Brain Donor Registration
Becoming a prospective tissue donor is easy. Any person 18 years of age or older can contact the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (HBTRC) at 800.BRAIN.BANK (800.272.4622) to learn more about becoming a donor. Or you can download a Registration Form and mail or Fax it to the HBTRC at the following address:
Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center
115 Mill Street, Mail Stop 138
Belmont, MA 02478
It is most important to inform your family – next of kin or other legally authorized representative - that you have registered for potential brain donation at the HBTRC, and make sure they know to call the HBTRC (immediately) at the time of your death. HBTRC must rely on your legal next of kin/legally authorized representative to contact HBTRC in order to effectuate your request to donate your brain. HBTRC will not solicit donations or initiate a follow-up based on your registration.
Whether donation is pre-planned/pre-registered or it is a last minute decision on the part of the legal next of kin or other legally authorized representative, it’s always a good idea to discuss your interest in brain donation with your family in advance. This helps families to understand and be prepared to honor the donor’s wish, avoid any misunderstandings and facilitates the donation process.
Families should understand that under the Massachusetts Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, an individual’s decision to make a donation of his/her organs and/or tissues (which includes making a gift of one’s brain) shall be complied with and shall not require the consent or concurrence of another individual after the potential donor’s death. If your family member has made a binding decision to donate his/her brain to HBTRC, please inform HBTRC of that decision when you contact HBTRC at the time of the potential donor’s death.
If a binding decision to donate has not already been made by a potential donor, then at the time of the death of a potential donor, the legal next of kin will need to be available to review and sign a “Postmortem Authorization for Brain Donation,” (Informed Legal Consent) for the donation to HBTRC. This is because an individual's body becomes the property of their estate at the time of their death. Please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information on consent hierarchy/authority.
A Registration for brain donation can be withdrawn at any time by writing to the HBTRC.