Bequeathing your body for medical research

Human bodies or parts cannot be bought or sold. Likewise, they cannot be ‘owned’ by anyone and therefore cannot be given away by someone else following your death. However, you can express a wish during your life for your body to be used for teaching, training and research when you die. This must be witnessed by a friend or relative who understands your wishes and is happy to act as a witness.

By filling in a donation form you are expressing a wish for your body to be used for teaching, training and research. Relatives seldom fail to carry out this wish, but you should discuss your wishes with your relatives before bequeathing your body.

The Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia is licensed under the Human Tissue Act (2004) to accept whole body donations to undertake anatomical examination for the purposes of medical education, training and research (license number 12500). This benefits student studying both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Medicine and Health Care Sciences, as well as practicing healthcare professionals.

Anatomical Examination

Your body will be used to study the structure and form of the human body. This benefits medical and health science students, practicing Doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Education and Training

Future and current healthcare professionals gain great benefit from the opportunity to develop surgical skills and to learn or practice clinical procedures on the body.


The anatomy team has recently been involved in a small number of research projects both within UEA with their students and in association with colleagues from local hospitals. These have included investigating possible new sites for lymph node transplants following extensive surgery for cancer treatment, and investigating the possibility of replacing x-ray guided spinal surgery with ultrasound guidance to remove the need to irradiate patients.

All activities are overseen by experienced staff working within the terms of a license issued by the Human Tissue Authority under the Human Tissue Act (2004).

Once death has occurred and the Medical School has agreed to accept the donation, Rosedale works closely with the Norwich Medical School to facilitate body donations and to organise the subsequent cremation.  The Norwich Medical School has a plot in Colney Woodland Burial Ground where the ashes of their donors are scattered. Each autumn a memorial service is held for students to show their appreciation for the opportunity they have been given and relatives of the donors are welcome to attend the service and ash scattering.

It is also possible to return ashes to relatives, or for relatives to organise a personal burial or cremation at their own cost.

How to find out more

If you live within an IP or NR post code area and are considering donating your body, you can talk to us to find out more.

The Norwich Medical School’s donation form is available to download here and their information booklet is available to download here.

For more information from the Human Tissue Authority on donating your body, please visit the HTA website.

To request a UEA donation pack, please call +44 (0) 1603 591104 to speak to the bequeathals secretary, alternatively email [email protected]. The office is open for enquiries from 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. If you make contact out of office hours, your call will be diverted to the Norwich Medical School where you can leave a message and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.