Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983

The South Australian Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983 was approved by Parliament in May 1983.It replaced the Anatomy Act 1884, the Sale of Human Blood Act 1962 and the Transplantation of Tissue Act 1974.

The three principal areas regulated by the Act are:

  • Donation of tissue by living persons (including prohibition of donations of non-regenerative tissue from living children);
  • Donation of tissue after death; and
  • Post-mortem (autopsy) examinations and donation of bodies for anatomical purposes.

Foetal tissue, spermatozoa and ova are covered by the South Australian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988.

Designated Officers

Section 6 of the Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983 defines a Designated Officer as being a person who is a medical practitioner and who has been appointed in writing by the Minister to be a designated officer for a hospital.The role of the Designated Officer does not involve advocacy for, or opposition to, organ and tissue donation or post-mortem examination.Their foremost responsibility and purpose is to represent the intentions and interest of the deceased person and the deceased’s family throughout the organ and tissue donation and/or post-mortem process.

For more information on Designated Officers, please visit the Organ and tissue donation for health professionals web page.

Schools of Anatomy

Schools of Anatomy provide important teaching opportunities through anatomical examination of cadavers and cadaveric materials. The School of Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide operates a central Body Donation Program and mortuary facility on behalf of all authorised institutions in South Australia. It manages acceptance of all bodies donated to science in SA and controls the transfer of anatomical resources to other authorised schools of anatomy within the State and Commonwealth.

It is important that all Schools of Anatomy comply with appropriate industry guidelines as well as requirements pursuant to Part 6 of the Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983, under which they are authorised.

For further information, please contact Blood, Organ and Tissue Programs on telephone (08) 8463 6197.

Autopsy or post-mortem examination

An autopsy or post-mortem examination is a step-by-step examination of the outside of the body and of the internal organs by a pathologist.An autopsy may be requested by the Coroner, the Minister for Health, a hospital or the family of a deceased person.Part 4 of the Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983 outlines the legislative requirements related to the authorisation of post-mortem examinations.

A hospital autopsy can only be performed following appropriate consents given by the senior available next of kin and authority from a Designated Officer.Should a hospital autopsy be requested, the hospital will provide the appropriate paperwork along with an information booklet for family and friends to better understand the process.

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