While you are Active on the transplant waiting list for kidney, pancreas or combined kidney/pancreas, you must send monthly blood samples to the transplant lab. These samples are different from your other regular labs.

If you do not send in your monthly samples, you may miss your chance for a transplant. You may also be switched to Inactive status until we have a current sample.

Antibody Testing

The lab will be testing your blood to look for antibodies. Antibodies, if present, can attack your new organ. Knowing if you have antibodies helps us decide which organs are right for you. These samples are stored by the lab and are ready to be used when an organ becomes available.

Collection Schedule

  • Monthly: You can collect samples any day of the month but avoid sending the week before a long holiday, if you can.

  • After blood transfusions: You will also need to send blood samples 2 weeks after any blood transfusion.

Instructions for Inactive Patients

Most patients who are Inactive or not on the waiting list do not need to send in monthly blood samples. You only need to send in blood samples if you expect to be active soon or if your coordinator or doctor told you to.

Check Expiration Dates

If you use a kit after being inactive, check the expiration date on the blood specimen tube. The expiration date is also listed on the outside mailer box in MMDDYY format. If tubes are expired, ask the collecting lab for a new tube or throw away the entire kit. If your kits expire, more will automatically ship to you within 2 weeks.

Storing Kits

Store kits at home. Do not store kits at your Dialysis center. When needed, only take one kit to be drawn. Once you have received your transplant, you can throw away your leftover kits.

Getting More Supplies

Each kit is scanned when it is received by the lab. The kit supplier will automatically send you more kits when their inventory records show you have one kit left and you are Active Status.

The outside of each box has a barcode specific to you. Send one sample back per shipper box, per month. Do not let other patients use your kits. If you do, your inventory level will be incorrect. This may affect your future supplies.

When to Call

Call your Transplant Coordinator or the lab if a tube breaks and you throw away a kit, or if you lose any of your kits. They will adjust your inventory level. If you have questions about your sample, call the lab.

Who to Call

Transplant Office

(608) 263-1384


(608) 263-8815 option #3

Steps for Collecting a Sample

  1. Pick a serum tube with a red top with yellow ring (SST). You may also use a plain red top serum tube.

  2. If you can, spin SST tube to separate serum. Or, if you are using a plain red top, take serum off the cells.

  3. Label tube. Use the supplied pre-printed label.

  4. Insert the sample and an absorbent mat into the plastic biohazard bag you were given. Seal the bag.

  5. Insert the bagged sample into the pre-labeled cardboard mailer box you were given.

  6. Samples will last for up to 8 days at room temperature before they expire.

How to Label Your Tube

Tube label must include:

  1. Patient’s full name

  2. 2nd ID, which may include:

    1. UW Medical Record number, and/or

    2. Birth date

  3. Date blood drawn

Shipping Your Sample

The box has pre-paid postage so you can just drop it in the mail. You do not need any stamps. If your kit has FedEx supplies, please return using FedEx.

U.S. Postal Service Shipping Regulations

Blood specimens used to monitor pre-transplant HLA antibody levels are “Exempt Human Specimens.” They are considered “low-risk” because these are transported for routine testing and are not related to the diagnosis of an infectious disease.

For a standard blood specimen, the kit you are given by UW Health through Path-Tec, can be used under USPS regulations.

  • Outer box: The outer box requires the supplied address label and must be marked “Exempt Human Specimen”. You do not need to puta biohazard label or other stickers on the outer box. Doing so could delay delivery.

  • Inner container: You must include the biohazard warning on the inner container. If your specimens is known or suspected to contain an infectious disease, you may need additional materials. These materials are not included in your kits.

Disclaimer: This information is based on the UW Health interpretation of new regulations and is intended for use with containers supplied for blood collection from UWHC patients. Readers are urged to consult their own legal advisors for interpretation of laws and regulations that apply to their own organizations.