Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Questions and answers

Death Investigations in Ontario

Organ Retention - Questions and Answers


I would like to find out whether an organ was kept after my loved one’s autopsy. What can I do?

Would I have been notified if my family member’s organ was retained?

What’s the time period during which organs may have been retained without family notification?

Who can request information about whether organs were retained after an autopsy?

Who has the authority to provide instructions regarding disposition if an organ was retained?

What will happen when someone calls the information line to find out whether their family member’s organ was retained?

Will families have to bear the costs associated with cremating or interring retained organs?

Is there a deadline for calling the public information line? How long will retained organs be kept in storage?

Why aren’t the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Office of the Chief Coroner contacting families directly to let them know their family member’s organ was retained?

Are there cases where an organ was retained and then disposed of without the family’s knowledge?

Why is it sometimes necessary to retain organs following an autopsy?

Can pathologists retain organs without the family’s consent?

How many organs are retained each year?