Donors' attitudes towards body donation for dissection

Lancet. 1995 Jul 29;346(8970):277-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(95)92166-4.


We report a survey in the UK of potential whole-body donors for dissection. 218 people (age range 19-97 years) answered a postal questionnaire, giving information about themselves, their reasons for donation, attitudes towards the dead body, funeral preferences and medical giving and receiving. In addition to altruism, motives included the wish to avoid funeral ceremonies, to avoid waste, and in a few cases, to evade the expense of a funeral. 44% understood that their bodies would be used as teaching material, 42% for experiments. Whilst 69% believed in one or more supernatural phenomena, only 39% said they were religious. 69% requested cremation after dissection; 2% wanted to be buried. The notion of money incentives to promote donation was overwhelmingly rejected.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Cadaver*
  • Dissection*
  • Female
  • Funeral Rites
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Religion
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tissue Donors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*
  • United Kingdom