Body donation in Scotland: guidance

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

If you are keen to proceed there are three things you will need to do:

Step 1 - Discuss your wishes with your next of kin:

It is essential that you discuss your wishes with your next of kin / executor.  This is so that at the time of your death they are aware of your wish to donate your body to medical science and take the necessary steps to ensure your wishes are carried out wherever possible.

Step 2 – Contact your nearest University:

There are five universities with anatomy departments who receive bodies donated to medical science:

  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of St Andrews

It is normal practice to donate your body to the university closest to your home in order to avoid any additional transportation costs being incurred by your estate.

You should contact the bequest co-ordinator at the university of your choice. They will discuss the entire process with you; answer any questions you may have; and ensure that you receive all paperwork (the declaration of bequest application) you are required to sign, and return to the university, in order for bequeathal to proceed after your death.

If you have any specific health issues you should discuss these with the bequest coordinator as your suitability as a donor may be affected. However, it is important to note that the final decision about whether a body can be accepted cannot be made until time of death, based upon a number of factors the university can discuss with you.

We have provided the contact details for all five universities.

Step 3 – Include your wishes in your will

It may also be helpful to include your wish to donate your body to medical science in your will, in order to assist your next of kin / executor in carrying out your wishes. This must be an official testified will lodged with your solicitor.

In the case of adults, the declaration of your wish should be countersigned by one witness. In the case of those aged between 12 and 18 the declaration must be witnessed by two adults, who must also confirm that the individual understood the effect of the authorisation and was not acting under undue influence.



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

Back to top