Bequesting your Body to the University of Glasgow - FAQs
How do I donate my body for Medical/Anatomical Education and Research to the University of Glasgow?
You should contact the Laboratory of Human Anatomy (LHA) at Glasgow University and we will send you out an information pack. Alternatively you can download the Declaration of Bequest and Important Notes on the right hand side of this page. Read through this information carefully, it is important that you give informed consent to donate your body for medical/anatomical examination. If, after careful consideration you decide to proceed, three copies of the Declaration of Bequest must be signed by you and by a witness who is witness to both the signature and the content. You should keep one copy for your records, give one copy to your Next of Kin/Executor, and return the other to the Anatomy Secretary who will then enter your name on the Bequest Register. It is not possible to donate your body after death unless you have either completed a Declaration of Bequest or put a signed and witnessed instruction in your Will to that effect.
We strongly recommend that you discuss this matter with your Next of Kin/Executor. If your Next of Kin and Family are very much against the idea of you donating your body to Glasgow University it might not be possible to proceed with the donation after your death.
What happens if I change my mind?
You can change your mind at any point, contact the Anatomy Secretary and your name will be removed from the Bequest Register.
What happens when I die?
Your NOK/Executor or the attending doctor should telephone the LHA immediately on 0141 330 5397. The University is open 9-5 weekdays, and closed at weekends, Bank Holidays and over the Christmas Holidays. If the University is closed then leave a message and someone will return the call within 24 hours. The University will have to decide whether your body is a suitable case for Glasgow University Body Donation Programme. We carefully consider every case, however occasionally the University may be unable to accept your donation for medical or logistical reasons.
Some of the medical conditions which might make your body unsuitable for anatomical/medical education and research are outlined below. This list is not exhaustive.
- Post Mortem
- Recent Major Surgery
- Anything Infectious or transmittable – Hepatitis, HIV, Live TB etc
- Advanced Cancer
- Extensive Pressure Sores
- Some kinds of Dementia (not diagnosed senile dementia)
Please note, if you donate an organ for transplantation it is not possible to donate your body for medical/anatomical education and research.
We can normally make a decision regarding the suitability of each case within a couple of hours, after we have managed to contact and speak to the attending doctor. At weekends this can sometimes take longer. In the short term it is the responsibility of your NOK/Executor to arrange for your body to be held in a suitable environment e.g. a hospital mortuary, undertaker with fridge facilities.
What happens if the University is unable to accept my body?
If we are unable to accept your body due to medical reasons then your NOK/Executor will need to make suitable funeral arrangements. The University of Glasgow is not liable for any financial contribution.
Occasionally we are unable to accept your body for logistical reasons. If we have sufficient bodies to meet immediate requirements, we can offer to pass on cases to the other University Medical Schools/Anatomy Departments in Scotland. If one of the other Universities in Scotland are able to proceed with the donation they will pay for uplift and transport of the body. However, if they are unable to proceed then your NOK/Executor will need to make suitable funeral arrangements.
**No guarantee can be given that a bequest will be accepted so it is important to have other arrangements in place
What happens if the University accepts my body?
If the NOK/Executor and other family members are happy to proceed with the donation, we will explain in detail what happens next. Once the Death Certificate has been signed by the attending doctor, we will arrange for our contracted Funeral Director to bring your body into Glasgow University. However, if the person is outside the University’s catchment area of 50 miles, then the NOK/Executor must arrange to bring the body in, and for the cost to come out of your personal estate.
The NOK/Executor must register the death in the normal way and supply the Anatomy Secretary with the Form 14. The NOK/Executor must also agree to complete essential paperwork i.e. Glasgow District Council Cremation Form and The Anatomy Act Next of Kin Form.
Are there any costs to my family if the University accepts my body?
Once we have decided your body is an acceptable case for anatomical/medical education and research, we pay to bring the body into Glasgow University and for the eventual cremation, therefore, your family will not have the normal funeral expenses. However, if you live outside the University’s catchment area of 50 miles the cost of coming into Glasgow University will have to come out of your estate.
How will my body be used by the University?
If you donate your body to Glasgow University you will be treated with the greatest respect. Your body may be used for one or more of the following purposes. We do not normally conduct research into specific diseases or medical conditions.
- "Anatomical Examination" - this term describes the teaching of the structure and function of the human body to students or healthcare professionals.
- "Research" - this term describes scientific studies which improve the understanding of the human body.
- "Education and training" - these terms describe the training of healthcare professionals, usually those learning surgical techniques, as opposed to anatomical examination.
It may be useful to prepare images of parts of your body for teaching, training or research purposes. If you consent to this, you will not be identifiable in these images. If you do not wish to consent to the use of images you may indicate this on the Declaration of Bequest.
How long will the University retain my body as an anatomical bequest?
Your donated remains may be retained by Laboratory of Human Anatomy for a maximum of three years, some time within that period your body will be released. When your body is released The University will normally organise a cremation at Linn Crematorium in Glasgow.
The University may wish to retain parts of your body beyond the three year period, to be used for continued educational and training purposes. This is permitted under the terms of the Anatomy Act. If you do not wish this to happen it is important you indicate this on the Declaration of Bequest. We will only retain parts if permission has been given.
What happens when my body is released?
An individual cremation is arranged for each donated body at Linn Crematorium in Glasgow. The ashes can be scattered in the Garden of Remembrance or collected by the NOK/Executor. This is discussed with the NOK/Executor at the time of death. A Minister/Priest can conduct a committal service if this is required. If the NOK/Executor would like to be contacted when we release the body, we will write out to them approximately two weeks before the cremation takes place. If the family do not want to be informed about the cremation we will respect their wishes also. If a request is made for a private burial or cremation, all expenses involved in such arrangements will be the responsibility of your NOK/Executor.
Does the University hold an Annual Memorial Service?
The University holds an Annual Memorial Service in October to honour those who have donated their body to the University of Glasgow in the previous year. There is also a Book of Remembrance in the Museum of Anatomy which is open to the general public. If you would like to see the Book of Remembrance at any time, please contact the Anatomy Secretary.
Any Other Questions?
If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the Anatomy Secretary – 0141 330 5397, Anatomy Mailbox