To request a DNA/paternity 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 select a laboratory to perform the testing. The order of precedence for next of kin of the deceased person is:
- Adult children
- Adult siblings
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.
(For paternity testing: 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 needs 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 person died before April 1, 2017, a blood sample of their DNA is held for one year from the date of death. If 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.
Print and fill out the Consent for DNA Testing Form. Mail it, or bring it in person to:
Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office
321 University Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
If hand-delivered to the 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.