Donating your body to science

Last updated on 16 Aug 2013

What happens if I donate my body to science?

If you donate (or bequest) your body to medical science after you die to a medical institution such as Newcastle University, your body may be used

  • to teach anatomy to medical and dental students and other health care professionals
  • for surgical training, education or research 

How do I arrange to donate my body to medical science?

  1. Contact The Bequeathal Secretary - Newcastle University for more information and to  ask for a bequest pack.
  2. Read through the bequest pack and discuss your wishes with your next-of-kin/executor so that they know your intentions and agree to carry out your wishes after your death.
  3. Complete two Bequest Consent Forms in the presence of a witness (this may be a spouse/partner, next-of-kin, executor, friend, solicitor, etc).  Return one copy to the Bequeathal Secretary so that your name can be included in the register of potential donors.  Keep the second copy (with your will, perhaps).


Can anyone donate their body to science?

It's not always possible to guarantee that everyone can donate their body to science. The main reasons that a body may not be accepted for donation are if:

  • there has to be a Coroner's post mortem;
  • a person dies abroad;
  • there is a severe infection (e.g. hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV, MRSA, septicaemia);
  • a person has Alzheimer's disease or senile dementia of unknown cause;
  • a person has had a recent operation (where the wound has not healed);
  • a person has bed sores, varicose ulcers, oedema.

However it is possible to consider donations from people who have cancer.

What happens when I die?

  1. The The Bequeathal Secretary - Newcastle University  should be notified of your death by telephone as soon as possible during normal office hours Mondays to Fridays.  
  2. A decision regarding the acceptance of the bequest will be made as quickly as possible . For deaths occurring over a weekend, arrangements should be made for the body to be moved to a local funeral director (with refrigeration facilities); then the Bequeathal Secretary should be telephoned on the next working day. 

If you die away from Newcastle

If the death occurs away from Newcastle, the Human Tissue Authority should be contacted as soon as possible. The Human Tissue Authority will give you the contact details of the local medical school. 

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