Publication - Advice and guidance

Body donation in Scotland: guidance

Published: 2 Apr 2019

A guide to donating your body to medical science in Scotland.

Body donation in Scotland: guidance

In Scotland, bodies donated to medical science are used for:

Anatomical examination

This means the teaching of the structure and function of the human body to medical students or healthcare professionals. This would include, for example, learning of surgical techniques.

Education and training

This means the training of healthcare professionals or other non-healthcare professionals e.g. sport science students, through visual examination, as opposed to anatomical examination.


This involves scientific studies designed to improve the our understanding of the human body in health and disease.

It is not possible to donate your body for research purposes alone, however if this is something you feel strongly about, for example assisting with research into a specific disease, please see the additional information section

Further information

Our section on next steps provides guidance on how to make the necessary arrangements for body donation. 

Please note that university anatomy departments cannot guarantee that a donated body will always be accepted after death. This is due to a number of factors.  Please see the additional information section to find out more.

If you have any further questions about the process of body donation, what will happen after your death, what arrangements can be made once the anatomy department has completed its work or anything else relating to body donation in Scotland then please see the additional information section.

The university contacts page can help you get in touch with your nearest anatomy department.

Information about organ donation is on the organ donation scotland website. 



HM Inspector of Anatomy for Scotland
Scottish Government
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road