The School of Anatomy wishes to advise that we have reached the maximum number of deceased donors we can care for in 2017, and no further deceased donors can be accepted into the program.
We anticipate that the program will re-commence accepting deceased donors from Monday, 5th February 2018.
We are still accepting Consent Forms from living donors for future years.
If you require further information or clarification please call the Anatomy Support Officer on (07) 5678 7700.
Why donate your body?
The generous act of body donation is central to the provision of practical opportunities to study the human body in the educational environment. By making this personal gift, donors make a vital contribution to training the next generation of doctors, scientists and health professionals, and an invaluable contribution to the work of our researchers and scientists who have dedicated their working lives to advancing scientific and medical knowledge, promoting health and finding cures to human illness.
Most bodies are used for anatomical teaching and learning and will be the subject of student examination and dissection. The opportunity to study real human bodies is invaluable for clinicians and health care workers, including doctors, dentists, therapists, nurses, pharmacists or exercise scientists. Some bodies are used specifically for surgical and medical research and training. They help to advance surgical techniques and scientific knowledge both nationally and internationally, thereby improving healthcare and alleviating suffering. Please note that not everyone is a suitable body donor at the time of their death.
Donors are encouraged to contact the anatomy support officer during business hours if they have any questions not answered by the information documents.
Telephone: on 07 5678 7700
Please apply online for more information.
Purpose of the Body Donation Program
The Body Donation Program provides practical opportunities to study and perform research on the human body in a controlled educational environment.
Donors make a vital contribution to the training of the next generation of scientists, and medical and allied health professionals.
The program has been reviewed and approved by the Griffith University Human Ethics Committee, as will any research project conducted in the School of Anatomy.
Donating your 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.
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. The Consent Form must be signed in the presence of two witnesses over the age of 18 years who are independent of the University. Unfortunately, your Power of Attorney, the Executor of your Will, or other significant other cannot complete and sign the Consent Form on your behalf.
A statement in your Will similar to paragraph 1 of the consent form will assist in notifying your executor of your donation wishes. We recommend donors keep a copy and provide executors and senior next of kin with a copy of their completed, signed consent form. For this reason we provide a carbon (four-layered) consent form, the layers of which can be distributed easily. Please ensure the original (top copy) is forwarded to the University.
Types of donations
Potential donors may elect to donate their body for either a fixed term or an indefinite period. A fixed term donation can be a minimum of 3 weeks to a maximum of 3 years, after which time, if stipulated by the donor in the consent form, the ashes may be collected by the senior available next of kin. Indefinite term donations have no end date, but will be an average of five years in duration, after which time the body is cremated. Ashes of donors opting for indefinite donations are not ordinarily available for collection.
Will the University definitely accept my body?
No. 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 will be confirmed after death. Unfortunately, many factors can prevent acceptance of a body by the University. The University recommends donors plan to accommodate this situation with their next of kin.
What to do if your contact details change
You will need to notify the School, in writing of any changes of address, next of kin or executor.
Withdrawing from the Program
Included in the letter sent to you by the School of Anatomy confirming your acceptance into the Body Donation Program 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.
The University covers all costs if you die in the catchment area and you are accepted. There is no cost to you or your estate unless you choose to contribute.
What your family does at the time of your death
At the time of your death, either your attending medical staff and/or your senior (available) next of kin must promptly notify the School of Anatomy. The School of Anatomy has a 24 hour message service. Metropolitan Funerals should also be contacted if your death occurs outside of business hours, on the weekend, or over a holiday period.
Telephone School of Anatomy: (07) 5678 7700
Telephone Metropolitan Funerals: (07) 5531 1722
The School of Anatomy staff will consult with your attending medical staff to determine the suitability of your remains for teaching and research purposes.
If your body is accepted what happens immediately after your death
Your senior (available) next of kin 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 to your next of kin.
If your body is deemed acceptable for donation, with consent of your senior next of kin, the School of Anatomy will make all necessary arrangements and meet all expenses (if the death occurs within the acceptance area) in connection with the removal and transport of your body to the University by our delegated funeral director.
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 and for anatomical research activities.
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, the University may choose to retain a tissue sample or selected body part or parts indefinitely for teaching purposes.
Funerals and Memorial ServicesIt is important that the University receives your body within 2-3 days of your death. Private funeral or memorial services can be held but the expense must be covered by your estate or next of kin. 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 family's intentions to hold a private funeral service prior to your body being transferred to the University.
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 date for 2017 has been confirmed as follows.
- Thursday, 14 September 2017 to pay tribute to the donors who entered the program in 2016.
If you have chosen that your ashes are not to be returned to your family, your ashes will be scattered at the University Memorial Garden. This Garden is located within the grounds of the Southport Lawn Cemetery, Melia Court, Southport.
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. It is available for family and friends to view at the Thanksgiving Service.
If you die outside of the catchment area
If you live outside the catchment area you may still be able to register. However, acceptance at the time of death will be subject to the usual screening checks at the time of death. If you die outside of the catchment area you may not be accepted if your remains can not be transported to our facility within 2-3 days. Please note, that registrations from outside the catchment area are currently not being accepted. This is subject to change without notice.
Visits to the anatomy facility
Out of respect for our donors and issues of security, in general, members of the public do not have access to the anatomy facility, however visits may be approved on a case by case basis, subject to approval from the Head of School.
If your next of kin do not agree with your donation
At the time of death the University will contact your nominated next of kin on your consent form. If they do not approve of the donation, we will not accept your body. For this reason we recommend making your wishes for body donation clearly known to your next of kin.
Circumstances that may prevent the University from accepting your donation
Anyone over the age of 18 can be a donor. However, the following are some examples of circumstances that may prevent acceptance at the time of death
- Donor did not die within the catchment area and/or the donor cannot be transported to the School of Anatomy within 2-3 days after the death
- Donors nominated next-of-kin does not wish to proceed with the donation
- Donor has donated organs at time of death or is subject to an autopsy or coroners enquiry
- 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 muscle atrophy, a perforated or blocked bowel, severe oedema or has cellulitis
- Donor has unhealed surgical wounds, other open wounds or pressure sores, or has had limb amputations
- Donor is under 40kg in weight, or over 80kg
- School of Anatomy has reached its donor requirements for the current teaching period
- School of Anatomy is closed for public holidays or extended holidays (please see current dates highlighted at the top of the page).
If the University is unable to accept your body, your executor or senior available next of kin 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.
Download the Body Donation Program Booklet (PDF 524KB)
Download the Memorial Garden Brochure (PDF 2861KB)
Donors are accepted into the program from all geographical locations, but typically can only be accepted at time of death if they meet certain screening criteria and pass away within the donor catchment area (PDF 449k).