Body donation plays an important role in teaching and research.
Our work at the Wales Centre for Anatomical Education is regulated and monitored by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA).
It is based on the fundamental principle that anyone wishing to donate their body for scientific use is fully informed of the purposes and processes involved before they consent.
Who can donate
To register as a donor you must be over 17 years old, however there is no maximum age limit. Any individual over 17 with capacity to give consent can register as a donor.
The designated catchment area for Cardiff University covers the following post codes: CF, LD, NP SA and SY (Welsh counties of SY).
Cardiff University will pay for the burial of a deceased or a cremation at Thornhill Crematorium. We will also pay the transportation costs if you live within a 50 mile radius.
There may be some costs to the next-of-kin which could include:
- transportation costs if you live outside of a 50 mile radius.
- local funeral directors fees for collection and storage if the death occurs at home or in a care home.
- the cost of purchasing a grave (necessary if you wish to place a headstone on the grave).
- the cost for cremated remains to be couriered.
Donors from abroad
Cardiff University cannot accept any donors who pass away outside of Great Britain. Body donations are required for training and education worldwide so you may wish to consider donating your body in your current country of residence if you live abroad.
Donors with specific medical conditions
At Cardiff University, we use human bodies for anatomical examination by students and for surgical training courses. If the donor has given consent, we may provide samples to the Cardiff University biobank for research to be carried out but we don’t undertake research into specific disorders ourselves.
Among other considerations, we cannot accept a donation if the donor is required to undergo a post-mortem examination, has had recent surgery, carries a transmissible infection or has a medical condition which substantially alters the normal anatomy or compromises our preservation techniques. The cause of death itself could make the body unsuitable for anatomical examination, the object of which is the study of the normal structure of the body. Please see Page 4 of our information pack for further information.
Information pack for donors 2022
This information pack contains information for donors, including consent forms and guidance on procedures.
Organ donor register
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept a donor if their organs have been removed for transplantation (with the exception of the corneas). However, it is acceptable for you to give consent for anatomical examination if you are registered as an organ donor. Organ donation will usually take priority but if your organs aren't considered suitable for transplant, your body may be suitable for donation.
We are extremely grateful to all those who bequeath their bodies to us but unfortunately, it is not possible to guarantee that a donation will be accepted. Donors should always ensure that they have an alternative funeral plan should their body donation not be accepted.
If we are unable to accept your donation, we will inform your next-of-kin or executor as soon as possible and they will be responsible for arranging burial or cremation. We will not be able to make any financial contribution towards funeral cost if this is the case.
How to consent
The Human Tissue Act 2004 requires that you give written consent to the donation. A consent form is the easiest way to consent to body donation, both for the donor at the time of consent and for the next-of-kin or executor after the donor passes away. Please ensure one original copy of the consent form is returned to Cardiff University. The other copy should be retained by the donor. A will would also be considered valid consent providing the wording of your intention is clear.
You cannot consent on behalf of someone to donate their body, even if you have been granted ‘Power of attorney
Consent must come from the donor, so only consent forms signed and dated by the donor themselves would be considered valid. The Human Tissue Act 2004 requires a positive decision to be made by the person themselves, before their death.
Consent given to another university
If you are registered to donate your body to a different university and have moved within the catchment area of Cardiff University, you may need to complete a new consent form. Although a consent form completed for another establishment would usually be acceptable to us, the details required on the form may differ so we would appreciate you completing one of our forms.
Deciding to donate
If you decide to donate, it is important to discuss your wishes with your next of kin so that they can carry out your wishes with knowledge and understanding of what is involved.
You should discuss your wishes with your family and/or whoever is likely to deal with your affairs when you pass away. It can also be helpful to discuss your wishes with your GP and solicitor if you have one.
You are not required to inform your doctor of your wishes. However, it would be advisable in the long term to let them know you are on our donor list. After a potential donor has passed, we may contact their doctor to determine whether they are medically fit for our purposes. If your doctor is already aware of your wishes, this might help facilitate the process.
Making a will
There is no obligation to put your wishes in your will, but we advise you make your solicitor aware of your wishes if they are to act as your executor. It can cause issues if with the wording of a will is not specific enough for our purposes, so to ensure we are able to consider your body for donation, our advice is to complete our consent form. You can make a copy of this form to give to your solicitor if you wish, but please send the original form to us.
Making alternative funeral plans
As there is no guarantee of acceptance, we encourage all potential donors to have an alternative option prepared. Some companies offer a refundable funeral plan so will refund the money to the next-of-kin or estate if your body is accepted for donation. Therefore, we suggest discussing this with your funeral director to make them aware you have registered as a donor and that this funeral plan would be your second option if not accepted for body donation.
Transporting and collecting the body
This depends on the circumstances of your death. If you die in hospital there will be no need to use the services of a funeral director immediately.
However, if you die at home or in a care home, it's important that your body is transported to cold conditions within a 12-hour period. In this instance, it would be appropriate to contact a local funeral director to collect and store your body. If you live in or near Cardiff, our contracted funeral directors could potentially collect the deceased. If you live outside the 50-mile radius, your next-of-kin/executor may be asked to organise and cover the cost of transportation to Cardiff University via a local funeral director.
Procedure following anatomical examination
Once all studies on the deceased have been completed, we will contact the next-of-kin or executor to make them aware of funeral arrangements.
The deceased will either be cremated or buried depending on the preferences stated by the next-of-kin or executor, and they can attend this service if they wish. If cremated, the cremated remains can either be collected by the next-of-kin, couriered to another funeral directors or scattered at the crematorium grounds.
Alternatively, the next-of-kin or executor can make their own private arrangements if they wish. We are happy to liaise with a funeral director of their choosing to arrange collection of the deceased. The costs for any private funeral arrangements will not be covered by the university.
If you have any queries about the process please contact our Bequest Team.
Cardiff University will be responsible for looking after and processing the personal data of our donors. This data will be processed as part of the University’s public task to provide teaching, learning and research facilities, and as part of our license from the Human Tissue Authority. The information will be kept in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations.
If you have any questions regarding how we deal with your data, please contact the Data Protection Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one, there is help and support available to you during this time. You may be able to find support through family, friends, and your GP.
For other help and support:
- The Bereavement Advice Centre provides practical information and advice and signposting on the many issues and procedures that face us after the death of someone close.
- Cruse offers volunteer-led support, advice and information for those who have been bereaved. They provide telephone, email and website support and have specific resources and services for children and young people.