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How to donate your body

Human bodies are used to teach students about the structure of the body and how it works; they may also be used to train surgeons and other healthcare professionals. People decide in advance to donate their body after their death. These donations are highly valued by staff and students at anatomy establishments.

A donated body can be used for a number of possible purposes:

  1. "Anatomical examination" - this term describes the teaching of the structure and function of the human body to students or healthcare professionals.
  2. "Research" - this term describes scientific studies which improve the understanding of the human body.
  3. "Education and training" - these terms describe the training of healthcare professionals, usually those learning surgical techniques, as opposed to anatomical examination.

Further information is available in our FAQs.

The role of the HTA in body donation

The HTA licenses and inspects establishments which use donated bodies, such as medical schools. We also provide some general information about body donation.

We do not provide information on behalf of medical schools. Details on how to locate and contact your local medical school are below

Please note we do not have an out-of-hours telephone service for general body donation enquiries.

How to donate your body for anatomical examination

Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, 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.

Medical schools which accept donated bodies will normally only accept donations from within their local area due to the transport costs involved. 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. Full details can be obtained directly from the Bequeathal Secretary at your nearest medical school.

Several medical schools are also involved in research requiring donated bodies. Your nearest school will be able to advise you on this.

Information on how to donate your brain for research can be found at the page Donating your brain.

Contacting a medical school to donate your body

A map of medical schools accepting body donations can be found here. Put in your postcode in the search bar on the left, select the correct postcode from the purple box, then click on the red icon on the map for details of who to contact at your local medical school. Alternatively a list of contacts can be downloaded here (PDF).