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Body Donor Program


Donated bodies play an extremely important role in the teaching of medical and other health care professional students in our universities, and they are also used in a variety of medical research investigations. Thus we wish to stress how very much we appreciate this generous donation.

Should you wish to donate your body, please consult the Body Donor Informational pamphlet, body_donor_info_-_pamphlet.pdf and email your coordinates to vittoria [dot] catania [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Vittoria Catania )should you wish to receive a Body Donor card.


Are there any documents/forms that I must complete and return in order to donate my body?

No, the only "document" is the Body Donor card, you must sign it and must have two witnesses sign it as well. You must keep the card with you at all time. The Body Donor Program is run by the Agence de la Santé et des Services Sociaux de la Capitale de Quebec, and they do not keep a registry of potential body donors. The body must be transferred to the University within 48 hours, therefore it is necessary to have the card readily available (ideally in your wallet).

Will I be able to donate both my organs and body once I pass away?

Unfortunately not, you must choose one or the other.

Will the findings of the research be made available to my family/friends?

The donations are used by students for the basic teaching of anatomy or by medical specialists who may want to investigate new surgical techniques.

How long will the study last?

The study may last anywhere between one to two years, however on some occasions may last longer.

What happens to my body once you're done with your study/research?

If we retain the body after study, we have a general cremation and the ashes are buried in a specially designated site for McGill at Mount Royal Cemetery.

Should the family wish that the body be returned for private burial or cremation, we must be notified in writing within one (1) month after the person’s death. The family will be notified upon completion of our studies usually (one to two years). They may make arrangements with a funeral home at their own expense.  In the event that your family does not have a funeral home, we recommend the M.A. Blythe Bernier Funeral Home (514-495-8082) which is familiar with our requirements. 

Do you hold a ceremony once you have finished the study?

Yes, all families of body donors are invited to our Commemorative Service held annually in June.  At the time of the donor’s death, we request notification of the names and addresses of family members who wish to attend, so that invitations may be issued. The donor will be honored the year of completion of studies.

I want my body to go to McGill - am I guaranteed that it will?

You may want to indicate on your body donor card under restrictions or specific wishes "McGill University", however the Agence de la Santé et des Services Sociaux de la Capitale de Quebec cannot guarantee that it will. Factors, which are indicated in the information pamphlet, such as contagious disease, may cause McGill to refuse the body.