Body Bequeathal

A knowledge of human anatomy is vital for safe clinical practice. Although this knowledge may be gained in many ways during training, the study of the dissected human body remains the “gold standard”. Individuals decide in advance to donate their body after their death: their altruistic decision is a highly valued contribution to the training of future generations of doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals.

A donated body can be used for a number of possible purposes:
  • Anatomical examination:  to teach the normal three dimensional structure of the human body to students or healthcare professionals.
  • Research: to undertake scientific studies designed to improve our understanding of the structure and function of the human body in health and disease.
  • Education and training: to train healthcare professionals, especially surgeons-in-training, in surgical techniques.

Anatomical donations are governed by different legislation depending onwhere you live.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Anatomical donations are governed by the Human Tissue Act 2004, under this Act, 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 nearest 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. If you are interested in donating your body to medical education, please contact your local medical school. The contact details for all UK Medical Schools are on the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) website. If you are contacting a Medical School within London, contact the London Anatomy Office.

Scotland
Anatomical donations are governed by the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006, under this Act, 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 nearest medical school and a copy should be kept with your Will. Youshould also inform your family, close friends and GP that you wish to donate your body. The contact details for all UK Medical Schools are on the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) website.
 
Ireland
Anatomical donations are governed by the Anatomy Act 1832 (the Medical Council is the licensing authority under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007). Under this Act, written and witnessed consent for anatomical examination must be given. A consent form can be obtained from your nearest 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.

Please note that Medical Schools will normally only accept donations from within their local area. 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. Several Medical Schools are also involved in research requiring donated bodies. Your nearest School will be able to advise you.