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Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) Test Directory

Fetus/Fetal Tissue - Less Than 20 Weeks Gestation

Fetal Autopsy.

When fetal or placental tissue is suspected from a very early gestation, the tissue is examined microscopically for the presence or absence of fetal tissue or chorionic villi.


Consent for Autopsy CHR#160012  

Clinical information is REQUIRED. The report may be delayed when clinical information is not available to the Laboratory.

The Consent for Autopsy must be completed by the requesting physician (designate). Consent of the authorized representative (usually a parent) must be obtained by the requesting physician (designate) and witnessed by a third party adult who can verify the identity of the person signing the form.


If Cytogenetic testing is requested, complete an AHS Requisition for Constitutional Cytogenetic Services - Karyotype, FISH and RAD - available at www.albertahealthservices.ca/lab/page8667.aspx

If a congenital anomaly is known: Congenital Anomalies Form (Vital Statistics HS020-112)

Specimen Handling and Transport

Submit the tissue in an appropriate sized container with no fixative as soon as possible. If there is an intact fetus, send the fetus and placenta to the histology laboratory together (they can be in separate containers). 

Identification of the Tissue / Fetus / Placenta

Label the container(s) (or the body if it is wrapped in a blanket or shroud) with the mother's information according to CLS requirements and the contents (fetus or placenta). Containers must be securely tightened to eliminate any leakage. 

Tissue collected after normal hours may be held in the fridge (4OC) until the next working day. Submit the tissue and forms to the Histology laboratory at the hospital site. 

Release of Tissue

After examination, the tissue can be released to a funeral home or the mother's authorized representative (i.e. the social worker or the unit) upon consent from the pathologist and in compliance with CLS guidelines.

The laboratory will complete a Release of Specimen form. The person authorized to pick up the tissue must show appropriate identification and sign for the acceptance of the body.

All remaining fetal tissue is sent for cremation after an 8 week holding period.