You and your family’s decision to make a brain donation is a precious gift of life. If you would like additional information, please give us a call. All information is kept confidential.

How to Donate

There are two ways a brain may be donated.

  1. Prospective donors may contact the the Southwest Brain Bank (SWBB) at any time and register with the Longitudinal Donation Program. A representative will discuss the donation process with you and take your medical and psychiatric information. The SWBB will periodically contact you to keep your information current.
  1. The next of kin may give consent for brain donation at the time of death. We first obtain general medical information. About six weeks later, SWBB staff will conduct an in-depth interview with the family about the deceased.

Donation Qualifications

Brain donations are a gift to future generations. Any adult — with or without a mental illness — can donate. The SWBB accepts donations from individuals who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and other mental illnesses. Donations from individuals who have never been diagnosed with a mental illness are used to make comparisons to the brains of individuals with mental illnesses.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept donations from individuals who have been on a ventilator or have certain infectious illnesses.

The Donation Process

Brain donation must take place as soon as possible after death in order to preserve the tissue for research. The brain is removed during autopsy at the morgue, hospital or funeral home, and is then transported to the SWBB. The procedure allows for an open casket or other traditional funeral arrangement. Brain donation is accepted by most religions. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept donations from individuals with certain illnesses such as infectious diseases. In most circumstances, there is no cost for brain donation. After the donation, funeral arrangements remain the responsibility of the family.