The Department of Anatomy at Mayo Clinic uses biocremation as a method of final disposition for our whole-body donors. Mayo Clinic offers biocremation at no cost to whole-body donors.
The biocremation method, known as alkaline hydrolysis, is similar to many physiological processes that occur naturally in the body. Biocremation converts tissue and cells of the human body into a watery solution of micromolecules, leaving the bone structure of mineral compounds, such as calcium and phosphates. Since biocremation is not a combustion process, it is environmentally friendly and does not produce toxic gases or air pollutants. The biocremated remains are reduced to a powder consistency, placed in a temporary container and may be returned to the family or interred in the Mayo vault at the Oakwood Cemetery.
The cremation facility at Mayo Clinic is regulated and licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health. To ensure privacy and dignity, donated bodies do not leave the facility at the conclusion of the studies unless the family requests an alternate option. For further questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact one of our donor program coordinators at 507-284-2693.