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Corpse Donation For Scientific Training

Home > Melbourne > Quirky | Unusual Things to do | Volunteering
by Jeni Wilson (subscribe)
Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published January 1st 2014
A Deadly Idea
You've heard of organ and tissue donation for transplantation, but have you heard of corpse donation?

This is an arrangement with a university to donate your body for the purpose of anatomical examination and scientific training. As many as 120 bodies are accepted each year by the University of Melbourne alone.


If you choose to donate your body, you sign a formal contract. This arrangement cannot be made by a power of attorney, executor or next of kin. After your death, the university will contact your next of kin, advising that they would like to retain your body, a tissue sample or selected body part/s for a minimum of three years, sometimes indefinitely.

The university-authorised undertakers collect your body and deliver it to the university. Various tests are conducted such as blood sample analysis to determine whether you have any diseases such as HIV, hepatitis Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD – the human form of "mad cow disease"), or tuberculosis. If so, your body will usually not be accepted.

corpse, body, organ and tissue donation, dissect, autonomy, scientific research, university research


If your body is accepted, you will be embalmed - disinfecting, fixing and moisturising tissues. This process aids dissection. Details of this process can be found on the University of Melbourne site. Then your body will be stored in a refrigerator until the time it is required in teaching sessions. Students have an opportunity to look for signs of disease that may have contributed to your death and details are verified with your doctor. When the process is finished your remains are cremated and available to your next of kin be collected. Here's an interesting article by Chris Briggs, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at University of Melbourne.

Easy enough… for you. It might be reassuring to know that even after your death you body is still in hot demand and of great use to others.
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Why? Because you can't use it once you are dead
Where: Most Universities
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I'm surprised that they don't accept corpses with diseases, as I thought that would contribute to their scientific study.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12622) 2492 days ago
Must add to my to do list!
by chele_lou (score: 0|8) 2433 days ago
I have already chosen to be a blood donor and later an organ donor, a rich enough contribution for one person. Encourage more people to be posthumously useful!
by kerry (score: 1|13) 2488 days ago
Will they take anybody?
by Grant (score: 2|294) 2492 days ago
They do accept bodies with diseases, which does help students, it's only diseases that pose a serious contagious health risk to staff ad students that will make the body unacceptable. Those types of diseases were listed, e.g. Tuberculosis, mad cow.
by jaclyn (score: 0|2) 2488 days ago
Giving blood is scary enough… but a good idea anyway
by Madison (score: 0|4) 2482 days ago
Must add to my to do list!
by chele_lou (score: 0|8) 2433 days ago
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