Human bodies: donation for medicine and research


Published 10/10/2011

Nuffield Human Bodies cover 2
Organ donation smaller

Public consultation

The consultation ‘Give and take? Human bodies in medicine and research’ closed on 13 July 2010.

Deliberative workshop

A deliberative workshop with recruited members of the public was held on 26 July 2010 in Bristol to discuss the issues raised by the donation of bodily material in medicine and research.

The workshop, organised in collaboration with the consultancy Opinion Leader and funded by the Wellcome Trust, brought together 44 people from the Bristol area. The participants were recruited to represent a cross-section of the UK community and none had had a close personal experience of donation (except blood donation).

Nef Street Talk stalls

The nef (new economics foundation) received funding in 2010 from the Wellcome Trust in order to test out the effectiveness of using consultation stalls in streets and shopping centres to reach people who would be unlikely to attend public meetings. While this project was carried out independently of the Nuffield Council, nef used the Working Party’s consultation materials as a basis for its ‘Street Talk’ project. Eight stalls were held in Hereford, London and Manchester, reaching 499 people over 15 days. Participants were invited to comment first on the ethical acceptability, and secondly on the likely effectiveness, of different incentives for donating bodily materials or volunteering to test a new anti-cancer drug. The five incentives suggested were: a letter of thanks, a donation to charity, a token payment, a substantial payment, and payment in kind. The forms of donation considered were joining the Organ Donor Register to donate organs after one?s death, and donating sperm or eggs to help a childless couple.

Fact-finding meetings

The Working Party held a series of ‘fact-finding meetings’ as part of its work. Experts were invited to give presentations and discuss their views and experiences on:

Uses of tissue in treatment and research

  • Cross-border care
  • Regulation of donation of bodily material and participation in first-in-human trials
  • Public vs private donation

Further information about the Working Party’s evidence and opinion gathering activities can be found in Appendix 1 and 2 of the full report.