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Donating Your Body to Medical Science

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 13 May 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Donation To Science body Donation

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.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Jane - Your Question:
Hello,I'm in a quandry. I am on the donor register but also thinking of donating my body to medical science. The idea of extending someone elses life through donation is obviously very appealing. I understand that the body has to be intact for it to be donated to science. Is it possible to be listed as both so that if body parts cant be used then my body can then be donated?I guess the other option is to opt for medical science if I become terminally ill.Also is it possible to choose the University you wish to donate your body to? I work for a University and I would like my body donated to the place I work.Thank you.

Our Response:
Contact the relevant medical school and ask for answers to these questions. Many of them have slightly different policies. You can find out which medical schools accept body donations etc here
FacingBereavement - 16-May-16 @ 12:25 PM
Hello, I'm in a quandry.I am on the donor register but also thinking of donating my body to medical science.The idea of extending someone elses life through donation is obviously very appealing.I understand that the body has to be intact for it to be donated to science.Is it possible to be listed as both so that if body parts cant be used then my body can then be donated? I guess the other option is to opt for medical science if I become terminally ill. Also is it possible to choose the University you wish to donate your body to?I work for a University and I would like my body donated to the place I work. Thank you.
Jane - 13-May-16 @ 10:40 AM
Sonia - Your Question:
I have already signed the body donation forms. Someone local I know had her donation refused when she died. I know this may happen. Several people have said that it is less likely that your body would be accepted as you age. Is this true? Does the liklehood decline when you are 70, 80, 90? I ask because if as I age it becomes less and less likely then I would want to buy a funeral plan to make it all easier for my daughter and might regretfully consider withdrawing my donation.

Our Response:
You will need to ask your own medical school (where you signed the forms) for more information about this.
FacingBereavement - 29-Apr-16 @ 11:50 AM
I have already signed the body donation forms. Someone local I know had her donation refused when she died. I know this may happen. Several people have said that it is less likely that your body would be accepted as you age. Is this true? Does the liklehood decline when you are 70, 80, 90?I ask because if as I age it becomes less and less likely then I would want to buy a funeral plan to make it all easier for my daughter and might regretfully consider withdrawing my donation.
Sonia - 27-Apr-16 @ 10:46 PM
I would like to donate my body to science. I live in Cumbria. Who do I contact?
cyn - 24-Apr-16 @ 2:13 PM
FacingBereavement - Your Question:
longprick - Your Question:
Can any family or friends attend the cremation?
.
Our Response:

Our Response:
Sometimes a medical school will hold a service - you should contact the relevant medical school to see what their policy.
FacingBereavement - 20-Apr-16 @ 11:56 AM
longprick - Your Question:
Can any family or friends attend the cremation?

Our Response:
FacingBereavement - 20-Apr-16 @ 11:55 AM
Can any family or friends attend the cremation?
longprick - 18-Apr-16 @ 1:34 PM
Debbie - Your Question:
I've had heart attack & damaged arteries if I die of heart failure would I still be accepted for medical science? I used to drink heavily too (not now) so could also have enlarged liver. What's the age limit?

Our Response:
The best thing to do would be to ask your nearest medical school that accepts donations. They may be interested in examining organs that have been damaged etc.
FacingBereavement - 31-Mar-16 @ 12:11 PM
I've had heart attack & damaged arteries if I die of heart failure would I still be accepted for medical science? I used to drink heavily too (not now) so could also have enlarged liver. What's the age limit?
Debbie - 28-Mar-16 @ 10:26 PM
mr&mrsroberts - Your Question:
We are both thinking off donating our bodies to science on death but don 'know how to go about this, we live in the east Yorkshire area of uk could you please let us know how.

Our Response:
We don't know exactly where you are in East Yorkshire but it's likely that one of two medical schools will accept body donations. Contacts for Sheffield University are: Jane Collins or Wendy Howard, tel:0114 222 4642 or email j.collins@sheffield.ac.uk or w.howard@sheffield.ac.uk. You could also write to: The Medical Teaching Unit, Department of Biomedical Science, Addison Building, Sheffield, S10 2TN.
Contact for Hull University is Jackie Houlton, tel: 01482 464750 email Jackie.houlton@hyms.ac.uk. Or write to University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull, HU6 7RX
FacingBereavement - 22-Mar-16 @ 12:48 PM
We are both thinking off donating our bodies to science on death but don 'know how to go about this, we live in the east Yorkshire area of uk could you please let us know how.
mr&mrsroberts - 21-Mar-16 @ 10:42 AM
I live in Barnsley area of Yorkshire & wish to leave my body to Medical Science. Please advise who I should Contact. PUT
Inky - 19-Mar-16 @ 9:35 PM
Kath - Your Question:
Who do I get in touch with to donate my body I live in north wales

Our Response:
Try contacting the University of Liverpool Medical school, Contact: Dee Tully,Tel: 0151 794 5442 email: body-donation@liverpool.ac.uk or dmtully@liverpool.ac.uk
FacingBereavement - 18-Mar-16 @ 1:53 PM
Tim - Your Question:
I would like to donate my body to medical science. I live in Wiltshire, please could you tell me who I need to contact? Thank you.

Our Response:
Dependingon the area of Wiltshire you're in, then it will be the medical schools at either Oxford or Bristol. Contact details are as follows:
Oxford Bequest Office
Tel: 01865 272181
bequests@dpag.ox.ac.uk
or Bristol Medical School
Contact: Sue Foot
Tel: 0117 954 6203
sue.foot@bristol.ac.uk
FacingBereavement - 17-Mar-16 @ 2:27 PM
Who do I get in touch with to donate my body I live in north wales
Kath - 16-Mar-16 @ 6:14 PM
I would like to donate my body to medical science. I live in Wiltshire, please could you tell me who I need to contact? Thank you.
Tim - 16-Mar-16 @ 1:15 PM
I live in Leicestershire who do I contact to leave my body to science
dont have one - 10-Mar-16 @ 6:59 PM
Susan Harrison - Your Question:
Why would a Medical School refuse a body?

Our Response:
These are the reasons the Human Tissue Authority gives:
"All medical schools welcome the offer of a donation. However, certain medical conditions may lead to the offer being declined. Medical schools can give you more information about these conditions and any other reasons why a body donation may be declined.
Post-mortem examination (sometimes referred to as an ‘autopsy’) is an important reason why a medical school might decline the offer of a body donation. We recommend that potential donors and their families are prepared to consider alternative arrangements in these circumstances, which can arise unexpectedly. Depending on the circumstances of a person’s death, a Coroner might require, by law, that a post-mortem examination takes place.
It is important to note that medical schools might not be able to accept donated bodies during holiday periods, such as Christmas."
More information
FacingBereavement - 7-Mar-16 @ 2:03 PM
Why would a Medical School refuse a body? ...
Susan Harrison - 4-Mar-16 @ 11:33 AM
Hi - I live in East Kent....who (and where) would I need to contact to leave my body to medical science? Kind regards
hdub - 3-Mar-16 @ 11:15 AM
I live in Helston Cornwall and would like to arrange to leave my body to medical science.Could you give me details of how this can be arranged and as I have no family, what will happen if the medical school decline my body?
Robbo - 1-Mar-16 @ 12:35 PM
phizzyt - Your Question:
I live in Cardiff and have been considering leaving my body to medical science. Can you please tell me who I contact to make further enquiries?Also, once my body is finished with, will it be disposed of by the medical establishment or does the remains have to be handed back to next of kin for burial?Kind regards,Philip

Our Response:
Your medical school is at University of Cardiff, School of Biosciences. Contact: Mr Swaran Yarnell, Mrs Lisa Jones or Ms Bethan McCarthy on 02920 874370 or on the following emails respectively: yarnellsg@cardiff.ac.uk, meadl1@cardiff.ac.uk, mccarthyb2@cardiff.ac.uk.
Your remains are given back for burial.
FacingBereavement - 24-Feb-16 @ 2:42 PM
I live in Cardiff and have been considering leaving my body to medical science. Can you please tell me who I contact to make further enquiries? Also, once my body is finished with, will it be disposed of by the medical establishment or does the remains have to be handed back to next of kin for burial? Kind regards, Philip
phizzyt - 23-Feb-16 @ 7:47 PM
Mandy - Your Question:
I would definitely like to donate my body to medical science. Please can you tell me who I contact. I live in Brighton East Sussex. Thank you

Our Response:
You can contact the donations officer at Kings College London as follows:
Tel: 020 7848 8042 or email lao@kcl.ac.uk.
Or write to
The London Anatomy office
5.7, 5th Floor Hodgkin Building
King's College London
London
SE1 1UL
FacingBereavement - 23-Feb-16 @ 2:26 PM
I would definitely like to donate my body to medical science. Please can you tell me who I contact. I live in Brighton East Sussex. Thank you
Mandy - 22-Feb-16 @ 6:27 PM
I would like to leave my body to medical science I'm from Doncaster who would I get in touch with about this O Out this O thisTOm
mo - 20-Feb-16 @ 10:15 PM
Vinnie - Your Question:
I'd like to leave my body to medical science. I live in Blackburn, Lancashire. Who would I contact?

Our Response:
Contact Dee Tully at the University of Liverpool. The number is 0151 794 5442 or email body-donation@liverpool.ac.uk or dmtully@liverpool.ac.uk (link sends e-mail)
FacingBereavement - 19-Feb-16 @ 11:18 AM
Bex - Your Question:
I'd like to leave my body to science I live in Suffolk how do I find out what I have to do regards Rebecca

Our Response:
You need to contact: Lynn Haythorpe at the Human Anatomy Centre of Cambridge University. Her number is: 01223 333776 or email leh42@cam.ac.uk. You can also write to:
The Human Anatomy Centre, Dept PDN
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge
CB2 3DY
FacingBereavement - 19-Feb-16 @ 10:51 AM
I'd like to leave my body to medical science. I live in Blackburn, Lancashire. Who would I contact?
Vinnie - 18-Feb-16 @ 10:40 AM
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