A global geography of body acquisition for anatomy education: issues, challenges and prospects

Goran Štrkalj, Joyce El-Haddad, Anneliese Hulme

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Throughout anatomy’s history, bodies for anatomical examination have been obtained in various ways. Modern guidelines advise that the only ethical and educationally sound way of obtaining cadavers for anatomy is through willed body donation. However, universal adherence to these guidelines is a distant ideal. A recent review revealed that only 32% of the 71 countries surveyed obtained bodies exclusively through body donation. Other countries use either solely unclaimed bodies or both unclaimed and donated bodies, whilst some import cadavers from overseas or use the remains of executed criminals. These differences (also recorded even within regions of the same country) are the consequence of a multitude of compounding factors including economic, cultural, sociopolitical and professional ones. Further development of the global community of practice amongst anatomists, research on relevant issues, improved finances and better communication with local communities could contribute towards ethical acquisition of bodies for anatomical examination worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching anatomy
Subtitle of host publicationa practical guide
EditorsLap Ki Chan, Wojciech Pawlina
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783030432836
ISBN (Print)9783030432829
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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