 500 pounds or with an active infectious disease.

  • No, but we strongly encourage you to pre-register. However, consent to donate can be given by your legal next of kin. If there is more than one legal next of kin, all parties must be in agreement to donate before FACTS can accept your body.

  • Yes, we strongly encourage individuals interested in donating their body to science to pre-register with FACTS. We also advise that you discuss your wishes with your family so they are aware that you would like your body donated to FACTS. Download the living donor or next of kin (NOK) packets.

  • Upon death all that is necessary is for someone to notify FACTS (FACTS@txstate.edu; 512-245-1900). A trained representative of FACTS will assist the next of kin through the donation process including coordinating transportation and signing any necessary authorization forms, and verifying information for the death certificate.

  • When contacting FACTS about a donation after hours, please call 512-245-1900 and leave a message with your name, phone number, and relationship to the decedent. We will contact you as soon as possible.

    If the decedent is a living (pre-registered) donor who has passed away, please leave a message with the name of the decedent and someone will contact you shortly.

    If the decedent was not pre-registered with FACTS, please complete the NOK paperwork found above then email (FACTS@txstate.edu) a scanned copy or fax (512-245-6889) the form to the office for review. All NOK donation inquiries will be responded to between the hours of 9-5 PM, Monday through Friday.

    FACTS can pick up remains within 100 miles of San Marcos. All transportation costs and arrangements outside of 100 miles are the responsibility of the donor or his/her Next of Kin. All donations should be kept in refrigeration until transportation arrangements are made. The costs associated with refrigeration are the responsibility of the NOK.

  • The closest relatives of a deceased individual, as defined by state law, are considered Next of Kin. Please contact us if you have questions about the legal next of kin. FACTS strongly suggests that you discuss your wishes to be donated with your legal next of kin before death.

  • We will arrange for transportation of the body within 100 miles of Texas State University. Beyond 100 miles, the family will have to make arrangements to have the decedent transported to FACTS or sent to Austin, TX by aircraft. In some cases your body may have to be temporarily stored in a refrigerator before being picked up by FACTS. The donor family is responsible for making these arrangements and any associated costs.

  • Yes. If you change your mind you may rescind your consent by notifying us. However, once a body has been donated and received by FACTS it will remain in the Texas State Donated Skeletal Collection for perpetuity.

  • In addition to body donations, FACTS accepts monetary donations to support the education, research, and outreach mission goals. We are a non-profit center that provides free pickup of donated bodies within 100 miles, free lectures on forensic anthropology to the community, conduct scientific research and education, and provide low cost forensic anthropological services. However, these endeavors are often costly and must be paid for by FACTS. In addition, the FACTS body donation coordinator position is not funded by Texas State University. Monetary support to FACTS will help us accomplish our mission and enable us to continue to provide quality free and low cost outreach and services to the community.

  • FACTS will make reasonable effort to accept a donation from anywhere in the United States. However, the family will need to have the body transported to Austin, TX by aircraft or make other arrangements.

  • Yes. We strongly encourage you to donate your whole body, but FACTS will accept donations of body parts that include skeletal elements and cremated remains in some circumstances.


Research and Educational Uses of Donated Bodies

Willed Body Donation Program videos, Part 1Part 2

  • FACTS uses your gifted body for forensic anthropological research related to determining the postmortem interval (time since death) and related studies in human decomposition. After decomposition, your skeletal remains will be processed curated in perpetuity into the Texas State University Dontate Skeletal Collection. This collection is used for research and education in osteological methods and human variation.

  • FACTS will make reasonable efforts respect the wishes of individuals donating their body to Texas State University. We also will make reasonable efforts to assure that all body donations and skeletal remains are used only by qualified researchers with quality research proposals. However, FACTS cannot guarantee the results obtained by the research.

  • FACTS adheres to all federal and state legal requirements through the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which prohibits the buying or selling of human organs and tissue. FACTS charges reasonable fees for services provided to researchers for the processing, preservation, quality control, and transportation of human remains.

  • FACTS protects the confidentiality of its donors. All donors are identified by an internal identification number that is used in all communications with researchers to protect the confidentiality of the donor and end-users. FACTS only allows qualified researchers with strong scientific research proposal to utilize donated bodies. All researchers and educators using donated bodies at FACTS must complete a stringent application and agreement with FACTS, and follow confidentiality procedures to ensure your privacy and the privacy of your family.

  • Unlike many full body donations, FACTS does not cremate or return your body. Your skeletal remains will be processed upon completion of decomposition and securely stored at our research laboratory facility. Your skeletal remains will be used by numerous qualified researchers to answer critical and timely scientific questions in human skeletal variation, osteolgocial identification methods and more for years to come. All researchers and educators using bodies donated to FACTS and the forensic anthropology research laboratory must complete a stringent application and agree to follow strict protocol and procedures.

  • Yes. Please contact the FACTS Coordinator to make arrangements to visit the Grady Early Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory. Visitation to the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility is not permitted, but once the skeleton has been processed next of kin can request to visit.