Full access tour of valley full body donation facility - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Full access tour of valley full body donation facility

This area is where body tissue is removed before being sent for research. This area is where body tissue is removed before being sent for research.
Body parts are kept wrapped, sealed, tagged and frozen before being sent to research facilities. Body parts are kept wrapped, sealed, tagged and frozen before being sent to research facilities.
Reminders like this one are posted throughout Research for Life's facility. Reminders like this one are posted throughout Research for Life's facility.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Gail Myers and her husband made the choice to donate their bodies to science.

"We interviewed more than one company before we made the decision," explained Myers.

Though they chose a different facility, the news about the investigation and FBI raid into the Biological Resource Center (BRC), a full-body donation facility here in the valley, has them concerned.

"Honestly my first reaction was just really heart break," said Myers.

The news of the raid is also sending shock waves throughout the tissue bank industry.

"You're not sure what's going on. You're hoping for the best," said John Cover, the Chief Operating Officer at Research for Life, another tissue bank just a few blocks from BRC.

Cover allowed CBS 5's cameras in for a full access tour of the facility, including where some of the donated bodies and body parts are stored before being sent throughout the country to research facilities.

"This is Research for Life's donor database. Every last step of the process is traced and tracked," explained Cover, showing CBS 5's Greg Argos a computer database system that tracked all human donations.

Cover explained that each donor is given a specific anonymous ID, which travels with them throughout the entire research process. It ensures that a body or body part being used for education in another location cannot be identified by those studying it.

The Research for Life Facility in southeast Phoenix is where the process beings. The entire center is under constant video surveillance. There are also constant reminders for employees about the sensitivity of their work.

"Everything is about being appropriate if you want to lend dignity to the donors and the families," said Cover.

In fact, any tissue that is not used for research is cremated and returned, by hand, to family members.

During the tour, CBS 5 was granted access into the rear portion of the facility where human donations are processed and prepared for transport. This section is entirely self-contained. Human remains are stored in one large walk-in refrigerator before being brought into a second attached room. Employees there remove any tissue needed for research before the parts are wrapped, sealed, tagged and stored in another attached freezer.

"We're just a conduit. We're steward of this gift to allow this to happen," said Cover.

Copyright 2014 CBS5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation).All rights reserved.

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