Use of body

How your body may be used.

Information on the activities for which your body may be used 

Our licence from the Scottish Government allows us to perform Anatomical Examinations on donated bodies, and store and use them for the purposes of education, training and research at Edinburgh University Medical School. The licence also permits us to work in partnership with The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh in delivering surgical training. 

Activities at Edinburgh University  

If you choose to donate, your body will be used to educate and train the following individuals:

  • Medical and dental students, allied health care students, science students (e.g. biomedical).
  • *External visitors to the University who are qualified healthcare and allied healthcare professionals wishing to study anatomy or carry out surgical training. 
  • *External visitors to the University who are not healthcare professionals such as therapists who work with or treat the human body and other individuals whose professional practice requires an understanding of human anatomy.


Anatomical examination at the University of Edinburgh may take up to 3 years to be completed. 

Occasionally the opportunity to study anatomy is made available to appropriate *individuals (as described above) who are not registered students of Edinburgh University. A fee may be charged to these individuals, but this fee is solely to cover the costs incurred by the University or industry partners to deliver such approved sessions. This is done in strict compliance with the Anatomy Act (1984). 


The decision on whether your body will be used for anatomical examination or for surgical training and research will be made at the time of your death and will be influenced by your medical history and other factors.   If you have indicated on your Declaration of Bequest that you consent to your body being donated to another Scottish anatomy department in the event of Edinburgh University being unable to accept, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with the activities for which your body may be used at these institutions

All donated bodies are cared for by an experienced and compassionate team of Licensed Anatomists and Technicians. They ensure that donated bodies are treated, at all times, with the dignity and respect they deserve, whilst overseeing and approving the range of educational and research activities that the donations support.