Anatomical Examination is practised at Medical Schools across the country.  This long and important tradition is conducted under the Anatomy Act 1832 (PDF), which regularised practises in the public interest almost 200 years ago.  Currently, under Section 106 of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, the Medical Council has been delegated specific duties as the licensing authority for the purpose of the Anatomy Act 1832.

While enactment of a Human Body Organs and Tissue Bill (PDF) in Ireland is awaited, the Medical Council has aimed to support best practice through codifying expectations for the practice of Anatomical Examination in the State. 

The Medical Council has appointed an Inspector of Anatomy, Prof D. Ceri Davies, who has reviewed places that practise Anatomical Examination.  Having confirmed that these meet legislative requirements and reflect modern good practices, each place has been licensed. In 2015, the Medical Council approved the Code of Practice for Anatomical Examination (PDF) which was drafted by the Inspector of Anatomy, following a period of development and consultation with stakeholders. The Code of Practice was developed to consolidate current practice and support continuing improvement in this area.

Anatomy Inspection Reports

Anatomical Returns

The Medical Council continues to maintain a database of anatomy donors and approximately 100 donations were made to medical schools in Ireland during 2017, detailed below.

Medical School No. of anatomical donations
National University of Ireland Galway 20
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 38
Trinity College Dublin 5
University College Dublin 19
University College Cork 28
Total 110


The practise of Anatomical Examination in Ireland is only possible through the bequests of people who donate their bodies to be used after their death to advance medical education and knowledge, for the benefit of patients. In the same way that we do not expect patients to place their trust in doctors blindly, people donating their bodies for Anatomical Examination should be confident that their generosity of spirit will be respected.

There are five Medical Schools in Ireland that practice Anatomy. Further information on each schools donation programme can be found at the following links;

S.I. No. 158/2006 - European Communities (Quality and Safety of Human Tissues and Cells) Regulations 2006

SI 158 of 2006 (Quality and safety of human tissues and cells) regulations apply to the human application of human tissues and cells and is not applicable to Anatomical Examination.  The Health Products Regulatory Authority is the competent authority and is responsible for authorisation and inspection of establishments under those regulations.   Institutions where Anatomical Examination is practised should determine if other activity is conducted which would require authorisation from the Health Products Regulatory Authority as an establishment under SI 158 of 2006. 

Additional Information 

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