How To DNA Test A Recently Dead Relative
Let’s be honest, this is not the most pleasant topic to think about, but it is still an important one to consider.
If you have always wanted to DNA test someone and had their permission to do so, but they die before you can complete the test, what can you do?
Getting the DNA from a recently deceased relative is not necessarily a simple process, but it is not impossible, either.
DNA can tell us loads of valuable information about our family, stemming from health and predisposition to diseases and ethnic composition.
If you need this information, it is possible to get a DNA sample from your recently passed relative.
Getting a Swab From The Deceased
If your loved one has recently died and their body is still in the funeral home, you may be able to get a DNA test if you work quickly.
Many funeral homes are willing to work with you to get a DNA test. Luckily, with today’s modern technology, a DNA test can be gained from a simple saliva sample or a swab of the cheek.
Its non-invasive and affordable nature makes it a realistic option for many people to achieve.
Companies like MyHeritage, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA offer DNA testing kits online that can be delivered to your door.
You simply need to order your kit, administer the test, and send it back to the company for the results. If your loved one has recently died, then time is of the essence.
It is imperative to try and overnight the testing kit to the funeral home’s location.
Once it arrives at the funeral home, an employee there can swab the cheek of the loved one, and send the test back.
If you live in a difficult place to receive overnight deliveries, you can try a paternity test from a local drug store.
These kits contain sterile equipment for performing cheek swabs that can be used to swab your relative's cheek.
You should reach out to DNA testing companies to understand if they will accept this swab. FamilyTree DNA, for example, will likely provide you with instructions for obtaining a non-standard swab.
Before or After Embalming?
Why the rush to get the kit overnighted and the sample taken as soon as possible? Bodies go through an embalming process in the funeral home before being buried.
The embalming fluid that is used can interfere with DNA processing, which is obviously something that you will want to avoid if you need an accurate and effective sample.
If you are too late and the embalming process has already occurred, you may have another way to obtain a DNA sample.
It is possible that behind the ear lobe, some skin cells may remain that have not already been cleaned. It is a long shot, but worth a try if you are making a last-ditch effort.
To put it simply, if your relative passes away and you need a DNA sample, then time is truly of the essence.
Take into account prices for overnight orders and any holidays that may disrupt shipping processes.
Hopefully, you will be able to obtain a testing kit and get your sample before it is too late.
Recommended DNA Kits
There are many DNA testing kits available and it can be difficult to know what to choose. Thankfully, many companies feature multiple options on their website where you can also read about what insights you can expect to gain from each kit.
Carefully consider your goals and what information you need from the DNA kit so that you can be sure to order the most relevant one for your needs.
Some popular DNA testing kits include the following:
- Ancestry DNA: Includes search origins in up to 500 regions, connections with living relatives, and its Genetic Communities feature combines DNA results with geographic information from your genetic matches to trace relatively recent migrations
- Living DNA: This testing kit includes continental and sub-regional breakdowns, DNA matching, extended ancestry breakdown and more
- MyHeritage: Offers 36 different personalized health reports, polygenic risk reports for diseases like diabetes and breast cancer, 18 carrier status reports, and a comprehensive ethnicity estimate
With so many tests out there, you are sure to find one that will give you the answers you are seeking.