Tips for Shipping Blood Samples to Laboratory Solutions

Avoid lost or damaged samples by following some simple principles when you ship:

  • Separate cells from serum before shipping to avoid hemolysis.  This is easily done by using the serum separator type blood tubes and centrifuging tubes until cells drop to the bottom of the tube.  Otherwise, regular blood tubes can be centrifuged or allowed to settle and the serum transferred to another tube.

  • If it is necessary to send whole blood samples, protect the blood from extreme heat or cold to avoid hemolysis and sample degradation.  Styrofoam mailers serve this purpose well.  Alternatively, use thawed ice packs in cold winter months to absorb the cold and protect samples from freezing.  Use frozen ice packs in hot months to keep samples cool.  (Send serum or centrifuged blood in serum separator tubes to more easily avoid temperature issues with blood samples.)

  • Wrap glass sample tubes with bubble wrap or other shock absorbing material and fill packing box with packing material to prevent breakage.

  • Use a sturdy box.  DO NOT ship in envelopes!  These frequently get damaged and result in blood sample loss.

  • Always include submission forms with samples.