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Donation of Remains to Medical Science

The donation of human remains to Medical Science in Ireland is governed by the Anatomy Act 1832 and is overseen by the Inspector of Anatomy.

Why Donate?

The use of human bodies as the basis of the study of human anatomy has been the cornerstone of medical training and research for over 400 years. It enables students to attain a mastery of anatomy unobtainable by other means. It allows surgeons in training to practice and evaluate their skills without risk to life. In addition, it facilitates research into the detailed anatomy relevant to new surgical procedures designed to improve medical care and treatment. Consequently, much of the teaching and research of our department is utterly dependant on the generosity of spirit of those who donate their bodies to Medical Science.

Who do I contact?

The general practice is to donate to the University nearest your normal place of residence.

The 5 medical schools in Ireland are: Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Dublin (UCD), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University College Galway (UCG), and University College Cork (UCC). Each University has it's own donation information pack which includes their registration form. Anyone considering donating their body to medical science should contact the university nearest their normal place of residence. People resident in Northern Ireland would donate to Queen's University, Belfast.

Recording your intention to donate your body to medical science after death in your will is not adequate; you must be registered with one of the 5 medical schools.

What is involved in donating to Trinity College (TCD)?

  • The donation of remains to Medical Science must be made by the person themselves (known as Primary Consent). This involves completing a registration form, having it witnessed and returning the form to the Anatomy department.
  • The donation registration form is not a legal document, donors may withdraw their donation at any time.
  • The remains can be held in the department for up to 3 years after receiving them. After this period of time, the remains are interred in accordance with the wishes of the donor and in consultation with the family/executor of the donor at the time of interment.
  • The donor must be resident in Ireland (excluding the 6 counties of Northern Ireland as it is a different jurisdiction) at the time of death.

    For further information and registration forms please do not hesitate to contact either Philomena McAteer or Siobhan Ward:

    Phone: +353 1 896 1295
    Anatomy Discipline, Level 1,
    Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College,
    152 - 160 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, D02 R590

The Book of Remembrance

This Book of Remembrance was commissioned in January 2000 to commemorate the people who so generously donated their bodies after death to medical science. It is dedicated to those whose bodies after death have been rendered useful to their fellow creatures.

On May 10th, 2000 an inter-faith act of remembrance and thanksgiving was held in Trinity College chapel during which the book was dedicated to their memory. An inter-faith act is held every three years in the College chapel. Relatives and friends of donors are invited to attend the act, which is organised by the staff and students of the Anatomy Discipline in conjunction with the college Chaplains.

Relatives Room

In June 2011, a Relatives’ Room was dedicated for use by the families and friends of those who donate their bodies to medical science and teaching at the Anatomy department in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.

In the absence of a normal funeral, accompanying the donor to the college and spending a little time in the Relative’s Room with the donor’s coffin provides the bereaved family with some consolation as they have the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one.

While the donor is in our care, families are welcome to use this space to gather for significant occasions such as Anniversaries, Christmas etc. 

Relatives and friends of donors may view the Book of Remembrance in this room by appointment.