Body Donation Program


DECEMBER 21, 2020 - JANUARY 6, 2021




An increasing number of people make arrangements to leave their bodies for anatomical study, thereby performing an unusual and outstanding service.  Such people have the unique distinction of rendering Service After Death to their fellow men and women.

Because of the demand for doctors, dentists, and other members of the health professions, the need for anatomical material to teach medical, dental, medical rehabilitation, and graduate students is increasing.  To obtain firsthand experience of the structure and functions of humans, students must study the bodies of their deceased fellow men and women.

Most people who wish to leave their bodies for anatomical study quite naturally think of including a statement in their Wills.  However, there are two things about this procedure that you should realize.

  1. Burial often takes place before the Will is read.
  2. Although your executor is justified in carrying out your wish, your family might disagree with the idea if they have not heard about it prior to your death.  An undesirable situation might result.

If you decided to include a statement in your Will, you are strongly advised to discuss your wishes with your next of kin and any other person(s) likely to be in charge of your body at the time of death.  Seek their approval and cooperation concerning your wish.  This should be done while you and your family are in good health.


Students preparing themselves for medical, dental, and allied health professions are fully aware of the special privilege granted to them by law and the obligation they have to conduct themselves in a professional manner during study of their deceased fellow men and women.  Persons concerned may be assured that all anatomical material is accorded the dignity and respect that society customarily grants to the deceased.

Often students and staff make contributions to the Anatomical Research Fund or place wreaths at the grave site as a tribute to the persons who contributed their bodies.  Many students attend the funerals to pay last respects to the persons who made a special contribution to their professional education.

The names of persons who have contributed themselves to the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science of the University of Manitoba for anatomical study are recorded in a Book of Remembrance.  The care and thought taken in the preparation of this book are evident from its frontispiece.


Although the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science would normally accept each body, both you and your next of kin or executor should realize that the University reserves the right to refuse any body at the time of death. The family or executor would then be responsible for making alternate arrangements.

Record your wish
You may leave your body for anatomical study by completing a Waiver of Claim form (Registration Form). Your statement of desire is not legally binding because legislation has not been enacted in this province giving persons the legal right to donate their bodies.  In common law your body is not part of your estate; therefore, you have no legal right to bequeath it.  The legal power to determine the disposal of your body rests with your next of kin, the executor named in your Will, or the person lawfully in charge of your body at the time of death.

Seek consent of next of kin
Talk to your family about your wish, preferably while you are in good health.  Seek their understanding and cooperation.  If your next of kin, or any member of your immediate family strongly disapproves of the idea, you are advised not to pursue it further.  If your next of kin will not complete Waiver of Claim form, you are strongly urged to abandon the idea.

Consultation with your clergy is also recommended because they can clarify the views of your church about this act of service.  Consultation will also enable them to be better prepared to guide your family at the time of death and arrange a Memorial Service.

If approval to leave your body for anatomical study is obtained, ask your preferred claimant/next of kin (18 years of age or over) to complete the Waiver of Claim form.


Return original Service After Death Body Bequeathal Program Registration Form to:

Body Donation Program
Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba
130 Basic Medical Sciences Building, 745 Bannatyne Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3E 0J9 CANADA 

Give a copy to your preferred claimant (spouse, common-law partner, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, executor, lawyer or any other person legally entitled to claim the body after death).

You are advised not to put the form in a safety deposit box because burial often occurs before the box is opened. 

For a hard copy of the Body Donation Program information, please email the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science .  Please include your name and address and the information will be mailed out to you.  Alternatively, you may call 204-789-3652 or fax 204-789-3920 to request the information.

For your convenience, please feel free to print the Body Donation Program brochure.


An Instructions to Next-of-Kin at Time of Death form should be given to your preferred claimant.

When death occurs
The next of kin should inform the doctor and the hospital/personal care home authorities at once about the assignment of the body and should give clear instructions that the body is to be neither autopsied nor embalmed.

The Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science should be contacted at 204-789-3652 in order to determine acceptability.  Note that normal office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.  Should death occur during the evening or on a weekend, please leave a message stating your name and phone number, along with the deceased's name and location.  Your call will be returned as soon as possible the next business day.

If the deceased cannot be kept under proper cold refrigeration beyond 8 hours following death or requires immediate removal, please call Winnipeg Funeral Transfer Service at 204-956-2882 or Toll Free 1-877-956-2882 to arrange for transportation to their facility.   Please note that the transfer service does not make the decision on acceptance of a donor.  If the body is accepted, the University of Manitoba will arrange for transportation.  Expenses incurred up to a maximum of $75.00 (subject to change) will be borne by the University. Charges exceeding this are the responsibility of the family or the estate of the deceased.  If the deceased is transported from outside of Winnipeg, the family / next-of-kin will be responsible for paying mileage charges of $1.50* per kilometre round trip. *subject to change without notice.

Unacceptable bodies
Although the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science would normally accept each body, the University reserves the right to refuse any body.  In the event that the body cannot be accepted the next of kin or the executor is responsible for making alternate arrangements.  

When death occurs beyond a radius of 322 km of Winnipeg, the body cannot be accepted by the University of Manitoba because of problems relating to the shipping of an unembalmed body.

The Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science will not accept donors with the following:

  • Autopsy or Medical Examiners Cases
  • Bodies that have already been embalmed
  • Organs and/or tissues have been removed for transplantation
  • Infectious or contagious diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis (any type), Sepsis, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, Shingles)
  • Severe antibiotic resistant infections (e.g. MRSA, VRE, ESBL)
  • Extensive trauma to the body (including recent major surgery)
  • Increased or decreased Body Mass Index (BMI) as determined by the Department.
  • Extensive abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • Excessive edema
  • Scleroderma and/or other autoimmune diseases
  • Natural deterioration of the body; where more than 72 hours have passed post death even if the body has been refrigerated
  • Deterioration of the body; where more than 8 hours have passed if a body has not been refrigerated
  • Family is in disagreement with the donation.
  • Extensive internal pathology, numerous past surgeries, organ or tissue removal
  • Major amputations
  • Major deformities or severe limb contracture
  • Severe burn or tissue damage
  • Death by accident involving major trauma or by suicide
  • Extensive cancer (as determined by the Department)
  • Bodies of infants and children (anyone under the age of 18) are unacceptable

Many individuals wish to donate their kidneys, heart, or other organs of the body to those in need of such a transplant, but we regret that if organs (with the exception of eyes) are used for transplantation, we are unable to accept the body.  For general information on organ and tissue donation, please visit or email  For more information about tissue donation, please visit or email









At time of death
A funeral service of the usual sort is not possible because the body must be sent unembalmed to the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science as soon as possible.  If a service is desired at this time, a memorial service is recommended.  It is suggested that, prior to the time of death, arrangements be made with the clergy for this type of service.

There is no need for secrecy on the part of the clergy, relatives or friends about the body having been given to the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science, rather relatives and friends should feel proud of the attitude and desire of the deceased.

Death notices
Death notices might conclude with the phrase “Funeral Private,” “Memorial Service”, or some similar wording.  A notice might also state, “The body has been contributed to the University of Manitoba for the advancement of medicine through anatomical study.  In lieu of flowers, friends may wish to contribute to the Anatomical Research Fund, or to the charity of their choice.”  The next of kin is informed of donations to the Anatomical Research Fund and receipts are sent to donors for income tax purposes.

When making their Wills, some persons state that a certain amount of money is to be donated to the Anatomical Research Fund if the University accepts the body.

After anatomical study
Following studies, which may take place up to four years after death, the remains will be individually cremated and placed in a simple urn.   The reason that some bodies are kept longer depends on the required need in any given year or they are particularly useful for study and may be used repeatedly for instructional purposes.

University burial service
The Burial Arrangement form is sent to the preferred claimant following the death of the donor. Notification of the time and place of the University Burial Service is sent to the family and others if requested.  Each year the University arranges an interment service which is held at Brookside Cemetery. This service is attended by students, staff, and officials of the University and of the government.  Committal services are read by clergy of the denominations to which the deceased belonged.  The University provides floral arrangements at the grave site.  The above funeral expenses are paid by the University.  Unfortunately the University is not able to provide grave markers.  Should you wish to have one placed, the cemetery should be contacted directly for specifics.  A memorial monument has been placed at Brookside Cemetery to recognize the significant gift that all donors, previous and future, make when their bodies are entrusted to our faculty.

Private burial
Persons wishing interment other than at Brookside Cemetery, at special times, or in private plots, must claim the ashes for private burial.  Expenses incurred following release of the urn, including interment, must be borne by the relatives or the estate of the deceased.


Cannot sell one’s body
No one can sell their (or anyone else’s) body to the University of Manitoba or any other institution.

Death of Next-of Kin
Death of the person who signed the Waiver of Claim to your body does not invalidate the Waiver.  The forms may be countersigned by another preferred claimant (next of kin, executor, etc.), this is not required by The Anatomy Act.

Moving from Manitoba
If you move from Manitoba the arrangement you have made to leave your body to the University of Manitoba is no longer valid because The Anatomy Act authorizing the University to accept bodies applies only to Manitoba.  Similar arrangements, however, may be made with another university in your new province or state of residence.

Driver’s Licence
Signing the back of your driver’s licence does not validate donation of one’s body.  Waiver of Claim form from the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science must be completed.



University of Manitoba, Medical Memorial Monument Dedication June 2003 Brookside Cemetery

"In Rememberance of the Men and Women who made a Unique Contribution to the Advancment of Medicine by Donating their Bodies to the University of Manitoba"


burial service

book of remember
















































Annual Burial Service - Neil Bardal Funeral Centre