In The News

Donating remains for medical education

Donating remains for medical education

DONATING your remains for use in medical education is just one option to be considered by anyone thinking about what should happen when they pass away.

In Northern Ireland, that means offering your body to the Queen’s University Medical School in Belfast for anatomical examination by medical and dental students.

Perhaps it should be pointed out that while the process is referred to officially as a “donation” of remains, what it really amounts to is an extended loan of your body. This is because the school normally holds remains for a period of between 1 and 3 years, at which point a funeral can then take place.

An incentive for anyone considering offering their body is the fact that the cost of what is referred to as a “simple” funeral — with burial or cremation at Roselawn — is covered by the Medical School. However, the University does make it clear that your Next of Kin or Executors will be expected to meet what it calls: “extra costs arising from any special funeral arrangements”.

Setting in place the arrangement for your body to be offered as a donation is reasonably straightforward. We have listed links and contact details below. It is important that anyone who decides to go down this route must make their decision known to relatives, their doctor and their executors.

Now, just because you may decide to have your body offered for use in medical education doesn’t automatically mean it will be accepted. Reasons for rejecting a donation have been listed in a booklet produced by Queen’s (see link, below). If a post-mortem had been carried out on the body would be one reason for rejection.

While Queen’s does not accept all offers of donations, the University has stressed how important it is for people to participate in the scheme, pointing out: “The study of anatomy is an essential foundation for the clinical practice of our doctors and dentists. Our young medical and dental students are privileged to be able to examine donated human material for the study of anatomy.”

All aspects of the scheme for donating a body for medical education are regulated by the Human Tissue Authority. 

To obtain more information please contact the Anatomy Office at Queen’s University, telephone 028 9097 2131 or email:

To download Queen’s Body Donation Bequest Booklet, click here.

View previous In the News items: More people are urged to make funeral plans, Tributes are paid to Lord Attenborough, Albert Reynolds is given State Funeral, Tributes are paid to broadcaster Gerry Anderson, Tributes are paid to veteran actor JJ Murphy, Rise in the number of deaths in Northern Ireland, Tribute are paid to former DJ Mike Smith, Funeral takes place of Churchwoman Lynda Patterson, Supermarket founder Karl Albrecht passes away, Actor James Garner passes away, Tributes are paid to Elaine Stritch, Tributes are paid to Presbyterian minister, Punk rocker Tommy Ramone passes away, Footballing legent Alfredo Di Stefano passes away, Tributes are paid to jazz musician Paul Horn, Tributes are paid to soul legend Bobby Womack, MBE for inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton, Actress and activist Ruby Dee passes away, Author Eric Hill passes away, Tributes are paid to Rik Mayall, Funeral takes place of Sir John Gorman, Former film star Mona Freeman passes away, Actress Ann B Davis passes away, Judges rule on remains of King Richard III, Smithfield legend Joe Kavanagh passes away, Singer Jerry Vale passes away, Comedian Eli Woods passes away, Shankill pays tribute to Hugh Smyth, Inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton passes away, Colourful funeral for brave Oscar Knox, Scientist Colin Pillinger passes away, Former boxing champion Jimmy Ellis passes away, Tributes are paid to Elena Baltacha, Paul Robeson Junior passes away, Tributes are paid to former footballer Sandy Jardine, Headstones are damaged at a Belfast cemetery, Tributes are paid to popular politician, Generous response in wake of marathon tragedy, Tributes are paid to actress Edna Dore, Private funeral is planned for Mickey Rooney, Country musician Arthur Smith passes away, Comedy writer Bob Larbey passes away, Surfing pioneer Hobie Alter passes away, Writer Sam McAughtry passes away, Internet sensation Peter Oakley passes away, Tributes are paid to actor James Rebhorn, Funeral takes place of James Ellis, Vandals damage graves in Newry, Voice actor Hal Douglas passes away, Belfast mourns passing of James Ellis, Actress Sheila MacRae passes away, Surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland passes away, Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia passes away, Tributes are paid to Maria von Trapp, Actor Malcolm Tierney passes away, Tributes are paid to actor Christopher Malcolm, Actor Ken Jones passes away, Waltons actor Ralph Waite passes away, Tributes are paid to veteran comedian Sid Caesar or Former actress Shirley Temple passes away

If you have a relative or a friend who has passed away and feel they should be mentioned in our In the News section, then please email us.