How do the following donations differ from one another?
Organ donors donate their organs, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and pancreas. For more information, contact the Organ Donor Foundation toll-free at 0800 22 66 11. Tissue donors donate any/all of the following human tissue: cornea and sclera of the eye, heart valves, musculoskeletal bone, skin, tendons and cartilage. Tissue is removed after the donor has passed away.Whole-body donors donate their bodies for medical research and education.

Purpose of the Whole-body Donor Programme

  • The University of Pretoria needs donations of human bodies for transplantation, tuition and research. A potential donor registers as a whole-body donor with the National Tissue Bank (hereafter referred to as the NTB), which will administer the details of all registered donors, as well as the donation, on behalf of the University of Pretoria.
  • The donation will be used in accordance with the specific need of the University and the NTB at the time of the donation. This will include, but will not be limited to, tissue donation, the training of health and medical students and specialists in human anatomy, and for surgical and medical research purposes.
  • Any medical test results performed to ascertain suitability for donation will remain confidential within the medical fraternity. Under no circumstances will any information about the ultimate destination of the donated tissue be divulged.

When you register as a whole-body donor, no costs are payable by the donor or the next of kin. However, if the family arranges a funeral, the NTB will not be liable for the funeral costs. It will only bear the cost of any additional transportation of the body undertaken in the sole interest of the NTB.

No reward, monetary or otherwise, direct or indirect, is payable to the donor’s estate, relatives or any person, either before or after death.

How do I register as a whole-body donor?
Registration forms are available from the NTB. Please inform your family of your wishes/registration, as they, too, will have to give consent for all donations once you have passed away!
When you register, you will receive a registration card that you should always carry with you.

I have a funeral policy. Should I cancel it?
No, do not cancel your policy. We cannot guarantee that your donation will be accepted. If a donation is not accepted, the family will ultimately be responsible for all funeral arrangements and costs.

What are the conditions of acceptance?
We accept donations of human bodies from people who live and die within a radius of 200 km from Pretoria. No age limit applies.

The following conditions will, however, restrict acceptance:

  • Death occurred outside a radius of 200 km from Pretoria
  • A post-mortem has to be conducted
  • It was an accidental/unnatural death
  • Death was caused by, inter alia, wide-spread cancer, sepsis
  • Either the physical size or the condition of the body renders it unacceptable

May I specify my wishes regarding my donation?
No, the donation will be used at the discretion of the NTB and the University.

Procedure after death
If the donation is accepted, the deceased’s body will be transported to a mortuary of the NTB’s choice as soon as possible after death. All the necessary paperwork will be completed and the use of the body will be determined.

If the donor is between 16 to 70 years old, the donated body may be used for tissue donation. If older than 70 or a whole-body donor, the body will be transferred to the Department of Anatomy for training and research purposes.


  1. The NTB must be notified immediately after death (preferably within 6 hours but no later than 24 hours).
  2. At registration and at the time of death the donor must be within a radius of 200 km from Pretoria.
  3. The NTB reserves the right to accept or reject the donation.
  4. If, for whatever reason, the University rejects a donation, the donor’s next of kin will be responsible for the funeral, related arrangements, as well as the costs involved. Always :
    - Notify the NTB of any change of address. - Notify the NTB of any surgery done for prosthetic implantation or replacement.

Contact details
Hours: 8:00 - 16:00
Phone: 012 356 3090
E-mail: [email protected]
Postal address: Private Bag X20, Hatfield, 0028
24-hour assistance: 084 602 5697 (SMS OR WHATSAPP)

Last edited by Marli Hanekom

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