Can a donor have an open-casket funeral?

Yes. Organ, eye and tissue donation doesn’t interfere with having an open-casket funeral.

A variety of things can happen after donation.  The organ, eye and tissue recovery process is performed by trained surgeons and medical personnel in an operating room, most often at a hospital but sometimes at a different specialized facility.  When the recovery is complete, all incisions are closed, much as they would be following surgery.

Afterward, the body is transported to the funeral home or mortuary of the family’s choice — as would have been the case had donation not been an option.  There, the full range of funeral options is open to donors, including open-casket viewings, visitation, funeral and memorial services, burial or cremation.

There is no cost to the family for organ, eye and tissue donation – all costs associated with donation are the responsibility of the recovery organizations once death has been declared and consent for donation has been obtained.  Because laws prohibit organ recovery organizations from providing financial incentives to donor families, the funeral costs for organ-only donors are the responsibility of the family.

At all times, the donor is treated with the utmost respect and dignity.  After all, the decision to donate is one that saves lives.

Please note:  Registering with Donate Life Texas is not intended to serve as a way to make arrangements for the final disposition of one’s body.

How do I donate my body?

Please note:  Donate Life Texas is specific to organ, eye and tissue donation only and does not cover whole body donation.  Such arrangements must be made with a body donation program directly and made known to the individual’s legal next of kin.

 

A variety of things can happen after donation.  Following the organ, eye and tissue donation procedures, the body is transported to the funeral home or mortuary of the family’s choice — as would have been the case had donation not been an option. There, the full range of funeral options is open to donors, including open-casket viewings, visitation, funeral and memorial services, burial or cremation.

There is no cost to the family for organ, eye and tissue donation – all costs associated with donation are the responsibility of the recovery organizations once death has been declared.  After the donation is complete, the body is then released to the funeral home or mortuary of the family’s choosing.  Because laws prohibit organ recovery organizations from providing financial incentives to donor families, the funeral costs for organ-only donors are the responsibility of the family.

Depending on the circumstances, an organ, eye and tissue donor’s body may be released to a whole body donation program – this is sometimes referred to as “donating a body to science.”  Guidelines for these programs vary widely and do change periodically.  To find out more about how each program works, what conditions they have and what costs they cover, you would need to contact them directly to inquire.

For those enrolled with a whole body donation program, it is possible to make note of these arrangements on a Donate Life Texas donor registry record, as follows:

  • Click My DLT
  • Enter your personal information to access your registration record
  • You will also be asked to confirm that you are “not a Robot,” as a security step. Just click on the blue circle and when you see the green check mark, proceed to the next step.
  • Once your record has been retrieved, look about midway down the screen for a space to input information about the Body Donation Program you have enrolled with
  • After making your selections, click Continue at the bottom of the page
  • You will be taken to a screen with a summary for you to review and approve
  • This screen also offers the opportunity to email friends and family of your decisions
  • To finalize your new registration selections, click Complete at the bottom of the page
  • You will receive an email confirmation of the changes you have made

If organ, eye and tissue donation isn’t an option for a person who has passed away, their Donate Life registration might not be accessed at all, so again, family members need to be made aware of body donation arrangements.

If you register with a body donation program, please keep in mind that the condition of the body at the time of death may render it ineligible for donation. For this reason, it is wise to have an alternate plan for the final disposition of the body.

Please note:  Registering with Donate Life Texas is not intended to serve as a way to make arrangements for the final disposition of one’s body.

I want to donate my body

A variety of things can happen after donation.  The organ, eye and tissue recovery process is performed by trained surgeons and medical personnel in an operating room, most often at a hospital but sometimes at a different specialized facility.  When the recovery is complete, all incisions are closed, much as they would be following surgery.

Afterward, the body can be transported to the funeral home or mortuary of the family’s choice where the full range of funeral options is open to donors, including open-casket viewings, visitation, funeral and memorial services, burial or cremation.

Depending on the circumstances, the body of an organ, eye and tissue donor can be transitioned to a whole body program after donation.  However, prior arrangements with a whole body program and family notification are strongly advised.

Since the Donate Life Texas registry is specific only to organ, eye and tissue donation, your registration does not include whole body donation as well.  If you are interested in whole body donation, please contact the program of your choice to learn more and to register directly.

Please note:  Registering with Donate Life Texas is not intended to serve as a way to make arrangements for the final disposition of one’s body.