Donating your body to a medical school is a valuable gift - your donation will become an important resource for training healthcare professionals or for research.
Body donations are highly valued at medical schools. A donated body can be used for a number of purposes, which may include:
- Anatomical examination – teaching students or healthcare professionals about the structure and function of the human body.
- Research – scientific studies which to improve the understanding of the human body.
- Education and training – training healthcare professionals on surgical techniques.
How to donate your body
Anyone can decide to donate their body, and medical schools welcome the offer of a donation. If you are interested in donating your body, you will need to contact a medical school for further information and a consent form.
Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, written and witnessed consent for anatomical examination must be given prior to death. Consent cannot be given by anyone else after your death. A consent form can be obtained from your local medical school and a copy should be kept with your Will. You should also inform your family, close friends, and GP that you wish to donate your body.
Medical schools which accept donated bodies will normally only accept donations from within their local area due to the transport costs involved. Offers of body donation from outside the area may be accepted on the condition that the donor’s estate bears the cost of transporting the body.
Do medical schools accept all bodies?
There are various reasons why medical schools may decline the offer of a donation; they can give you more information about this when you contact them. For example, certain medical conditions may lead to the offer being declined. If a post-mortem examination (sometimes referred to as an ‘autopsy’) is needed, this may also mean that a medical school declines the offer of a body donation.
If a person wishes to register for both organ donation and body donation, the HTA recommends that the person ensures that those closest to them are aware of their wishes and includes these wishes in their Will.
Should you wish to donate your body for organ transplant or for post mortem examination and educational purposes then you need to register and complete the appropriate consent forms under the Human Tissues Act 2004, below are the details and contact numbers for doing this:
How to register
You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by:
Filling in a form online at https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/
Calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23
(Lines are open 24 hours a day all year round. Calls are charged at your contracted rate for local calls)
You can also join when you are:
Registering for a driving licence
Applying for a Boots Advantage card
Registering at a GP surgery
Registering for a European Health Insurance card (EHIC)
Leaflets are also displayed in GP surgeries, libraries and many hospitals and pharmacies.
For further information or assistance, please contact us via:
Telephone: (01529) 306005 or