Arrange for
Organ, tissue or body

Check your loved one’s identification document, driver’s license, living will or paper work for any sign that he/she was a registered organ donor. Organ, tissue and whole-body donations are time-critical, so it is crucial to act quickly.


Organ Donation should not delay funeral plans, as organs need to be removed as soon as possible after brain death to ensure a successful transplantation. Solid organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas can only be donated if your loved one has been declared brain dead and is on a ventilator in a hospital. Support systems are maintained until organs have been removed. Please keep this in mind so that you can inform the hospital in advance that your loved one is an organ donor.

Death of an organ donor is defined by the time of certification of brain death, not by withdrawal of support. Brain death must be certified by two independent doctors before organs/tissue can be removed. According to the National Health Act, 2003 organs/tissue cannot be removed unless the family gives permission. You are welcome to contact the Organ Donor Foundation on: 0800 22 66 11 (during office hours), 082 318 4376 (after hours) or visit the Organ Donor Foundation website for more information.


Tissue such as bone, skin, corneas and heart valves may be used if your loved one is either on a ventilator or have already passed away and the body is at the mortuary. You are welcome to contact the Organ Donor Foundation on: 0800 22 66 11 (during office hours), 082 318 4376 (after hours) or visit the Organ Donor Foundation website for more information. Alternatively, contact The National Tissue Bank, an affiliate of the University of Pretoria and a division within the Faculty of Health Sciences.


Your loved one may already be registered as a full-body donor, so check for paperwork. If not, there are various universities around the country who accept donations from next of kin.

Full-body donations are only accepted in certain conditions, so please contact the institution where your loved one is registered for more information. If all is in order, arrange with the institution for the collection of the body. Collection and transport costs will be covered by the institution. The remains of the body will be cremated once it has served its purpose, cremation will once again happen at the institution’s expense. You may request for the ashes to be returned to you.

Full-body donation is a good option for families who want their loved one to be able to continue to give back, even after death, or who are looking for a more economical alternative to a traditional funeral.

Some of the universities in South Africa that accept whole bodies for medical studies:
University of Witwatersrand – 300 Km radius, Johannesburg area
University of Pretoria – 200 Km radius, Pretoria area
University of Cape Town – Greater Cape Town area
Stellenbosch University – Cape Town area
Durban University of Technology – Durban


If your loved one did not specify any preference in regards with full body, organ or tissue donations, then you may still choose to do so if you wish. Organ and tissue donations should not delay funeral plans as the procedures need to be done as soon as possible after death.

The Organ Donor Foundation is a non-profit charity, which aims to address the critical shortage of organ and tissue donors in South Africa. The universities around the country also urgently need whole bodies for medical studies and the training of tomorrow’s health care professionals and surgeons.

Please consider organ, tissue or full-body donations as it saves lives.

Do your loved ones know your wishes?

Get your own
affairs in order
Before it is too late!

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, all come from earth, and to earth all return.

Ashes to ashes,
dust to dust,
all come from earth,
and to earth all return.

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