Autism BrainNet accepts postmortem brain donation from individuals of any age who have a diagnosis of autism or a genetic diagnosis associated with autism. This includes individuals with a diagnosis of Angelman syndrome, Dup15q syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, SCN2A-related conditions or other genetic diagnosis associated with autism.
Autism BrainNet also accepts donations from individuals (up to 50 years of age) who do not have a diagnosis of autism or known serious neurologic or psychiatric condition. This is because researchers need to compare individuals with and without autism to identify the brain changes associated with autism.
If you would like to become a brain donor, it is important to let your family know. Your family can help carry out your decision (when death is near or has occurred) by calling Autism BrainNet toll-free at 877-333-0999. Our staff is available 24/7 and will walk your family through the donation process. It is recommended that you also inform your attorney, clergy, and healthcare provider of your intent to donate to Autism BrainNet.
You and your family can download and print the Intent to Donate Postmortem Brain Tissue for Research information sheet and include it in healthcare directive or preplanning documents, provide it to the funeral home and share it with your family. You can also download and print the Autism BrainNet Brain Donor Card.
While the goal of Autism BrainNet is to accommodate all interested donors, if the health status of a particular donor does not meet Autism BrainNet’s inclusion criteria, we will assist families in exploring other brain donation programs.
Most organ donation registries do not include brain donation. This is because donated brain tissue can only be used for research purposes and not transplantation. Autism BrainNet donors can also be organ donors. Autism BrainNet encourages organ donation to save lives whenever possible. However, Autism BrainNet does not accept whole-body donations.