Become a living donor

How do I register my intent to donate my body?

Potential donors are requested to write to the School of Anatomy indicating they wish to donate their body to the Griffith University Body Donation program. Alternatively, potential donors can apply for a consent form via our on-line form.

The School of Anatomy will then send a consent form. Potential donors must complete, sign and submit the consent form to the School of Anatomy.

Once the School of Anatomy receives your completed and signed consent form, you will be listed as a donor on the confidential ‘Register of Living Donors’. The School will send you a letter confirming your registration with the Body Donation Program. As the time of death may occur many years after the consent form is submitted, acceptance of a body into the program can only be confirmed after death.

You do not need to include the donation in your Will, as it may not be read in time for your donation to proceed. However, should you wish to include it, a statement similar to this would be suitable. “I have expressed the wish for and consented to the anatomical examination of my body at Griffith University and for the removal of tissue from my body to be used for medical and or scientific research purposes. I confirm that my wish and that consent has not been revoked by me”.

Are all body donations the same?

No. Potential donors may elect to donate their body for either a ‘Time Limited’ or an ‘Indefinite’ period. A time limited donation is for a period of up to 3 years, after which time, if stipulated by the donor in their consent form, the ashes may be collected by the senior available next of kin, executor or delegated other person. With a time limited donation the donor’s remains are entirely cremated.  Indefinite donations will be retained for an indefinite period of time. There will be no specific time of cremation. The donor’s ashes will not be available for collection but will be scattered at the Griffith University Memorial Garden. Some parts of the body may be prepared for long term preservation as museum or teaching specimens. For indefinite donations, it is recommended donor’s families consider acceptance of the body by the Griffith University Body Donation program as the time of parting with their loved one.

Will the University definitely accept my body?

No. Completing the consent form and registering as a Living Donor with the Body Donation program does not guarantee acceptance into the program at the time of death. Griffith University reserves the right to decline the acceptance of a donor for any reason at the time of death. It is important that donors discuss the possibility of non-acceptance with their nominated next of kin, executor or delegated other person as it can be very distressing if they are not aware that a donation may not proceed. Griffith University recommends that donors have alternative funeral arrangements in place.

If the University is unable to accept your body at the time of death, your senior next of kin, executor or delegated other person will be advised so that they may co-ordinate your alternative funeral arrangements. On such occasions, Griffith University will not accept any financial obligation for funeral arrangements or associated costs. For this reason it is strongly suggested that you and your family agree on the alternative funeral arrangements before your death in the event that the university cannot accept your body.

Can I withdraw from the Program?

Included in the letter sent to you by the School of Anatomy confirming your registration as a Living Donor is a form for you to complete should you wish to withdraw your consent at any time.  You may also withdraw your participation in the program at any time by notifying the School in writing.

What are the circumstances that will prevent the University from accepting my body donation?

Anyone over the age of 18 and residing within our catchment area (see map on page *) can register to be a living donor. However, the following circumstances will prevent acceptance at the time of death:

  • School of Anatomy is closed. Reasons may include public holidays, University holidays and operational closures
  • School of Anatomy has reached its donor requirements for the current teaching period
  • Donors nominated next-of-kin, executor or delegated other person does not wish to proceed with the donation
  • Donor did not die within the catchment area
  • Donor cannot be transported to the School of Anatomy within 2-3 days after death even though they may have died within the catchment area
  • Donor is under 40kg or over 80kg in weight.
  • Donor has donated organs at time of death or death is notified to the coroner (with or without notice of an autopsy)
  • Donor has Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease, acute dementia, an antibiotic resistant infection or other transmissible disease (including but not limited to HIV, hepatitis, measles, tuberculosis)
  • Donor is septic, has severe oedema, cellulitis or a perforated or blocked bowel
  • Donor has severe muscle atrophy, severe muscle contraction or is emaciated (even though they weigh between 40-80kg)
  • Donor has unhealed surgical wounds, other open wounds or large pressure sores, or has had limb amputations
  • Donor has bilateral hip and or knee replacements
  • Donor has any condition that prevents successful scientific embalming (Eg peripheral vascular disease, extreme blood clotting disorders)

What are the costs involved with the Program?

The University covers all of its operational costs if your body is accepted at the time of your death. There will be no costs passed on to your estate for transferring your body to the University, registering your death or disposal by way of cremation.

The University will not accept the cost of private memorial services arranged by your next of kin, executor or delegated other person. Similarly, the University does not accept costs for private death notices in newspapers and the costs of private memorialisation (Eg plaques in cemetery or crematorium gardens etc)

Will my donation details be kept confidential?

The University undertakes to maintain donor confidentiality throughout the body donation process. Personal details acquired are used only for the assessment of donor acceptability, and for the purpose of fulfilling legislative responsibilities such as providing information to the Registrar of Births Death and Marriages.

A person whose private information is held by the University can at any time review their information and ask the University to change it.

What do I do if my contact details change?

You will need to notify the School of Anatomy, in writing of any changes of address, next of kin or executor. The school will then confirm these changes by reply letter.

What does my family do at the time of my death?

At the time of your death, either your attending medical staff and/or your senior next of kin, executor or delegated other person must promptly notify the School of Anatomy. The School of Anatomy has a 24 hour message service. Somerville Funerals should also be contacted if your death occurs outside of business hours, on the weekend, or over a holiday period.

Phone: School of Anatomy +61 7 5678 7700

Phone: Somerville Funerals +61 7 5531 1722

Your nominated next of kin, executor or delegated other person will be asked to give consent to the donation. Please note that if your next of kin objects to the donation, the School of Anatomy will cancel the donation. For this reason we recommend making your wishes clearly known.

The School of Anatomy staff will then consult with your attending medical staff to determine the suitability of your remains for teaching and research purposes. This is known as screening.


For further information, please read and download our booklet.

At the time of death

If my body is accepted what happens next?

When a donor body arrives at the School of Anatomy, an embalming process will promptly be carried out which will preserve the tissues in a sterile condition. The body will then be placed in cold storage until required, at which time it will be used for the teaching of anatomy to students and health professionals, for anatomical research activities and may be loaned to other universities as stipulated by your specific instructions on your signed consent form.

In time, when educational and research activities have been completed the University will arrange for, and meet the expenses of cremation through a reputable funeral director and crematorium. Your ashes will then be available for collection by your next of kin, or scattered in the University’s memorial garden. In some instances where a donor has agreed to an Indefinite Donation, the University may choose to retain a tissue sample or selected body part or parts indefinitely for teaching purposes. (Refer to ‘Are all body donations the same?’)

Can my family arrange a private funeral or memorial service?

It is important that the University receives your body within 2-3 days of your death. Private funeral or memorial services can be held, however the expense must be covered by your estate or next of kin etc. Your family can elect to hold a private ceremony before your body is transferred to the School of Anatomy, or alternatively arrange for a private memorial service without your body. The School of Anatomy must be made aware of your families intentions to hold a private funeral service prior to your body being transferred to the University.

The School of Anatomy holds an annual Thanksgiving Service to express gratitude to those who have donated their bodies to the University.

What is the Griffith University Thanksgiving Service?

A Thanksgiving Service is held annually to express gratitude to those who have donated their bodies to the University and make a vital contribution to the training of the next generation of scientists and professionals in medicine and allied health. Family and friends of donors, university staff and community representatives will be notified of the service and invited to attend. The services run a year behind the calendar date of death. For example, donors who pass away between January and December of any calendar year will be remembered in the Thanksgiving Service in the following year. The date for the Thanksgiving Service is updated annually on our web page.

What happens if I die outside of the catchment area?

If you live outside of the catchment area you are not able to register as a Living Donor. If you live within the catchment area but then die outside of the catchment area your body donation will not proceed.

Will the people using my body know who I am?

No. The University maintains donor confidentiality throughout the body donation process. Personal details are used only for the assessment of donor suitability, record keeping or research. Only a Griffith University specimen-unique number identifies donated bodies.

Will my name be recorded in the Book of Remembrance?

A Book of Remembrance is kept to record the names of donors who are accepted into the program and is on display in the foyer of the anatomy facilities.

School of Anatomy

Ian O'Connor building

Level 10 – Foyer

Gold Coast campus

Queensland 4211 Australia

It is also available for family and friends to view at each Thanksgiving Service.

You can choose to have your name recorded or omitted from the Book of Remembrance, by indicating your wish on your consent form.

What will happen with my cremated remains?

Depending on the type of donation you have chosen, your ashes will either be:

  • Made available for your nominated senior next of kin, executor or delegated other person to collect
  • Scattered at the University memorial garden

Where is the Griffith University Memorial Garden?

The Griffith University Memorial Garden has been established within the grounds of the Southport Lawn Cemetery, Melia Court, Southport. A large permanent sculpture has been erected and family and friends of donors are warmly invited to visit the sculpture, place flowers at the sculpture, or just take time to sit and reflect.

Unfortunately, we cannot allow plaques for individual donors to be placed on or immediately around the base of the sculpture. However, if you or your family wish to organise a memorial plaque to be placed within the grounds of the cemetery near to the sculpture, you can contact the City of Gold Coast Cemeteries Administration staff on:

Phone:+61 7 5581 6640

Fax:+61 7 5581 6005


The City of Gold Coast have an area reserved near to the sculpture, for donor memorialisation.

Download Memorial Garden Leaflet


If you live within the catchment area but then die outside of the catchment area your body donation will not proceed.

Consent forms

Please visit our Contact Us page to apply for a consent form.

Making a financial donation

Can I make a financial donation to the Body Donation program?

Yes. You can make a financial donation via the telephone, mail or online. Alternatively, you can leave an endowment or bequest in your Will. Your financial support will contribute to ensuring that the School of Anatomy at Griffith University will continue to make that all important difference in the education of our students and researchers.

Please be assured that all donations are eligible for tax deductions.

The Advancement Office at Griffith University is responsible for handling all financial donations. You can contact them for further information on:

Phone: +61 7 5552 7218

Web: Ways to give

Contact us

For more information, please visit our contact us page.