Though organ donation has become a relatively well recognised action across the UK not as many people know that they can donate their bodies to medical science if they so choose. Unlike organ donation, in which viable organs are harvested and transplanted into those who need them in order to live, the donation of a body to medical science means that the body is transferred in its entirety to a nearby medical school. There it is used for training purposes. If you are considering donating your body to medical science, please continue reading for some answers to frequently asked questions about this subject.
Why Should I Donate My Body to Medical Science? The donation of bodies to medical science is vital for medical schools. Bodies are used for dissections which are conducted as a method of teaching and learning and they are needed for surgeons to train with. Bodies are sometimes also photographed for teaching and learning purposes.
If I Do Decide to Donate, Does A Medical School Have to Accept My Body? In short, no. Medical schools will only accept bodies once they have had a chance to examine them. Generally medical schools publish guidelines on why they will or will not accept bodies for donation.
What Happens if a Medical School Does Not Accept My Body? If your body is not accepted by a medical school your family will become responsible for your remains.
If My Body Is Accepted, What Happens After It Has Been Used? On the donation form you have the option of whether you would like your body to be used by the medical school for three years or if you would be happy to have the medical school keep it for as long as it is worthwhile for them to do so. Regardless of the option you choose, at the end of that time period your body will be cremated. This cremation will include a short service and will be individual, not a mass cremation. Your ashes may be received by a designated person if you would like them to be.
If I Die Suddenly, Can My Family or Executor Donate My Body for Me?No. Donations can only be made by the individual and must be made in writing using the appropriate forms.
If I Become Incapacitated, Can the Individual with Power of Attorney Donate My Body? No. Again, donations can only be made by the individual and must be made in writing using the appropriate forms.
What Arrangements Must I Make for Donating My Body to Medical Science? You must be over the age of 17 to donate your body to medical science. The wish to donate your body to medical science must be made in writing via a consent form that can be obtained from the Bequethal Secretary of your local medical school. You should send this form back to the school, but retain a copy for your own records and a copy to be kept with your will. You should also express your wish to donate your body to medical science in writing and have it witnessed. Finally, you should inform your next of kin and/or the executor of your will of this wish.
How Can I Find Out More About Donating My Body to Medical Science?
The Human Tissues Authority is the organisation which oversees the donation of bodies to medical science. The HTA can be contacted at www.hta.gov.uk.
Areyou aware of any self help groups or on-line forums to help the relatives of donors to medical science?My mum in law donated her body to the LAO.Our local bereavement counselling service have never come across this situation so cannot offer specific help.I have emailed the LAO but have had no response and cannot find anything on their site
Rob - 5-Aug-14 @ 8:07 PM
@Linda Lou. Yes you can still do this, but you need to make sure the medical school and your family are aware of your wishes. The medical school will return the body for the funeral.
FacingBereavement - 5-Aug-14 @ 11:36 AM
I have bought and paid for my funeral but would like to donate my body to medical research. Can I still do this?
Linda Lou - 2-Aug-14 @ 3:15 PM
@ Rudi. No, arrangements would be made to take your body to the medical organisation you have your agreement with.
FacingBereavement - 22-Jul-14 @ 1:40 PM
I have filled in forms for the London School of Anatomy for the event of my death. Of course, I may be some distance away at the time. Is there are general form I can fill in so that the nearest school of anatomy may receive it?
Rudi - 22-Jul-14 @ 10:11 AM
@Bazz. Your nearest medical school accepting body donations is the University of Cambridge. The contact details are as follows: Lynn Haythorpe, Dept of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DY. Tel: 01223 333776.
FacingBereavement - 23-Jun-14 @ 2:17 PM
can you please supply address's of who to register your body to science . I live Clacton essex
bazz - 20-Jun-14 @ 4:54 PM
My father donated his body to Leeds University as he lived in Carlisle, however, they were unable to accept him as they were full.My father died at hospital in Winchester, Hampshire and the Bereavement Officer at the Hospital suggest I try Southampton or the London Anatomy Office as they will take referrals. Unfortunately, Southampton were also full, however the London Anatomy Office were able to take him.It was such a relief to be able to carry out his request, albeit not to the school he had requested.They arranged to come and collect Dad from Winchester and transport him to London (£200 fee). He was adamant that he wanted others to benefit from his body after he died after hearing an article on the radio about the UK having to import bodies from abroad for our futrure Drs and surgeons to learn on!.I am now filling in the forms to donate myself to Southampton as I live within their catchment area currently.
shezkat - 18-Dec-13 @ 3:43 PM
I do not know where my local ' Medicl School is ' so I can contact them for the correct forms. Many thanks. Fred.
Fred - 8-Mar-13 @ 11:39 AM
i want any infomation on leaving my body to medical science, and any forms required to FLAT B58 DALMORTON ROAD ,NEWBRIGHTON,WIRRAL, MERSEYSIDE CH451LF
none - 31-Oct-12 @ 3:54 PM
want to donate my body to medical sience and request all relivent forms
baly - 31-Oct-12 @ 3:24 PM
i want any infomation on leaving my body to medical science, and any forms required to so dontec at
none - 31-Oct-12 @ 3:11 PM
I would like to consider donating my body after my death but I am not sure if there is a medical school in my area. Can you please advise me as to this regard. I live in the north manchester area (bury). Thankyou PB.
pb - 11-Oct-12 @ 6:57 PM
I am suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis and would like to leave my body for research into this field and help to find a treatmen for this condition. How do I go abou getting the relavant forms.
ChrisNOT - 5-Aug-12 @ 10:28 AM
I would like to donatae my body following death...I live in Consett Co.Durham Who can I speak too regarding this matter
jack - 10-Jul-12 @ 6:35 PM
I don't know where my 'local medical school' is. All write ups say the form must be obtained from The Bereavement Officer of the school. Can you please supply the address of the school relative to Shildon, County Durham DL4. Thank you- Jan
Janny - 4-Jun-12 @ 6:17 PM
where is my nearest donation centre i live in plymouth.
james pearce - 12-Mar-12 @ 3:12 PM
can you please supply address,s of who to register your body to science.i live in brighton sussen,england.
supanee - 2-Mar-12 @ 10:37 AM
I have already left my remains to a medical school in the north of England and then my son will recieve my ashes three years later.Thisprocedure has obviously been discussed with him at great length as I have always been very open about death .The greatest good we can do after death is to donate organs or our body.
Write or email your local medical school and they will send you the forms to fill in.
Joy - 5-Sep-11 @ 9:55 PM
How do I register to leave my body to medical science ?
ezz - 25-Aug-11 @ 2:48 PM
if i did donate my body what would happen to my funeral plan (bought and paid for)
jack14 - 3-Jul-11 @ 7:19 AM
I have one Kidney , suffer from an under active Thyroid Gland , High Blood Pressure , Yet I feel that when I die Science should be able to view and look at my body in all it's fraility , not from a perfect eye but from a ," This is what this woman health was at her time of death ) " , so as to help Medical Students understand what a body that was failing looked like. I'm a smoker and feel my lungs would be of interest , I have had four children, surely my bones would be of use. I had cancer and should've died at 27yrs old yet I'm now ( @ time of writing ) 57yrs old. I'm also of Afro-Carribean -Irish DNA, I know not many of us from my background who offer up our bodies to Science.
Cathy - 18-May-11 @ 6:20 PM
Really want to do this have never managed to get the forms though
How can the validation be incorrect there are only 3 letters for heaven's sake