Donating Your Body to Science

From the UBC website: The Body Donation Program in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC) has been in service since 1950. Over the years many individuals have donated their bodies for the purpose of anatomical study and medical research, making a very special and valuable contribution to the education of our health care professionals and the communities they serve. The growth of the UBC Faculty of Medicine has created an increased need for donated anatomical material required for educational and research purposes. In order to obtain detailed and essential knowledge of the structure and function of the human body, future doctors, dentists, rehabilitation therapists and scientists must study human remains as part of their training. The donation of one’s body is a very special gift to the future healthcare professionals of our community.

If you would like to donate your body to science, this should be arranged prior to your death. Since not all registered donors are suitable, it’s also important to make alternate arrangements. You can simultaneously register with the BC Transplant Society, but if solid organs have been removed for transplant (other than corneal transplant), body donation is not possible.

To arrange a donation, contact the UBC Body Donation Program on-line at or by telephone at 604-822-2578. If accepted, UBC and a close family member or your physician would retain a copy of your consent form. As soon as possible after death has occurred, your executor, next of kin, or health care professional would contact the UBC Body Donation Program. After obtaining a medical history the UBC staff would determine if the body is still appropriate for donation. The body must be received within 72 hours of death, so a prolonged delay in notification, particularly from outlying areas, can result in the decline of the donation.

If the donation is accepted, all transportation and eventual cremation costs are covered. The body would remain in the care of the University for a period of six months to three years. Those who donate their bodies to the medical school can be assured that all human remains are accorded anonymity, confidentiality, dignity and respect.

The Vancouver Sun July 4, 2022 reported that Mr. Moore from UBC said, “We train about 1,000 students a year in the anatomy lab. All of these health care professionals will use the anatomical knowledge they have learned here every single day of their professional lives. Since they will be practising for 30-40 years, and every donation trains as many people as possible, every donation will impact the health and well-being of thousands of people in the coming years. It’s a remarkable gift to humanity.”

Summarized by Margaret Verschuur