Willed Donor Program
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Information for Donors

The decision to donate your body to the department of human anatomy upon your death represents a priceless gift to the world of medical education and a tremendous opportunity for the students who will one day be among our society’s most talented - and best trained - doctors and scientists. Thank you for considering making such a donation.

How the Program Works

Once you register to become a donor to the anatomy (Whole) Body Program, the Department of human Anatomy will keep your name and contact information on file. Upon your death, a caregiver or family member must contact us right away. At the time of donation, your family will be asked whether they wish for the cremated remains after study to be returned or whether they would like us to arrange for interment.

The Department of human anatomy will arrange to transport your body to our facility where it may be used to teach students about the structure of the human body, and for the purpose of conducting medical research. The study period may range from one month to two years, but it is typically about a year in duration. Once study of the body is complete, the department will arrange for cremation. 

Our faculty, students, and staff are very grateful for the kindness our donors have extended, and bodies are treated with the greatest respect while in our care.

Terms and conditions of becoming a body donor

No payment is involved

No payment is made to donors for their participation in the program, nor are they charged for participating. The department covers the cost of transporting your body if death occurs within Nairobi County as well as costs of cremation at the Langata cemetery.

Change my mind

Registering for the program indicates your intent to be a donor. However, it is not a legally binding contract. If you change your mind, simply notify the department and we will remove you from our registration list. It is important to tell your family and caregivers your wishes for they are the ones who must know whether to contact the department upon your death. After your death, decisions regarding the donation of your remains are made by the person who has legal authority over your affairs.

Can donate body after an organ donation

A body can easily be accepted after the organ have been have donated (e.g. liver, heart, kidneys), as long as the body can be transported to the department of human anatomy promptly. If too much time passes or other unusual circumstances occur, we may have to decline the body donation, in which case the family must be prepared to make other arrangements.

Family’s options for a funeral

Because we must receive body donations promptly (within 24 hours of death), it is not possible for bodies to be embalmed elsewhere or to be present at a funeral or viewing. Of course, a memorial service may be held without the remains present. Also, families may choose to remember the deceased at the time of donation and request to have cremated remains returned some time later, as described previously.


Age limit

There is no upper age limit to donate your body.

Decline offer to donate

The department will accept most body donations but in a small number of cases shall be unable to accept body donation for a variety of reasons, e.g. those with certain infectious diseases (e.g. hepatitis, tuberculosis, MRSA, VRE, Staphyloccocus infection or those who are HIV positive – see FAQ for more details). If an autopsy has been performed on the body or if death occurred during major surgery, we cannot accept the donation. This is not a complete list - there may be other circumstances in which we cannot accept a body. Upon the death of a donor, a family member or caregiver must contact our program staff by phone or in person. At that time, our staff will make a final determination as to whether the body donation can be accepted by our program. If, at our discretion, we are unable to accept your body, your family must make alternate arrangements for it. It is therefore a good idea to have a backup plan in place in case unforeseen circumstances prevent us from accepting your body donation.

Protecting your privacy

Every effort is made to keep your name and other personal information confidential. Students and researchers are not told donors’ names, nor does the departments publish them. In some cases, donors or their families may choose to disclose that they are supporting Body donor Program, such as when asking loved ones to make gifts to the program.

Death certificate and medical history

At the time of death, the attending physician will complete a death certificate. It is not necessary to provide a medical history of the donor. However, if one is available, it will be helpful to our staff and students in the course of their studies.

How to register

Registration can be done online by visiting our website coming up soon (click on the link for body donation). After registering, you will be able to print out a signature card to return for filing in the department. Registration is not complete until we receive the signature card for our records.

Instructions for Family and Caregivers

Thank you for helping the Department to fulfill this donor’s wishes by contacting the department of human anatomy Body Program. You are playing an important part in the education of medical students at the Nairobi University.

Notify us as soon as possible

Upon the death of a pre-registered donor, please notify the Department of Human Anatomy and we will arrange to pick up the body within a few hours. In most cases we must receive the body within 24 hours of death. Occasionally, a donor’s illness or other considerations will prevent us from being able to accept a donation (see FAQs). Our representative will make this determination during the initial phone call and will inform you in the event alternate arrangements will be needed.