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Birth, marriage & life events

Request DNA/paternity test information from the Medical Examiner

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:

  • Spouse
  • Adult children
  • Parents
  • 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 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. Samples collected before April 1, 2017 are no longer available.


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

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

If mailed in, the form must be notarized. You may also drop off the form in person Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. If hand-delivered to the office, the form does not require notarization but you will require proof of identification.

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.