The use of human tissue
The Human Tissue Act 1982 regulates aspects of the removal of human tissue, such as blood and organ donation from the living, and the donation of organs and tissue after death. It also authorises schools of anatomy for teaching purposes and prescribes research and therapeutic tissue banks.
The National Code of Ethical Autopsy Practice was developed and endorsed by all Australian Health Ministers in April 2002. The National Code includes a set of principles that act as guidelines for the conduct of coronial and non-coronial autopsies. The National Code can be downloaded from the South Australian Department of Health website.
Organs and tissue retained at autopsy communication initiative
Following concerns regarding past autopsy practices in the United Kingdom, the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC) produced "Organs Retained at Autopsy: Ethical and Practical Issues" (2001). As a result of its recommendations, a national community awareness campaign was conducted between 2003 and 2005 enabling people with concerns regarding relatives who had undergone an autopsy prior to 2002 to make enquiries aimed at reclaiming retained tissue and organs. This communication initiative was extended to 31 December 2007 to allow participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in Victoria and has now ceased as of that date.
For information about policies and practices in relation to post-mortem examinations, see the Post-mortem examinations page.