Thank you for your interest in the Body Bequeathal Program at the University of Western Ontario (Download Brochure). This program plays an important role in both medical research and the teaching of anatomy to future health professionals, such as doctors, dentists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Your generous gift will therefore aid in their education and will contribute to the development of new and better ways of treating patients and disease. Such a gift would be gratefully received as a final contribution to society.
Forms for Donation
In order to signify your wish to bequeath your body to the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, the approved procedure is as follows.
1. Advise your executor and family of your wish, and leave a signed copy of a *Form ‘A’ with them or with your important papers. It is important to have your executors aware of your desire to donate your body since the executor will need to make decisions regarding your final disbursement immediately after your death and before your will is read.
2. . It may also help to have the following statement in your will so that the executor (and other family members) are assured that your wishes have been carried out: "Upon my death, I request that my body be made available to the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology of the University of Western Ontario (or to the nearest medical school), to be used for medical education and research." Unfortunately, not all donors are accepted to this University. There are medical reasons and pre-existing conditions that may preclude your donation to the school.
* Contact the University of Western Ontario, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology to have this form sent to you.
phone: (519) 661-3014
Use and Final Disposition of Donations
The donated body will be used by the University of Western Ontario for teaching and research purposes. Each student or researcher is required to treat the deceased with the utmost care and respect. Once the teaching or research study is completed, the remains are cremated at a local licensed crematorium, and then they are either returned to the family if requested, or interred in the burial plot owned by the University of Western Ontario in the Woodland Cemetery, London, Ontario.
All charges incurred with regard to the transportation of the body to the University of Western Ontario and the gathering of the required documentation is the responsibility of the estate. All expenses in connection with the ultimate cremation and interment of cremated remains in our University plot (approximately 18 months to 3 years following the receipt of the body) will be borne by the University. Notification of cremation and interment will be sent to the next of kin only if requested at the time of the donation. Relatives who wish to claim the cremated remains for private interment may do so, but in this case, expenses concerned with interment must be borne by the estate of the deceased.
Each year, the Anatomy and Cell Biology Department of the University of Western Ontario organizes a memorial service for the family members and friends of those who have chosen to bequeath their bodies to our program. It is a time for students to share their feelings of gratitude with the families, and for families to share in the final achievement of their loved ones. Many families find the non-denominational memorial service to be very helpful in aiding in the grieving process and providing some closure.
National Post Article, May 11, 2004
Suitability for Donation
While each body bequeathed to the Department will normally be accepted, the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology reserves the right not to accept a body. To avoid problems in embalming, it is necessary that we receive the remains within 48 hours of the time of death. There will be times when the requirements of the University of Western Ontario and other universities have been met, and it is not possible to accept a body.
In addition, the following are not acceptable:
* Donors that have been embalmed
* Donors that have had recent major surgery
* Donors that have infectious diseases, e.g., tuberculosis, hepatitis, AIDS, etc.
* Donors considered morbidly obese
* Donors that have experienced trauma, e.g., an automobile accident
* Space limitations in the Body Bequeathal program
The following may be considered unacceptable at the time of death:
* Donors which have amputations
* Donors which have major internal disfiguration due to disease
* Donors that have had organs surgically removed (eye enucleation excepted)
For these reasons we always encourage a potential donor to make arrangements with a funeral home or transfer service in case the body is not accepted.
Procedures at Time of Death
At the time of death, your next of kin or executor should seek your doctor’s assistance in contacting your local coroner who will know the procedure to be followed. If the coroner is not immediately available, telephone the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario during business hours (519-661-3014) or after hours call the University Police (519-661-3300).
Funeral Home, Transfer Service or Hospital Information
Please contact the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology to receive instructions on the proper procedure for delivery of a body.
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario N6A 5C1
Facts and Questions
Q - Who can donate?
A - There are no age limitations in the Body Bequeathal Program. While each body bequeathed to the Department will normally be accepted, the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology reserves the right not to accept a body. There will be times when the requirements of the University of Western Ontario and other universities have been met.
Q - Who benefits from my donation?
A - Future health professionals and medical researchers at The University of Western Ontario will benefit greatly from your generous gift. Your donation thus will aid in education and medical research, and will contribute to the development of new and better ways of treating patients and disease.
Q - What is the cost to my family?
A - The cost of obtaining required documentation to register the death and the transfer of the bequeathed body to The University of Western Ontario must be borne by the estate of the deceased. All other costs in connection with the cremation and interment in the University plot will be borne by the University. The costs involved in private interment will be the responsibility of the estate of the deceased.
Q - What if I am interested in organ and tissue donation? Would this exclude me from the body bequeathal program?
A - Organ and tissue donation are another important way to contribute to society, but it does exclude you from the body bequeathal program. The only exception is the donation of your cornea.
Q - Confidentiality, How would my privacy be protected?
A - We take great pains to protect the privacy and dignity of all bodies that are donated. Students and researchers are only given the age, sex and cause of death of the body that they will be studying.
Q - Who can give consent, after my death has occurred?
A - The executor named in your will has the ultimate authority to consent to your body donation. In the event that you leave no will, your legal next-of-kin has the authority to bequeath your body.
Q - May I view the body of my loved one after it is accepted by the University of Western Ontario?
A - No, once a body is accepted in the Body Bequeathal Program you may not visit or view the body.
Q - How long is it before my body is cremated?
A - The study of bequeathed bodies is extensive and thorough. Therefore it may be anywhere from 18 months to three years before the cremation takes place.
Q - What role does the funeral home serve in the donation of my body?
A - The funeral home and its representatives will gather the required documentation for death registration and body bequeathal. They also will transfer the body from the place of death to The University of Western Ontario. Some families find it helpful to hold a personal memorial service for their loved one, in addition to attending the annual memorial service held by the University. Your funeral director will help you make arrangements for such a service.
Q - Can I be assured that my remains will be handled properly?
A - Rest assured that all bodies bequeathed to the University are always treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
Q - Can I change my mind regarding body bequeathal?
A - Yes, you may change your mind at any time regarding your donation. Please let your loved ones know of your final decision, and ask that they honour your wishes.
If you have any unanswered questions, we invite you to contact:
The Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario N6A 5C1
(519) 661-3014 (8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m. Monday - Friday)
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