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Request DNA/paternity test from the Medical Examiner’s Office

To request a paternity/DNA test on a person whose body was handled by the Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO), you must have permission from the deceased person’s next of kin, and have selected a laboratory to perform the testing. Next of kin includes the spouse, adult children, parents, and adult siblings of the person who is deceased.

If next of kin is unavailable, or refuses to consent to the release of a specimen, a court order is required to release any samples. If unsure who the next of kin is, the order of precedence is as follows:

1. Legal spouse of the deceased person
2. Adult child(ren) of the deceased person (must be 18 or older)
3. Parent(s) of the deceased person
4. Adult sibling(s) of the deceased person (must be 18 or older)

(For paternity testing: Please note that the mother of the child is not considered next of kin unless she falls into one of the categories above.)

In order for the deceased person’s DNA sample to be released for analysis, their next of kin is required to complete a Consent for DNA Testing form and select a laboratory to perform the testing.

Samples since April 1, 2017

As of April 1, 2017, the MEO toxicology lab began retaining blood samples for DNA testing indefinitely. If the decedent’s date of death is before April 1, 2017, a blood sample of their DNA is held for one year from the date of death. In the event that a blood sample is unavailable, we will hold a tissue sample for one year from the date of death. There may be some cases where a DNA sample is unavailable.

How to submit a Consent for DNA Testing Form

Print and fill out the Consent for DNA Testing Form (below). Mail it, or bring it in person to:

Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office
400 N. Broad St.
Record Room
Philadelphia, PA 19130

If hand-delivered to our office, the form does not require notarization but will require proof of identification. If mailed in, the form must be notarized.

The lab chosen to perform DNA testing should contact the Medical Examiner’s Toxicology Lab with any questions at (215) 685-7460. Once we verify that consent (or court order) and a specimen collection kit has been received, we will release the specimen for testing. The Medical Examiner’s Toxicology Lab does not receive any DNA testing results.

Name Description Released Format