The Body Bequest Program is run by the University of Tasmania, Faculty of Health to enable people to "donate their body to science". The program is used for the teaching of human anatomy for medical and health professionals such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, dentists and scientists. Even in these days of sophisticated computer technology there is still no substitute for the direct, practical teaching of human anatomy that this program enables. The medical professionals of tomorrow depend on this vital and highly personal gift for the completion of their training. The opportunity to examine the human body and its complexities is a privilege, and the Faculty of Health is extremely grateful to those members of the public who donate their bodies to this program.
Anyone can become a donor and there is no upper age limit. However, certain medical conditions may exclude a person from becoming a donor. These cases can be assessed at the time of application to become a donor, but the usual procedure is for an assessment to be undertaken at the time of the donor's death. All donors must be over the age of 18.
The Program uses donated bodies to study the normal structure of the whole human body. Whilst we strive to accept all donations there may be times that a donor is not suitable because the normal structure has been altered by a medical condition. Such instances may arise because the donor:
All donations are considered on a case by case basis at the time of death and there may be exceptions in some cases. Donations cannot be accepted if the donor has been deceased more than 4 days or if the family do not wish the donation proceed. Donations may also not be accepted subject to the University's storage limitations.
The University reserves the right to decline acceptance of a body, for any reason, after death. If the University declines to accept the body, it will not be responsible in any way for the funeral arrangements or associated costs. Consequently, the donor and their next of kin are strongly advised to have alternative arrangements in place in the event that the body is unable to be accepted at the time of death.
When a donation is accepted, the Faculty of Health will make arrangements and meet expenses in connection with the transport and eventual cremation of the body. After cremation your ashes will then be available to your loved ones. The University may retain a donor's body for up to five years but the usual time frame is two to three years. This period may be extended if the donor states an alternative time on the donor form (PDF 262.9 KB).
The most important part in becoming a donor is that you must discuss your wish with your family. If your family is unaware or unhappy regarding the bequest, the Faculty of Health will cancel the bequest.
Once you have discussed your intentions with your next of kin and you still wish to become a donor, contact us or download our donor form (PDF 262.9 KB) and information brochure (PDF 571 KB). Complete four copies of the form and return one copy to the Faculty of Health, give one copy to your solicitor (if you have made a will), give one copy to your next of kin or executor, and keep one copy at home with your personal papers.
Once you have returned your form to us we will send you a donor identification card which should be carried in your wallet or purse to enable easy identification of you as a University body donor.
The University of Tasmania ensures total confidentiality throughout the entire body donation process.
If you choose not to donate your body then please consider making a donation to the Body Bequest Program through the University Foundation (phone 6226 1757). Your generous support will also assist this important program.
Further information about the Body Bequest Program can be obtained by contacting the University at the address and phone number listed below.Coordinator, Body Bequest Program
Please download our Donor Form (PDF 262.9 KB)
Authorised by the Associate Head of Medicine
1 June, 2015