The Body Donation Program

All anatomical specimens stem from individuals who donated their bodies with willed legal consent in their lifetime, for the education of future generations. For more than 30 years the body donation program has been the ethical cornerstone of our Plastination work. The Institute for Plastination ... (IfP) in Heidelberg, founded in 1993 by Dr. Gunther von Hagens is the administrator of our unique body donation program.

Currently this program has more nearly 20,000 body donors on its donor roster, including 2,400 already deceased donor bodies. The donors come from more than 33 countries, with the majority from Germany (about 85%) and the United States (about 10%).


The Ethical Questions

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The Tenet of Body Donation for Plastination

Body donation for Plastination to the Institute for Plastination is not a contract, but a declaration of intent. The donor declares during their lifetime that their body should not be buried after death, but rather transferred to the Institute for Plastination. The consent form and a 30-page brochure provide detailed information so that each donor is explicitly informed about the future use of their body, including the production of teaching specimens for sale. The Institute for Plastination also organizes regular meetings for body donors.

To ensure that the decision to donate one’s body to the IfP is undertaken with free will there is no financial compensation.

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The Motivation of Body Donors

The motivations of body donors are varied. We often find the most prominent reason is the desire to serve for medical education after death. Many body donors register after visiting BODY WORLDS exhibitions.

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Sales Restrictions

Plastinated specimens of human origin are only available to "Qualified Users." "Qualified Users" are legal entities or natural persons who wish to use human specimens exclusively for the purpose or research and instruction or for the professional practice of medicine, diagnostics or therapy. In particular, this includes educational institutions such as universities, hospitals, schools and museums, as well as practicing physicians, college instructors, lecturers and other individuals involved in conducting research projects.

Von Hagens Plastination only charges for the preservation or Plastination of the specimens, not for the specimens themselves.

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Usage of Specimens

Purchased specimens of human origin may only be used for the intended purpose stated before purchase (typically for teaching and research) and may not be sold to non-qualified users or redistributed free of charge.

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More Information

More detailed information is available in our 44-page booklet “Body Donation for Plastination”. You may download the brochure at.

Non-medical professionals and the general public can acquire our Anatomy Glass in original size and resolution from sheet plastinates, blood vessel configuration specimens that do not contain any human tissue, as well as plastinates from plant and animal origin.

Sales restrictions only for "qualified users".

Sales restrictions only
for "qualified users".

We strictly restrict the sale of Plastinates of human origin to "qualified users".

Qualifed users

Qualifed users are defined as institutions or individuals who use specimens exclusively for research and educational purposes or for medical, diagnostic and therapeutic education. Qualified users include universities, hospitals, schools and museums or individuals such as medical scientists, professors, lecturers and others who work on medical and educational research projects.

Lay people can acquire true color prints in original size and resolution from sheet plastinates.

Blood vessel configuration specimens that do not contain any human tissue, as well as plastinates from plant and animal origin can be purchased by non-professionals.

Qualified users verify their accreditation by completing a statement that will be issued by email. In case of direct delivery and billing to a public institution (eg a university) generally no further evidence is necessary. In a few instances, we may require further documentation.

Usage of Specimens

Purchased specimens of human origin may only be used for the intended purpose stated before purchase (typically for teaching and research) and may not be sold to non-qualified users or redistributed free of charge.