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HSL Genetics: Specimens

See the main Tests section for general information on ordering tests, and specimen collection, packaging and transport.

All samples must be collected in the specified containers, as shown in the table.

Samples should be fresh and in good condition (e.g. not clotted or haemolysed if EDTA or heparinised whole blood is required); otherwise testing may be adversely affected and another sample may be required.

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).

Always provide Clinical Details and Family History with requests for Genetic Tests.

All specimens should be kept at room temperature and dispatched 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. NIPT samples should be kept at room temperature only and never stored in the fridge or freezer.

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.

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.

DNA storage

Small DNA samples are stored routinely for one year; DNA samples can be stored for longer by special arrangement. Haemoglobinopathy DNA samples are stored for at least 30 years as they may be needed for family studies.