Frequently asked questions
If you have a question about the Body Donation Programme, feel free to browse our FAQs to see if we already have an answer.
I don't live in Leicester. Can I leave my body to Leicester Medical School?
Leicester Medical School considers the donation of bodies within its designated catchment area, which comprises the following postcodes:
- PE (not Cambridgeshire or Norfolk)
Occasionally people who have a past connection to the area may specifically request to register their donation with us, rather than their 'local' medical school. We do accept such requests, but these donors should be aware that their estate will be charged for bringing their body to Leicester.
Additionally, sometimes we accept donations on behalf of neighbouring medical schools (when they are closed or busy). This is done with the agreement of the next of kin/executor, and they will need to meet the transport costs.
Contact details for all the UK medical schools which use donated bodies can be found on the Human Tissue Authority website. You can also use this website to see the designated catchment areas of each UK medical school.
I have submitted a Consent Form, but I have changed my mind and wish to withdraw my consent. Can I do this?
Yes, you can withdraw consent at any time. Simply notify the Body Donation Programme Manager in writing and your Consent Form will be destroyed.
How much will it cost me?
If you die in within our catchment area, and we are able to accept your bequest, there is no charge for bringing your body to Leicester Medical School. If you die at home or in a care institution, undertakers may raise a small charge for taking your body to their chapel of rest.
If you lived in our catchment area but die elsewhere we will - with the agreement of your next of kin/executor - consider asking another medical school to accept your body. Other medical schools have different policies. If another medical school accepts your bequest, your next of kin/executor will be advised of any likely costs before they make a final decision.
I have a rare medical condition, and I'd like to leave my body for research into that condition. Can I do this?
At Leicester Medical School we use human bodies to teach anatomy to medical students (future doctors) and other health professionals. We don't undertake research into specific disorders. If you wish to leave your body/tissue for this purpose, you could discuss this with your consultant or one of the research organisations.
I am not sure if I will be eligible to donate my body.
Please telephone the Body Donation Programme Manager at Leicester Medical School on +44 (0)116 252 3082 to discuss any concerns you may have regarding suitability, and we will be happy to advise you. If you wish to make an appointment for a face-to-face meeting, we are also happy to do this.
You can also browse our guidelines on our conditions for acceptance for more information about some of our medical and non-medical exclusion criteria.
Can I be an organ donor and still donate my body to Leicester for anatomical examination?
As the demand for donor organs is greater than the supply, we would encourage everyone to register for and carry an organ donor card. Unfortunately, the removal of organs at the time of death interferes with the embalming process and makes bodies unsuitable for anatomical examination.
You can, however, donate the corneas of your eyes without affecting the body donation. To find out more about donating your corneas, please contact Moorfields Eye Hospital's Eye Bank on +44 (0)20 7253 1199.
I've left my body in my will, do I need to sign a Consent Form?
We ask that you also sign a Consent Form so that we are able to advise you of any major changes in legislation which may affect your donation. The Consent Form will also make things simpler for your next of kin/executor. Please ensure that one copy is returned to Leicester Medical School, and retain the other copy with your will/personal papers.
I've told my family of my wishes, why do I need to sign a Consent Form?
The Human Tissue Act 2004 requires that you give written consent to the donation during your lifetime - this safeguards you against medical schools and hospitals keeping your body and/or tissues against your wishes (or without your family's knowledge). As such, we require appropriate written consent, and we cannot accept bequests without it.
Who else needs to know that I plan to donate my body?
You should discuss your wishes with your close family - they will, most probably, be the ones who will have to notify us of your death. It can also be helpful to discuss your bequest with your GP and with your solicitor, if you have one.
Can I still have a private funeral instead of a medical school cremation?
Yes, your family can request that a private funeral takes place instead of the cremation which would be organised by Leicester Medical School. Your next of kin would need to make the arrangements for the private funeral and inform us of their chosen undertakers. We would liaise with the undertakers to confirm when your body can be collected prior to the funeral. All costs for private funerals must be borne by your next of kin or your estate.
What happens if you can't accept my body when I die?
If your body cannot be accepted, your next of kin/executor will be informed as soon as possible, as the responsibility for arranging and funding a burial or cremation will then rest with them. It is therefore important that potential donors consider alternative funeral arrangements, in case circumstances preclude Leicester Medical School from being able to accept the donation.
Can I make a financial donation?
Yes, this is possible. A gift of any amount is most welcome, and donation forms are available upon request. Your donation would contribute towards teaching the structure and function of the human body to medical students, which would also contribute towards the costs of transport and services of cremation for our bequests.
I've submitted a signed and witnessed Consent Form, does this guarantee that my body will be accepted when I die?
Each prospective donor must have submitted a correctly signed and witnessed Consent Form to be able to be considered to be a donor when they die, and we endeavour to accept as many bequests as possible.
However, some medical conditions make the study of anatomy difficult or interfere with the embalming process, and occasionally there are other, non-medical circumstances which mean we are unable to accept donations. As such, it is not possible to guarantee that a donation will be accepted.
In the instance of non-acceptance, your next of kin/executor/family will be advised to make arrangements for a funeral.
Can I transfer my Consent Form to another medical school if I move out of Leicester Medical School's catchment area?
Yes, you will be able to transfer your existing Consent Form to another medical school. You will need to notify the Body Donation Programme Manager of your new address, either via telephone or in writing, and it can be arranged for you.
The Human Tissue Authority's website contains useful information on the catchment areas of all participating UK medical schools.
I have a power of attorney, can they sign a Consent Form on my behalf?
No. A Consent Form can only be signed and dated by you, the donor. It can be witnessed by a power of attorney, or a member of your family, but a Consent Form cannot be accepted without the donor's signature.