Sample requirements

Sample requirements

Delivery address for couriers

NSW Biochemical Genetics

Level 1, Diagnostic Services Building,

Loading Dock 9, The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Redbank Road,

Northmead NSW 2152

General requirements and labelling

Urine, CSF and plasma should be transported to us either at room temperature within 30 minutes of collection or on dry ice (-80°C). Unfrozen specimens may show "abnormalities" due to chemical, biochemical or bacterial action.

  • If your laboratory has problems transporting to us on dry ice, please contact our laboratory for advice.
  • Please label the sample container with the patient's name, date of birth and date, and time of collection.
  • Bar codes are not a suitable substitute for this written information.
  • Detailed clinical information is required for interpretation of results.


Random urine, 10 mL (minimum 2 mL), delivered immediately on ice or frozen within 2 hours of collection and transport on dry ice. No added preservative.


1.0 mL (minimum 250 µL), lithium heparin NOT EDTA, separate plasma at +4°C, freeze on dry ice within 20 minutes. Storage at -80°C and transport on dry ice.


500µL (minimum 250 µL), separate at +4°C, freeze on dry ice within 20 minutes. Storage at -80°C and transport on dry ice.


>250 µL, red cell free, freeze on dry ice within 20 minutes. Storage at -80°C and transport on dry ice.

Dried blood spot (DBS)

  1. Warm the site if collecting a capillary sample. Cleanse site with alcohol prep and ensure it is wiped dry with sterile gauze pad to avoid contamination of blood with alcohol.
  2. Puncture heel (newborn only) or finger and wipe away the first drop of blood. Allow a large blood drop to form and touch the blood onto the circled areas of a dried blood spot card (obtained from NSW Biochemical Genetics Service or your Newborn Screening laboratory).
  3. Allow the blood to soak through and completely fill the circle. Fill each circle in turn and please do not return to top-up any spot with additional blood.
  4. Suspend the card so that the spots do not touch any surface and air dry thoroughly for at least six hours.
  5. Label and place in an envelope inside a second envelope for mailing/transport. Please do not place in a plastic bag.

Alternatively, DBSs can be prepared by using blood collected in tubes by spotting about 0.5 mL of blood to dried blood spot card. Please contact laboratory regarding preparation of DBSs using collected blood.

Skin fibroblasts

3x2 mm diameter full-thickness skin biopsy sample, obtained under strict sterile conditions. Place in sterile tissue culture, or viral transport medium, or sterile normal saline, for temporary storage and transport to the laboratory.

Please do not freeze the sample. 

Fresh lymphocytes

10 mL EDTA whole blood, transported to the laboratory at room temperature to arrive within 24 hours of sample collection. Do not send samples on Friday. Do not use plasma separators. Do not pack the blood in direct contact with pre-frozen ice-packs or other frozen patient specimens.

White cell pellet

Samples for white cell cystine assay require special preparation and handling before shipment to our laboratory.

See these instructions.

Other tissues

Please contact one of the senior staff via phone: 9854 3122.

Last updated Tuesday 19th December 2023