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Gift of Body

Gift of Body Information

Our Mission

To provide a detailed study of the anatomy of the human body for medical education that constitutes an invaluable and indispensable part of a complete experience. It is one of the most important courses in the education of health professionals such as Chiropractors, Nurses Registered Massage Therapists and Physiotherapists. Each year, donations are needed for the teaching of the previously mentioned professions and related disciplines. In addition, health care providers often pursue special courses in anatomy. Further, it is important for professionals to revisit and hone their skills and anatomy training.

The principal source of bodies is private donation

hand drawn skeleton

Who Can Donate?

Any competent person 18 years of age or over may donate their body for medical education and research. After death, donations may also be made by the next of kin or designated executor.


How Can One Donate?

An individual may donate their remains before death by completing an Anatomical Gift Declaration of Consent. The completion of this form does not require the services of a lawyer or notary. The Form must be signed by two witnesses, preferably someone who can act on your behalf at the time of death. Upon receipt of the completed Declaration of Consent, the potential donor will be registered in the files of the Anatomical Gift Program and a Donor Participant card will be issued to the donor. Please note that donations made through an individual's last will and testiment may be read too late after death to permit timely acceptance of the request.

As a registered donor to the Anatomical Gift Program, you should inform your next of kin, or other individuals who are responsible under the law for the deposition of your remains and your desires to donate your body to medical science. Discuss your plans with those close to you so that your wishes may be honored. If at the time of death the next of kin or another close family member expresses regrets concerning the donation, the Anatomical Gift Program will relinquish all claim to the remains. It is also advisable for a potential donor to notify his or her physician of the arrangements.

In the advent an individual dies prior to registering with the Anatomical Gift Program, the donation can still be made. After the death of an individual , an Anatomical Gift Statement of Donation form may be executed by the next of kin or executor. Upon notification of the death of an individual, the Anatomical Gift Program will accept the remains contingent upon a verbal request by the next of kin. A Statement of Donation form must be filed within 72 hours after receipt of the remains in order for the donation to proceed.



Somatic Explorations Inc. does not offer payment for a body, but will assume responsibility for appropriate administrative and filing fees as well as for the cost of transportation of the remains to the Lab. Should death occur at a great distance from the Somatic Explorations Inc., the Anatomical Gift Program will assist the family with the arrangements for donation to an Anatomical Gift Program at a medical school or other donation program.

For those individuals who travel for extended periods to other parts of Canada or the world to visit family and friends, we encourage them to also join a donation program in that area to provide coverage for while away from home. The Anatomical Gift Program will assist you in locating a Donation Program at a medical school or other donation program.


Donation Process

At the Time of Death

When death occurs, a family member, hospital staff, or funeral director should notify Anatomical Gift Program, Somatic Explorations Inc. via Burquitlam Funeral Home at (604) 936-9987

The caller will be asked:

  1. name of the deceased
  2. location of the deceased
  3. name, address and relationship to the deceased of the caller
  4. whether a physician or medical staff has attended to the deceased

The Anatomical Gift Program will then arrange for the transport of the body to a facility contracted by Somatic Explorations Inc.. Transportation to the facility is provided by a licensed funeral director under contract with the Anatomical Gift Program. If the family of the deceased wishes to utilize the services of a funeral director of their choosing, any expenses and fees beyond those normally incurred by the Anatomical Gift Program will be the responsibility of the family or estate of the deceased .

Refusal of a Donation

Somatic Explorations Inc. reserves the right to decline the donation of a body when the remains are deemed unsuitable for educational purposes. A body should not be previously autopsied or embalmed.

Conditions that may render a body unsuitable include:

  1. certain infectious diseases (AIDS, Hepatitis, tuberculosis)
  2. extensive trauma at the time of death
  3. advanced decomposition
  4. extreme obesity or malnutrition

Please discuss alternate plans with your family in the unlikely event that we cannot accept the gift of your body at the time of your death.

Organ Donation and Anatomical Gifts

The Anatomical Gift Program whole heartedly supports organ donations. The donation of organs for transplantation takes precedence over whole body donation. Somatic Explorations Inc cannot accept individuals who donate their organs for transplantation as whole body donors. With that said, Somatic Explorations encourages individuals to register for both programs. In a vast number of circumstances, very generous and selfless individuals are not able to donate living organs but can still be whole body donors.


Disposition and Interment

When studies are completed, approximately 12 to 24 months after donation, all bodies are cremated individually and placed in a sealed urn.

Two options are available to the donor and/or family:

  1. The ashes may be returned to the family or other designated individual for final disposition.
  2. Somatic Explorations Inc. will assume responsibility for disposition and will inter the ashes in the gardens of the Port Coquitlam Cemetary.

While the decision of final disposition is requested at the time of the donation, it is not binding and can be changed at any time by notifying the Anatomical Gift Program.


Donor Informed Consent

If you wish to donate the most selfless gift, please fill out the Donor Informed Consent form and forward it to Somatic Explorations Inc.

Click here to download the Donor Informed Consent PDF