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Donating a body for medical research is completely different to organ donation.

The Anatomy Act of 1832 first made it possible to leave a body to medical science; prior to this only executed prisoner could be used for such purposes and this gave rise to the appalling antics of grave robbers, such as the infamous Burke and Hare.

Little can be done in advance of death other than demonstrating interest but this is not binding upon Executors.

At the time of death contact would be made with one of the medical schools and they will decide whether to accept the deceased or not. The usual place of enquiry for our area is Southampton University School of Medicine, telephone 023 8059 4408. Beyond this, distance makes the likelihood of acceptance less.

Assuming the body is accepted, the medical school will collect the deceased and will use it at their discretion for research and dissection.

When they have finished with the body, usually after two years, they will arrange and pay for the respectful disposal by cremation.

Most applications are declined, purely because of supply and demand. However other factors will make acceptance less likely, such as, but not limited to:-

  • An autopsy having taken place
  • Organs having been removed for donation
  • Certain causes of death, particularly Cancer
  • If death took place more than a day or so before

While it is difficult to have a traditional funeral when the body is donated, there is no reason why the family should not have a memorial service instead to commemorate the life; we would be pleased to discuss the possibilities with you.