Atheists and donating body to science or for organ donation

Can anyone offer advice about this please from the surviving relatives point of view?

Family members who are donating their body to science and are not religious does this mean there will be no service to say goodbye for the other relatives? Or if the deceased has stipulated in the will no service.

Has anyone else had experience of this please?

I'm not sure if having no service means having no tribute to the deceased life, I am trying to understand, how last respects, tributes to their life and final goodbyes can be made.

Grateful for thoughts from surviving relatives of their experiences of this kind of situation.

10 Replies

  • Hi DITO

    It may be useful looking att he following link from the British Humanist Association which has information on non religious ceremonies.

    There is also some very good information on the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) website - i donate

    I hope this is helpful


  • Thank you Jo, I will take a look.

  • thank you Lazerus

  • Both of my late parents made provision for their bodies to be donated to Leeds Teaching Hospital.

    My fathers bequest was not accepted due to his great age, but my mother's (who died of chronic bronchitis and emphysema in 1985) was. The teaching hospital made all the arrangements, and my father and I were informed that when her remains were no longer needed they would advice us of a date for cremation but that that could be anytime within the following 18 months. My father felt that attending such a ceremony so long after mum's death would only open the floodgates to grief again so he declined the offer.

    However, we did hold a memorial service for her at our local church. I suppose if a decesed person was an atheist then some sort of memorial service could be held, celebrating their life.

    I believe that donating your body is a generous thing to do, and am seriously considering taking this step myself.

    Good luck with any decisions you have to make either now, or in the future Dito :)

    Keep on keeping on .....

  • Thank you elian for sharing such helpful information. Alternative preferences for funeral if body donation is declined after death is something to bear in mind. The word document download 'body donation info pack' explains about that too.

    (from the bodyorganandtissuedonation site).

  • I heard they can turn down your body for science if not in good health lol why use a healthy one as I thought my diseased one would give them a puzzle to work on. Lol


  • This is true, the body can be declined.

  • A good friend of mine had parents who both wanted humanist services when they died. I went to both funerals and they were truly wonderful and uplifting events. They celebrated the individual and their life.

    It as made me think that s what I want.

    Lynne xx

  • That's nice Lynne, I do feel some sort of service is needed, mainly for the living to say their goodbyes to the departed. I can't imagine, no funeral service at all.

  • I've often said 'I want NO funeral or wake, I want to be remembered as I am and for everyone to crack on with life and not to be miserable' My Mam told me I was a selfish cow 'it's closure, people want to pay respects, without the closure it's a void'. Even being a complete atheist I understood this.

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