Bridging the Gap Between Donors and Science

The medical and research fields are experiencing a critical shortage of donated cadaveric tissue. Between the need for cadaveric tissues and a growing need to help others, Lamplight Donor Services LLC has created a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between those willing to donate and the organizations that have a need to expand their research and training. Lamplight Donor Services accepts whole-body donors for the purpose of science, education, and research. We partner with organizations that will process, cremate and provide cremains to the next of kin.

Now more than ever, individuals are committed to being good stewards of our resources for the good of the planet and society’s well-being as a whole. The altruism movement continues to grow as people make it a priority to give back today and in the future.


  • Am I Eligible to Donate?

We are committed to accepting 100% of all interested donors in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

There are a lot of reasons to become a whole-body donor: altruism, environmental consciousness, furthering medical science, making use of a precious resource, and cost; to name a few. In order to best serve our donors and their families with these goals, we accept all donors regardless of: age, BMI, disease status, condition of remains, medical history, social history, or any other qualifier, at no cost to the estate or next-of-kin.

Once we receive the donor, a full evaluation is completed to determine the viability of the donor for research. If the donor is unable to be accepted by research programs it will be cremated with no expense to the next-of-kin and without revealing confidential medical information to loved ones.

  • How can we afford to accept all donors?

Lamplight Donor Services is an organization with a commitment to helping Midwest families and giving back to the community. For that reason, we absorb expenses related to whole-body donation, regardless of whether the donor is viable or not.

Other donation programs frequently have stringent requirements for a donor’s health history and body condition. If a donor is initially accepted into other programs, and later found to be ineligible for donation, the next-of-kin may become responsible for the remains and expenses related to transport and cremation. This is not who we want to be.

In our commitment to be the most compassionate company in this industry, Lamplight will not refuse any donation. To be clear, not all donors will be viable for research, and in those instances, the donor will be sent directly to cremation without any cost to the estate or next-of-kin for the transport, permits or cremation.

  • What if a donor has a communicable disease, high BMI, or is in bad condition?

We will accept all donors, but there are many conditions that may make a donor unacceptable for medical research and education, including: HIV+, history of Hepatitis B or C, other communicable diseases (such as MRSA, severe sepsis, gangrene, necrotizing fasciitis, etc.) extremely high or low BMI, excessive decomposition, or major trauma the donor’s body (such as death by severe impact or fire). 

Lamplight will accept these donors and each will be evaluated to determine its viability for medical research and education. If the donor is considered to be unacceptable for research, we will have the donor cremated and return the ashes as with all accepted donors, at no cost to the estate or next-of-kin.

  • What costs are involved?

Lamplight absorbs many costs related to accepting donors, including: transportation from the coroner’s office or place of death, serological testing, filing of death certificate, state-mandated permits and the cost of shipping cremated remains. None of this expense will ever be charged to the family.

In order to better serve families, we do ask them to cover the at-cost expense of any death certificates they choose to purchase, as well as the shipping cost of cremains. We can ship most cremains for $40, but that may vary based on location or special circumstances.

  • What happens at the time of death?

Once the donor has passed away, please contact us immediately, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 847-220-8757.

Upon completion of authorization documents, we will make arrangements with a licensed funeral director to transport the donor to our facility.

When the donor arrives an evaluation is completed and blood samples are collected and shipped out to a national lab to test for HIV, Hepatitis B & C. Once the donor clears testing, they are transferred to our partner for processing and use in research and education programs.

  • How do I obtain a death certificate?

Please let us know if you’ll need us to provide a death certificate or any copies and they will be mailed to you at cost. 

  • Is it possible to have a service prior to donation?

Yes. However, we are not able to accept previously embalmed donors, so you may need to find a funeral home that is willing to do a visitation without embalming.

If a service is planned, please just let us know and we will arrange for transport from the funeral home.

  • What is the difference between organ donation and whole-body donation?

Organ donation and whole-body donation are different processes and serve different goals. You can be an organ donor and whole-body donor. Organ donation allows for the transplantation of specific organs or tissue from a person after brain-death. To be an organ donor, you can register at any DMV.

Whole-body donation takes place after death. None of the tissues or organs will be used in transplantation in any living person. Whole-body donation serves to provide access to human specimens for the process of continuing education, medical research and product design outside of medical schools.

The whole-body donation can be completed in conjunction with organ donation and is an option for most donors, even if they do not qualify as an organ donor.

  • Can organs be donated in addition to whole-body donation?


  • How will your body be used?

Donations through our program are used for a massive array of medical research and education purposes. Frequently donors are used for surgical training, continuing education, designing new surgical techniques and equipment.

Our donors are able to impact the quality of medicine in many specialties, including:

  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Aesthetics
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pulmonology
  • Many more

  • Will my family receive my ashes back?

All next-of-kin are given the option to receive a portion of the cremated remains. Typically cremains are received within 3-6 months and will be shipped to the next-of-kin in a cardboard box. Next-of-kin also have the option of providing an urn of their choice to Lamplight for encapsulation and return of ashes.

We ask for families to contribute to help pay the shipping costs of cremains. Frequently, shipping is $40, however the cost may vary depending on the location or special circumstances.

  • When should I register to donate?

If you are thinking about donating your body to science, please give us a call at 847-220-8757. 

If you have been admitted to a hospital or care facility, please provide our number to them so they can be in contact at the appropriate time.

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