Post-Mortem DNA Testing – The Gift That Saves Lives

A simple mouth swab and collection of a few hair follicles after you have died can save generations of your descendants from early death. 

The miracle of modern medicine makes this possible.  It is called post-mortem DNA testing and Sunshine Cremation Services is now arranging this life-saving service for its customers. 

Even after death, Sunshine Cremation Services can quickly and easily obtain a sample of your DNA, send it to a specialized lab for testing, and have a full report prepared for your family. 

The results of your DNA testing can identify genetic predispositions that may otherwise kill your children, grandchildren, and descendants for generations to come. 

But, through genetic testing and mapping, this does not have to be your family’s fate. 

Below are a few common questions regarding post-mortem DNA testing. 

How does postmortem DNA testing save lives?

Your DNA can be used to provide essential clues to your children’s predisposition to certain illnesses.  Your DNA can potentially prevent certain types of cancer, heart disease, selected childhood diseases, and degenerative brain disease (just to name a few). 

The ways that postmortem DNA testing can save lives are too numerous to count and often surprising.

For example, one cause of sudden crib death among newborns is a specific genetic mutation.  Post-mortem DNA testing of a baby that died from sudden crib death can identify this genetic mutation and allow parents to avoid a similar fate for their other children. 

What about degenerative brain diseases?  Can post-mortem DNA testing help my children and grandchildren avoid these diseases?

Medical professionals currently believe that many degenerative brain diseases are either hereditary or heavily influenced by genetics.  These include Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia.  Other conditions where a genetic predisposition is believed to exist include Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. 

While there are no cures for these diseases yet, the future holds a great deal of promise, and post-mortem DNA testing is key to determining who may have these hereditary predispositions for early prevention and treatment. 

Is postmortem DNA testing expensive?

No.  For most families, the cost of the test, report and DNA archiving will be between $500 and $1,500 (depending upon the choice of DNA storage options). 

Do popular consumer ancestry companies provide post-mortem DNA testing?

No.  Only a limited number of labs in North America perform post-mortem DNA testing, and Sunshine Cremation Services has formed an affiliation with the leading post-mortem DNA testing lab. 

Can post-mortem DNA be preserved and used for future medical testing?

Yes.  Your DNA can be archived for generations so that your family can benefit from future medical breakthroughs. 

Most importantly, saving the DNA of family members over generations allows doctors to not only predict if a person will get a disease but also know approximately when the disease will hit, which is an incredibly powerful tool for saving lives.  

If DNA testing is so important, why not perform DNA testing while everyone is still alive?

In a perfect world, everyone should immediately have their DNA tested and mapped. 

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. 

The results of DNA testing can be used by life, disability, and long-term care insurance companies to decline coverage or raise premiums. 

Also, employers with less than 15 employees can discriminate based upon your DNA test results. 

Further, while the Affordable Care Act currently prohibits health insurance discrimination based upon pre-existing conditions (which would apply to the results of DNA testing), this law is the subject of numerous court challenges and may be overturned in the future. 

So, while there are clear benefits from medical DNA testing, the risk of future discrimination is a significant negative consideration. 

On the other hand, post-mortem DNA testing carries none of these risks and does not have to be disclosed, because test results are not personal to the person who is the beneficiary of the information. 

Is post-mortem DNA testing an invasive procedure?

No.  A specially trained professional simply swabs the inside of the decedent’s mouth and also collects a few hair follicles.  The sampling procedure takes only a few minutes and is non-invasive. 

Does post-mortem DNA testing require an autopsy?


How can I learn more about post-mortem DNA testing?

If you would like more information about giving the gift of post-mortem DNA testing to your family, please call Sunshine Cremation Services at 561-717-2876.

Can I provide for post-mortem DNA testing when making my pre-need cremation arrangements?

Yes.  Sunshine Cremation Services can arrange for this testing upon your passing so that it truly is the final gift you give your family. 

Please note: DNA test procedures are provided by Sunshine Cremation’s sister company Sunshine Autopsy Services.  Sunshine Cremation does not offer or sell, the DNA testing services described herein.

Mark Sunshine

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