Instructions for Collecting, Handling and Shipping Specimens
Specimen Identification: Please put full name and date of birth on each specimen as it is drawn. Unlabeled specimens will not be processed.
Quick Facts (for most samples):
Send purple top blood tube at room temp, with a completed Order Form.
5 ml (adult), 2–5 ml (pediatric), minimum of 1 ml (newborns)
Monday–Friday delivery, by courier, to our “Shipping Address” including Room B0200.
All specimens must be accompanied by our Order Form that has been fully completed, including SIGNED CONSENT (page 4). Separate Order Form for each person.
Shipment of Specimens: Specimens should be received in the CHCO Molecular Laboratory within 72 hours of collection if possible – maximum 5 days. Our laboratory is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, and on certain holidays as indicated on the About Us page. Store at ambient room temperature or refrigerate until you send; do not freeze. Ideally, specimens should be collected and shipped early in the week to avoid delivery on a weekend. Local couriers may be used to deliver specimens within the Denver metropolitan area.
Ship specimens to this address:
Children's Hospital Colorado
Molecular Laboratory, Room B0200
13123 East 16th Avenue, B120
Aurora, CO 80045
Peripheral Whole Blood: 5 ml (adult), 2–5 ml (pediatric), minimum of 1 ml (newborns).
We prefer EDTA (lavender/purple top) vacutainer tubes, but we can also accept blue, yellow or green top tubes if necessary. We cannot accept red top tubes (clotted blood) for DNA testing. Transfusions of whole blood prior to peripheral blood collection may result in an inconclusive interpretation.
Extracted DNA: We accept extracted DNA for any test; send approximately 10–20 µg. From overseas,
we recommend sending extracted DNA. Keep some DNA as a backup if possible, in case a sample is damaged in transit. From Canada, send either whole blood or DNA.
Cell Cultures – Fibroblasts and Other: Send cultured cells at room temperature: Two T25 flasks, filled with media for shipment. Please continue to maintain the cell culture as a backup until results are reported.
For help in planning prenatal diagnosis, see FAQ: Sample Strategies, Prenatal Diagnosis
Amniotic Fluid – Cell Culture: Send cultured amniocytes at room temperature: Two T25 flasks, filled with media for shipment. Please continue to maintain the cell culture as a backup until results are reported.
Amniotic Fluid – Direct: Please establish a cell culture before sending direct fluid; maintain the cell culture as a backup until results are reported. If the direct sample size is too small, results will be reported on the cell culture. For second trimester samples, send two (2) samples of direct amniotic fluid, 15–20 ml each, in sterile, securely capped plastic tubes. For third trimester samples, send a total of 45–50 ml of direct fluid. Transport promptly at room temperature.
CVS – Cell Culture: Send cultured cells at room temperature: Two T25 flasks, filled with media for shipment. Please continue to maintain the cell culture as a backup until results are reported.
CVS – Direct: Please establish a cell culture before sending direct tissue; maintain the cell culture as a backup until results are reported. If the direct sample size is too small, results will be reported on the cell culture. Direct CVS specimen: At least 10–15 mg of tissue in a sterile medium in a sterile, securely capped plastic container or centrifuge tube. Clean the tissue and transport promptly at room temperature.
Maternal Cell Contamination Study (MCC): We test for maternal cell contamination with all prenatal testing. If a fetal sample is contaminated with maternal cells, interpretation will be inconclusive. Please provide a maternal blood sample, 2–3 ml, either before or with the fetal sample. Send a separate Order Form for the maternal sample. If a maternal DNA sample is already stored in our laboratory, please contact us to ask if we need an additional specimen.
Saliva Specimens: Contact us to confirm if a saliva sample is suitable for the test you wish to order. We bill $25 if we send you a saliva kit.
NBS, Newborn Screening Blood Spots: We do have a protocol to extract DNA from blood spots, but the amount of DNA may not be enough for the test you wish to order. Contact us before submitting.
Buccal (Cheek) Swabs: We do not normally accept this sample.
Laboratory Approval for Other Sample Types: Please obtain prior approval of a Laboratory Director for specimen volumes less than the minimum, specimens collected out of the preferred time frames, or analysis of other specimen types.
Paperwork: A completed Order Form, including signed consent form, must accompany specimens. Check our website for the latest version of the Order Form. Send a separate Order Form for each person: Request Form + Test Checklist + Signed Consent Form + Client Information Fax Form. Copies of medical records confirming diagnosis in affected individuals and other relevant clinical notes, such as reports of genetic testing already performed, should accompany specimens. Please avoid sending personal health information (PHI) by email except in securely encrypted messages. Fax or mail are better for HIPAA privacy compliance.
Missing Paperwork Policy: For Order Forms with missing or incomplete answers (e.g., absent or unsigned consent forms or inadequate billing information), we will extract DNA and wait for paperwork before running the test. Cancellation policy (e.g., due to problems with paperwork): $75 fee.
Who Are Our Clients? We communicate directly with referring healthcare providers – physicians, genetic counselors, geneticists, hospitals, send-out labs, etc. – who send samples to us and receive our reports. We do not communicate results directly to patients. We do not see patients here or draw blood in our laboratory. We can assist with referral information for genetic counseling and other genetic services.
More About Who We Are: We are a non-profit diagnostic laboratory with academic research interests, now located at Children's Hospital Colorado (formerly affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine). We are certified by CAP and CLIA. We are not a commercial DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) company.
Billing: See Payment & Billing for details.
To Contact Us:
Central Number for the DNA Diagnostic Laboratory: Tel: 720-777-0526; Fax: 720-777-7886
Credit Card Payments: Ms. Amber Brand, Tel: 720-777-2723