Body bequeathal frequently asked questions


Future health professionals and researchers at the University of Waterloo will benefit greatly from this generous gift. Students in programs such as kinesiology and optometry all learn anatomy using bequeathed donors.

How do I obtain the forms necessary for declaring my intent to donate?

Option 1: Complete the Form A online. A copy of the completed Form A will be saved by the School of Anatomy for future reference. A copy of the completed Form A will also be emailed to the respondent for downloading and printing.

Option 2: Download the Form A (PDF). Print and sign as many copies of this Form as you require. Please email a signed copy of the form to Tamara Maciel.

Or you may mail a signed copy of the form to:

Tamara Maciel (KHS), HLTH EXP 3684
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave W
Waterloo, ON     N2L 3G1

Option 3: Contact Ms. Tamara Maciel, School of Anatomy Program Director, at 519-888-4567, ext. 43717 or to have a copy of the form mailed to you.

If I sign Form A, does this guarantee that my body will be accepted by the University of Waterloo at the time of my death?

Unfortunately, no. We cannot consider acceptance of an individual until the time of death. There are some situations and medical conditions that may result in the school being unable to accept a donation. Please see the section regarding Suitability for Donation.

Additionally, your executor or next-of-kin must be in agreement with your wishes. We ask that the family of a potential donor be entirely in agreement with this generous donation. If some members of the family are uncomfortable the University may choose not to accept.

The signing of Form A is not a legally binding contract. Just as the University may not be able to accept a donation, it is also your right to change your mind at any time.

The executor named in your will has the ultimate authority to consent to your body donation. In the event that you leave no will, your legal next-of-kin has the authority to bequeath your body.

What makes a donor unsuitable for acceptance at the School?

Do I need to work with a funeral home?

Yes. We do require you to work with a funeral home. You may choose any funeral home that you are comfortable working with. The funeral home will register the death with the city and will transport the body to the University.

What costs are involved in donating a body?

It is the responsibility of the family of the deceased (or the estate) to cover the cost of registration and transportation to the University. There are no additional charges once the donation has been accepted.

What if I want to be an organ or tissue donor?

This is another great way to contribute to society at the time of death. Unfortunately, in most cases this would preclude you from also participating in the body bequeathal program.

Organ and tissue donation is facilitated by the Trillium Gift of Life Network. They can be reached at:

Trillium Gift of Life Network
984 Bay Street, Suite 503, Toronto, ON M5S 2A5
Phone: 416-921-1130 
Toll-free: 1-800-263-2833

Can I be assured that my remains will be handled properly?

Yes. All bodies bequeathed to the University of Waterloo are treated with the utmost dignity and respect. We have a sign on the wall of our laboratory that reads:

"You are now in the presence of those who have given their bodies for the advancement of science. Please treat them with the respect which is their due."

Students are made fully aware of the special privilege granted to them and understand that, by both law and obligation, they have to conduct themselves in a professional manner during their study of the human body.

When will a body be cremated?

Typically between 18 months and 3 years after death the donor will be cremated. At this time the family can choose to have the cremated remains returned to them via Parkview Cemetery.

Alternatively, there is a University of Waterloo plot where cremated remains can be buried at Parkview Cemetery. Neither of these options results in any additional charge to the family.

If the family chooses to bury the ashes privately, they would be responsible for any costs incurred.