Chicago Brain Registry

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Donation Hotline

EXT. #3

Hotline open M-F 8:00 am – 8:30 am
The Hotline (Ext. 3) is reserved for calls at the time of death.

To learn more about donation or plan for donation prior to death, please feel free to contact us anytime at 855-828-8677 Ext. 2.


Joining the Chicago Brain Registry begins the process of brain donation. Your gift will be used to advance the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, MS, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body disease, essential tremor and others. Even if you do not have one of these conditions, you may be able to donate. Many researchers study healthy brains to learn more about what makes others diseased.

The Process

Donation at the time of death
If you wish to donate your loved one’s brain at the time of death, please call the Donation Hotline (855-828-8677 ext.3). The Hotline is open Monday through Friday briefly (8:00 am to 8:30 am). The death must occur the day prior to your call. Please see the grey box on this page for details.

Planning for donation before the death occurs

To facilitate donation, you may enroll in the Chicago Brain Registry. This will greatly facilitate screening and possible donation at the time of death. While enrollment in the Chicago Brain Registry is not required, we strongly encourage it.

Enrolling in the Chicago Brain Registry does NOT authorize or guarantee brain donation. Enrolling in the Chicago Brain Registry authorizes us to contact you and your legal next of kin (or power of attorney for health care). Your legal next of kin (or power of attorney for health care) will also need to provide authorization at the time of death. Please be sure to let them know your wishes. Because we work with researchers across the nation, we cannot usually offer “First Person Consent.” It depends on the laws of the state where our research partner resides and their consent process. In addition, your legal next of kin (or power of attorney for health care) will still need to call the Donation Hotline at the time of death. The Donation Hotline operates on a first-come-first-serve basis.


All information submitted electronically through this form is confidential. You may register at any time and contact us at any time. However, we will only contact you when you let us know during registration that you anticipate death within six (6) months or less. You may withdraw your registration at any time. Just contact us to let us know you wishes. There is never a charge to you or your family to donate. In some cases, we are funded cover the cost of the first leg of body transport to the funeral home. Brain donation is different from regular organ donation in many ways. All brain organs and tissue are provided to research laboratories. No brain tissue is transplanted into another person. Enrollment does not guarantee that you will be able to make a donation. Each research program has its own medical and research requirements.
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Calling the Hotline:

Only the legal next of kin or power of attorney for health care may request brain donation. You must speak with a live person while the hotline is open. We apologize we are unable to return messages left on the hotline. Death must occur within the day prior to your call. We are unable to accept all donations (subject to medical and other considerations).

You may call the Hotline even if you have not registered with the Chicago Brain Registry.

The hotline (Ext. 3) is reserved for calls at the time of death. For general or planning inquires prior to the death, you may call us anytime (Ext. 2).


Enrolling in the Chicago Brain Registry:

You may enroll in the Chicago Brain Registry to facilitate donation of your own brain. Please read the information on this page to decide if you wish to enroll or contact us with questions.

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Example logistics at time of death:

8:00-8:30 am
Call Donation Hotline to speak to a live person. We will learn about your loved one’s medical condition and review your information.

8:30-10:00 am
Next of Kin: Please be available to complete our consent via phone. Please be available to receive a call from the research program to complete their consent. Please have funeral home contact information ready (contact name, number and address).
Funeral Home: Autopsy Center will call the funeral home to confirm they are in possession of the body and confirm logistics.

10:00 am-12:00 pm Autopsy Center staff will travel to Funeral Home for brain removal.

12:00-2:00 pm Removal of brain, preparation of brain for mailing, completion of work at funeral home.

2:00-3:00 pm Pick-up of packaged brain by courier.