Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Ensuring smooth brain and spinal cord donation

Issue date: 
20 January 2014

The HTA has published guidance for hospital and mortuary staff on brain and spinal cord donation. Many people, with the support of relatives, wish to donate their brains to brain banks for use in research into conditions like dementia, autism and Parkinson’s disease.

Nearly half the people surveyed last year in a survey undertaken by IPSOS Mori on behalf of the HTA said they were very likely or fairly likely to donate their brains. A similar number agreed that knowing that brain donation was regulated made them more confident about donating. 

A colloboration between the MRC UK Brain Bank Network and the HTA has produced guidance which covers frequently asked questions about the law, regulations on consent and time limits regarding brain donation, as well as answering questions about brain banks, tissue removal and storage. The guidance is designed to support those involved in brain donation to enable the donation to go ahead as smoothly as possible in line with the donor’s wishes.

Potential brain donors are encouraged to provide written consent while alive, so that donation can proceed smoothly.

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