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steps to donate a brain:

If the family is requesting a medical brain autopsy with neuropathological examination, the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank can accept a donation for research purposes. 

In order to donate, please follow the steps below:

  1. A request for autopsy must be made by the next-of-kin and a consent for autopsy form signed, either at the time of death or, preferably, before. Consent for autopsy forms can be obtained through your physician or the Department of Pathology at the closest regional hospital. This request should be made to the treating physician (usually the family doctor, palliative care doctor or the attending physician at the hospital or long-term care facility).

  2. Currently the autopsy consent form does not have a specific area in which to state that donation to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank has been requested. A handwritten statement should be added to the autopsy consent form indicating a donation is to be made to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank.

  3. The next of kin must then sign the completed form.

  4. The signed consent form should be included with the patient’s chart.

  5. At the time of death, a physician must sign the Medical Certificate of Death. This is usually the family doctor, palliative care physician or the attending physician in a hospital or long-term care facility. If the death occurs at home, a physician must be called to the home to sign the Medical Certificate of Death. The remains cannot be transported until this is done.

  6. When there is a consent for autopsy and the remains must be transported, medical staff (or family – but for emotional and support reasons it should be the physician or staff) should arrange for transportation.

  7. Within Nova Scotia, D&D Removal* is available at either 865-6544 or 1-877-350-2639 and responds to anywhere in the province. They are available 24/7 every day of the year and will transport the remains to the nearest regional hospital for autopsy. Transportation costs may be covered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. However, if they do not, the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank is not able to reimburse these expenses.

  8. After the autopsy, funeral arrangements must be made by family.

* In some jurisdictions a local funeral home will transport the remains to the local regional hospital for autopsy.

alzheimer society nova scotia

Tissue donation is a highly personal choice for any individual or family. It is important to consider whether this decision aligns with you and/or your family member's wishes, values, and beliefs. Where possible, individuals should document their preferences and make arrangements as early as possible.

The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia can support individuals or families affected by dementia who are considering whether brain donation might be right for them. There are also other ways to support or participate in dementia research.

Call or visit the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia at 1-800-611-6345 or

questions? please see our faq page or contact us

If any issues arise while following the steps listed above, the MBTB team can assist you. Please call us at 902-494-4130 during regular business hours from Monday to Friday or fill out the form in the link below.

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