How do I donate my body?

How do I donate my body to medical science?

The first step is to contact the UOW Body Donation Program on (02) 4221 3800.

You will be sent an information package in the mail that includes donor consent forms which you can complete and return to the University if you wish to go ahead. We strongly advise you to discuss your plans with your family and medical advisor, so that they can carry out your wishes in the event of your death.

You should be aware that there are certain circumstances and medical conditions which preclude the University from accepting a human body. Final acceptance depends on the condition of the body at the time of death. This is determined at the time of notification. Next of kin or attending medical staff, when speaking to the Body Donation Coordinator, will be asked a series of questions. From this information, conditional suitability for the Program will be determined. Final suitability will be determined by blood tests once the body is at the University.

Other reasons why the University may be unable to accept your body, despite your signed donation consent form, include storage limitations, body weight, organ donation or autopsy at time of death. These and other issues affecting acceptance are outlined in information provided with donor consent forms at time of enquiry. If the University cannot accept the body, next of kin will be notified as soon as possible so that they can make alternative funeral arrangements.

What happens after I die?

When you die, your immediate next of kin or medical staff should notify the Body Donation Program as soon as possible, by calling 02 4221 3800.

An initial assessment of your body will be performed based on the information provided over the phone. If it is deemed suitable, the donation will be conditionally accepted and the body will be collected and transported either by our designated Funeral Director or that of the family’s choice – at no cost to your next of kin. Further assessment (blood testing) will occur once your body is at the University to determine its final suitability.

If accepted, your body will be embalmed to preserve it and keep it in a sterile condition. It will then be kept in cold storage until required for our research and teaching programs.

If you die outside of business hours, your family will be directed to call Hansen & Cole for the Wollongong area, Murphy Family Funerals for other Illawarra and Shoalhaven areas, and your local funeral director if you are in another part of NSW. Phone numbers will be provided for both local companies on the voicemail message that operates on the Body Donation Program contact number outside of business hours.

The University may retain your body for as little time as a month or up to eight years, at which time your body will be cremated or buried according to your wishes. Costs of cremation will be carried by the University with your ashes returned to your next of kin or scattered at the University’s Garden of Rest at Lakeside Memorial Park and Crematorium.

Costs associated with burial and any additional services will be a private arrangement between your next of kin and the provider of the service. In the case of burial, the University recommends potential donors purchase a pre-paid plot of their choice.

Can my family donate my body?

The University does not accept donations from next of kin of deceased loved ones. The University is only able to receive donations that are made by the donor during his/her lifetime.

Memorial services

Religious and memorial services may be conducted in the normal way, and are the responsibility of the family of the donor. The University has a Memorial Garden located at Lakeside Memorial Park and Crematorium at Kanahooka in recognition of those who have donated their bodies to science and whose ashes are scattered there. Visitors are welcome to view the memorial within the crematorium’s operating hours.

Last reviewed: 6 December, 2016