Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

BBC iWonder: Should I donate my body to medical science?

Issue date: 
08 November 2016

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) has worked with BBC iWonder and Queen's University, Belfast to produce an interactive online guide about body donation. The guide includes a first-hand account from Dr Radha Modgi, who describes her experience of using donated bodies from her time as a medical student. 

It also contains an infographic which sheds light on how each major part of the body is used to train healthcare professionals, which the HTA helped to produce.

Christopher Birkett, Head of Regulation at the HTA said, “It was a pleasure to work with colleagues on this project. One of our roles is to ensure that donated bodies are given with proper consent and are used in a respectful way. The BBC iWonder guide highlights why donated bodies are such a valuable gift and why they are important for training people who need to understand how parts of the body are formed, and how they work.”

The HTA does not collect or receive bodies, but we license and inspect the organisations that do. We also help to ensure that donated bodies are stored in a way to be of most use in training and research.

There are three main uses for donated bodies, which are:

  • Teaching students and professionals about the structure and function of a human body;
  • Training healthcare professionals on surgical techniques;
  • Research and scientific studies to improve understanding of the human body.

For more information on body donation, please read our Body, Brain and Tissue Donation Pack

To coincide with the BBC iWonder guide, BBC True North have produced a documentary about body donation in Northern Ireland, which portrays the value that body donation has for the education of young doctors at Queens University, Belfast. The documentary, entitled Gift From Death is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. 

You can find a link to the BBC iWonder guide here

News type: 
Last updated on: 9 Nov 2016