Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can donate?

There are no age limitations in the Body Bequeathal Program. While each body bequeathed to the Department will normally be accepted, the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology reserves the right not to accept a body. There will be times when the requirements of Western University and other universities have been met.

Who benefits from my donation?

Future health professionals and medical researchers at Western University will benefit greatly from your generous gift. Your donation thus will aid in education and medical research, and will contribute to the development of new and better ways of treating patients and disease.

What is the cost to my family?

The cost of obtaining required documentation to register the death and the transfer of the bequeathed body to Western University must be borne by the estate of the deceased. All other costs in connection with the cremation and interment in the University plot will be borne by the University. The costs involved in private interment will be the responsibility of the estate of the deceased.

What if I am interested in organ and tissue donation? Would this exclude me from the body bequeathal program?

Organ and tissue donation are another important way to contribute to society, but it does exclude you from the body bequeathal program. The only exception is the donation of your cornea.

Confidentiality, How would my privacy be protected?

We take great pains to protect the privacy and dignity of all bodies that are donated. Students and researchers are only given the age, sex and cause of death of the body that they will be studying.

Who can give consent, after my death has occurred?

The executor named in your will has the ultimate authority to consent to your body donation. In the event that you leave no will, your legal next-of-kin has the authority to bequeath your body.

May I view the body of my loved one after it is accepted by the University of Western Ontario?

No, once a body is accepted in the Body Bequeathal Program you may not visit or view the body.

How long is it before my body is cremated?

The study of bequeathed bodies is extensive and thorough. Therefore it may be anywhere from 18 months to three years before the cremation takes place.

What role does the funeral home serve in the donation of my body?

The funeral home and its representatives will gather the required documentation for death registration and body bequeathal. They also will transfer the body from the place of death to Western University. Some families find it helpful to hold a personal memorial service for their loved one, in addition to attending the annual memorial service held by the University. Your funeral director will help you make arrangements for such a service.

Can I be assured that my remains will be handled properly?

Rest assured that all bodies bequeathed to Western University are always treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

Can I change my mind regarding body bequeathal?

Yes, you may change your mind at any time regarding your donation. Please let your loved ones know of your final decision, and ask that they honour your wishes.