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Sample requirements and request procedures

Transport to the laboratory, required patient details, consent forms, and requests for additional tests.


Sample transport arrangements

All specimens should be kept at room temperature and despatched to the laboratory as soon as possible, by TDL/international courier, first class post, guaranteed next day delivery or a reliable alternative.

If a delay in sending the sample is unavoidable, please refrigerate overnight – DO NOT FREEZE. For NIPT sample stability see here for more information, do not refrigerate or freeze NIPT bloods.

Specimens must not be allowed to come in contact with request forms, but should be kept separate by using dual – pocketed plastic bags. Specimens for inland postage must be packed in a rigid crush-proof container according to current Post Office guidelines. IATA guidelines should be followed for international transport (Advice is available from the laboratory).


Labelling of high risk samples

Please note that it is the responsibility of the referring clinician to ensure that high-risk samples are clearly identified to reduce the risk of infection to staff and others.


Patient details on request forms and samples

Request and consent forms are available on this website.

To avoid unnecessary time spent in obtaining details, please provide the following information:

Information for request forms:

  • Surname, forename (not initials), date of birth and biological sex of patient for postnatal referrals
  • Full name (not initials) and location of referring clinician
  • Full address of clinician to whom the result should be sent
  • Legible clinical summary, including details of any relevant family history
  • Address for billing – Doctor, patient or other
  • Gestation on prenatal samples
  • Hospital or reference number
  • Test required

Essential information on sample container label:

  • Patient’s surname and forename (not initials)
  • Date of birth
  • Hospital number or reference number

Consent forms

Consent forms are available for genetic testing. As genetic testing may have implications for other family members and is regarded as personal data, it is recommended that written consent is obtained wherever possible. In cases with predictive testing for severe disorders, as indicated in the laboratory guide, it is essential that patients should also be offered formal genetic counselling. It is the responsibility of the referring clinician to obtain appropriate consent from the patient.


Unlabelled samples

Unlabelled samples will ONLY be processed if the individual who took the sample can confirm the sample is from the patient in question. In the absence of this assurance, the sample will be discarded and a repeat required.


Requesting additional tests

Any further tests not requested at the time of sample receipt must be requested within:

  • 1 week for tests requiring prenatal culture or cultured cells
  • 2 weeks for DNA testing
  • 2 weeks for cell culture testing
  • 3 months for FISH testing

Samples can be stored for longer periods if specifically requested at the time of sample receipt.