The Final Gift: Donating a Body to Science and How it Impacts the Funeral

In Ontario, many families are now choosing to donate their bodies to science. Bequeathing one’s remains for the benefit of education and progress is one of the most unselfish gifts a person can bestow.

There are currently 17 medical schools or School of Anatomy across Canada accepting donations of bodies for science to train future health professionals. Collectively, these schools currently have 60,000-70,000 potential donors on file.

Donating your Body to Science vs. Organ and Tissue Donation

Body donation is the donation of the body in its entirety and is strictly used for educational and research purposes. Organ and tissue donation, which has risen in popularity by 30%, is for the purpose of helping another living person receive a lifesaving transplant. For more information, please visit The Trillium Gift of Life.

How Do I Make Arrangements to Donate my Body When I Die?

It is important to talk about your final plans with your next-of kin and your Estate Trustee. An individual may also provide consent by filling out a consent form, available at any School of Anatomy. If consent is not given by the individual prior to death, the next-of-kin is able to grant permission as per section 5 of the Trillium Gift of Life Network Act.

Donations Are NOT Always Accepted

Although bodies are usually accepted, there are circumstances that sometimes prevent a donation form being approved.

A donation may be refused if:

There is a contagious disease;
Death was by suicide or accident that involved severe trauma;
An autopsy was performed;
Amputation occurred;
Embalming took place;
Organ Donation occurred;
It has been over 72 hours since the time of death;
The school is not in need of donations.

What Happens When A Body is Donated?

Students are taught about altruism and the generosity of the donor. Respect is of the utmost importance as these cadavers are their first patient and no one is there to advocate for them other than the practicing student(s). Bodies are kept for 1-3 years for research and educational purposes. Following this time, remains are respectfully cremated and returned to the family or interred in a communal plot.

Can My Family Still Hold a Memorial Service?

A family can still choose to gather to commemorate the life of the deceased. Although human or cremated remains will not be present, pictures and mementos can be displayed at the venue of the family’s choice. An annual memorial service is often held by the schools for surviving families of donors as well as medical staff and students.

How Does a Donation to Science Affect Funeral Costs?

A family can choose to have no service at all. Alternatively, a family can choose to have a memorial service with no remains present. The cost for this would depend on what sort of venue is selected along with any reception costs.. A family can also arrange to hold a memorial service once the cremated remains are returned to them, 1-3 years following the death.

Aside from costs associated with optional venue and reception, the fees associated with donating a body to science are quite minimal, making this a popular option for families not wanting to spend a great deal on funeral arrangements. The only services required from a funeral home are the transfer from place of death and the coordination of government documents by a licensed funeral director. At Basic Funerals, these services typically cost under $1000.00. Please visit Basic Funerals for a price estimate or complete our online Arrangement Form to start record your preferences.

Everyone was so helpful in dealing with my brother John's funeral.
Judy Costantini
22:57 13 May 19
During a difficult and emotional time the services we received were exactly what we wanted. There was no attempt at "up-selling" nor was there any sense that we were being guilted into making unaffordable or complex choices. Rather, we received careful attention and very professional responsiveness to our needs. I would absolutely recommend this service for anyone struggling with all of the many other details and emotional distress that follow the passing of a loved one.read more
Debra Macphail
17:18 06 Mar 19
Karoline was the front-line Funeral Director who looked after my wife's final needs. Although I was, at first skeptical, Karoline soon put my mind at ease and she created the type of service that Shelley desired and in a special location that I requested.Throughout the entire process, Karoline offered support and in the event we needed clarification, Karoline did not hesitate. She proved herself to be a valuable asset. to Classic Funerals but also to the family they served.read more
D.C. Mahoney
08:46 31 Jan 19
Robin was awesome to deal with and answered all of my questions. I only wished I know of basic funerals when I was pre arranging my mother's. I was told all sorts of lies by a funeral home.read more
joann guenette
20:04 06 Sep 18
Robin was very professional, knowledgeable, organized and helpful. Great customer service! Thank you.
Louise Viersen
20:40 20 Aug 18
We decided that we wanted to make our pre-planned funeral arrangements and had the pleasure of speaking to Robin. She sat down with us, and clearly outlined all of our options. She reviewed earlier cemetery arrangements with regard to our family plot and what we still required. We are both pleased and relieved that everything is in order and that the Executor of our estate will only have to call one number..read more
Soosy Q
19:29 24 Jul 18
Excellent customer service! Excellent prices! Convenient payment plans. Could not ask for more!
Jaden Winfree
20:08 21 Jun 18
I prearranged my own funeral all on line including payment etc..no muss no fuss....a great experience
John O'Hearn
19:38 24 Apr 18
Robin was very helpful!!! I feel very happy knowing my arrangements are done as per my wishes. This will be so helpful to my family when my time comes to depart this earth!read more
Sandra Stubbs
12:49 09 Apr 18
I contacted Basic Funerals & Cremation to pre-arrange services for my mother. I initially reached out for an appointment by email and received a very prompt reply. I set up the appointment via an email exchange and met with Robin at Basic F&C the following week. It was a very straightforward process and Robin went to great lengths to to explain and simplify the various options. I highly recommend Basic F&C for the ease of contact, arrangement and follow-up.read more
Rick Pringle
17:09 28 Mar 18
Very happy with their professional service. Quick to respond with any questions or concerns. Would highly recommend this company to anyone needing their service .read more
Gail Adamson
20:34 07 Feb 18
Convenient and respectful. This is the second time my family has used Basic Funerals and Cremations Choices. The first was 5 years ago when my father passed away and this time was for my brother. I didn't deal with Basic with my father's arrangements but my step-mother did and recommended them and honestly, I don't think I'd use anyone else moving forward. When we had word on my brother's terminal illness, I called 3 places to get quotes on the cremation he wanted. Let me preface this by saying that my brother said a Celebration of Life was acceptable but he didn't want a viewing or funeral so a cremation is what I was researching.Since this was my first time arranging such services, I had no idea what to expect. The first place (a local funeral home) quoted me $4000, so now I had a starting point. The second place (a local cremation facility) quoted me $1000 (wth? talk about a price difference!) but then stated I had to involve a separate "funeral home of my choice" for transfer services (huh?) and lastly I called Basic.Unlike the other two places I had called, Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices took the time to explain everything to me and offered to email me a quotation that contained all of the details. They offered me various packages to choose from depending on my needs and told me there was no pressure to decide now-I could decide when the time came. The three packages were Budget, Basic and Priority (I chose Priority and would recommend it for the slight price difference). They also confirmed that there would be no additional charges beyond what I was quoted (and there wasn't!).Unfortunately, it was a very short time after this call when their service was needed. I made the call to Basic and they took care of everything. They were incredibly professional the whole way through. From the initial phone call, to the follow-up call when my brother passed, to the young gentleman that came to deliver my brother's ashes and even follow-up calls, these people are top-notch.Basic Funerals and Cremations Choices took the worry out of making the arrangements. I have started recommending their service to friends and family and told my husband this is what I him to do want when my time comes.I'd like to end my review with a sincere thank you to Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices.read more
Connie P.
14:15 05 Feb 18
I was in need of immediate service and Basic Funerals were very helpful and right there tending to my request. The staff were very helpful and attentive to our needs. I would definitely recommend this service for anyone, thank you.read more
Don Mascarin
01:51 12 Jan 18
Our family lost a member who lived in Ontario while most of us are in Newfoundland. This could have caused a lot of confusion and extra expense that we did not need at this difficult time. Basic Funerals was amazing to deal with. Fast, clear, informative, inexpensive, and respectful of our wishes. We got the cremains in plenty of time for the funeral, as well as everything else we expected. I HIGHLY recommend Basic Funerals for anyone during this difficult time.read more
Communication was exemplary...clear, quick response times, helpful. I also appreciated the professional yet senstitive approach each person I spoke with had during our difficult time. One thing I very much appreciated was NO attempt to upsell whatsoever. Any tiny suggestion to get more money I would have not used their services and they never once did...very impressed by that.I was helped by David, Natasha and Kamilah and I was very happy with their customer service...I would highly recommend Basic Funerals.read more
Evangelina Coleman
19:47 12 Nov 17
My Mom had a prearranged plan with Basic Funerals at my recommendation. I found them on the internet and my Mom prearranged everything back in 2011. When my Mom passed we contacted Robin who was her Prearrangement Specialist and was extremely helpful from start to finish. I highly recommend Basic Funerals. Thank you so much Robin and staff for all your help at this difficult time!!!read more
Sandy J-Lee
18:13 12 Nov 17
Very helpful. Compassionate.
Nadine Kyle
13:59 12 Oct 17
Representatives on the phone and in person were so courteous, efficient and straight forward. It was a very difficult time for my elderly parents, and they made it so much easier and in ways enjoyable. Thank you Robin ans Stephanie for such professionalism ! The price is very affordable, no frills and up-selling. Highly recommended.read more
Dragana Skokovic-Sunjic
02:02 11 Oct 17
Prompt response. They understand and listened to your needs. Robin was extremely professionnal, caring and understood what I wanted in regards of my dad's pre-arrangements. It feels good to be understood. Robin was great and went above and beyond to provide me with a great service and no surprise in regards of the pricing.GREAT PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE.I would recommend highly BASIC FUNERALS.read more
Johanne Coshall
15:20 09 Oct 17
Basic Funeral and Cremation Choices was the right choice for my mother's cremation. I contacted Jessica a few days before the time and she provided a quotation after a few minutes on the phone. The quotation was exactly what we were looking for. The price was reasonable. Jessica was on site for the cremation and everything went as planned. I would highly recommend Jessica and her firm.read more
Ravi Aggarwal
16:13 05 Oct 17
Jessica, was wonderful She took her time walking my family through our options. The detailed information she provided was priceless. Guiding us through a very difficult time. This was the second time using her services. I'd definitely use Basic Funerals and Cremations again. Also considering prearrangement of my own aftercare services. Offering my family peace of mind that my wishes were already thought out and paid for!Louise Kruegerread more
Louise Munro
02:36 05 Oct 17
Funeral Guide cover

Funeral Education Guide

Sign up to receive your free copy of our Funeral Education Guide and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Funeral Guide cover

Request a Quote

One of our Funeral Directors will send you a custom quotation that is guaranteed for at least 60 days. Fill out the form or talk to a director now at 1-877-229-7077.