My sample came back as haemolysed, what now?

September 6, 2022Hertility

Key takeaways

  • With any type of blood collection, haemolysed samples can happen
  • This is when the red blood cells burst or break down, meaning your sample is damaged and can not be analysed
  • We will always contact you to let you know if your sample comes back haemolysed, and will offer a second kit free of charge to redo your test
  • Check out our tips on how to take your sample and post it back, hopefully avoiding haemolysis

What is a haemolysed sample?

A haemolysed blood sample is when the red blood cells in your samples have burst or broken down. During haemolysis, the red blood cells rupture and spill their contents, mainly haemoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen around your body) into their surroundings. 

Haemolysis can happen with any form of blood collection, whether it’s a finger prick sample like ours or a venous blood drawn by a nurse or doctor. It can also happen regardless of where the sample was taken. 

Samples can become haemolysed for a number of different reasons, but here are some common ones we’ve found with our tests:

  • If you squeezed your finger too hard during the collection process
  • If the collection tube is shaken vigorously after your sample is collected
  • If there is a long delay between collection time and analysis 
  • If your sample is left outside in the postbox for a prolonged period, especially during very hot or cold temperatures

Can my sample be analysed if it’s haemolysed?

Unfortunately, no. Because the red blood cells have broken down, the hormones within the sample can’t be analysed. 

We know—this can be really disappointing, so if this happens, we will send you a second test kit, free of charge, for you to retake your sample. 

Top tips for taking your sample

We’ve put together this list of top tips for how to take your sample and (hopefully) avoid haemolysis: 

1. Slow it right down

Take your time when taking your sample, don’t rush through or squeeze your finger really hard. Use gentle downward strokes to encourage blood flow.

2. Make sure your hands are warm

Warm hands = more circulation. This means it will be easier to draw your sample. Submerge your hand in warm water for a couple of minutes before collecting your sample to get that blood pumping all the way to your fingers.

3. Use your ring finger

This one usually works the best, giving the biggest drops. Make sure you prick the fleshy part.

4. Always wipe away the first droplet

Use a tissue or sterilised wet wipe to wipe the first drop clean, before aiming the rest of your drops into your collection tube.

5. Pierce a second finger if the blood stops flowing on the first

Don’t overdo it on the first finger, if the blood flow stops, start fresh on a new finger.

6. Use the cartwheel method

Take your arm that is not being used for the sample (we don’t want an American psycho situation up the walls) and swing in a cartwheel motion for about a minute. Don’t ask why, but it works.

7. Get your blood pumping with some star jumps

Bring back some P.E class nostalgia star jump it out for a minute or so before you take your sample. This will get your blood flowing and your fingers warm. 

8. Make sure you’re hydrated

Everyone is more dehydrated than usual when first waking up which can make circulation slower and collecting your sample more difficult. Stay hydrated the day before you’re due to collect your sample and drink a couple of glasses of water roughly half an hour beforehand. 

Top tips for packaging your sample

1. Do not shake your tube after collecting your sample
2. Post your sample on the same day it was collected

Ideally you’ll do your test first thing in the morning. Then, keep it at room temperature and post it to your nearest postbox as close to the collection time as you can. This will reduce the time it’s outside for, potentially getting hot in the sun or too cold.

3. Use a priority postbox if you can

These are collected everyday, you can find your nearest one on the Royal Mail website

4. Check our social channels for lab closures and postal service delays

We regularly post or email reminders about upcoming lab closures, postal strikes and delays due to public holidays on our stories, make sure you’re following us and check our socials before doing your test.

FAQs

How will I know if my sample arrives haemolysed?

Rest assured, we will always contact you directly if your sample arrives haemolysed. One of our customer service team will be in touch. 

Will I get another test free of charge if my sample is haemolysed?

Our labs will inform us, we will contact you to let you know and will offer a second kit free of charge to redo your test

Do I have to wait until day 3 of my cycle before I can test again?

Unless you’re on hormonal contraception, unfortunately yes, you will have to wait until your next cycle to test again. We know, this can be really frustrating, but this is so you can get an accurate measurement of all of your hormone levels. 

I’m still struggling to get a sample, what can I do?

If you’re struggling to draw enough blood, or you’ve had a sample come back as haemolysed and want a little extra help, we can send a nurse out to take your sample for you. This can be booked for £79 by getting in touch with our customer service

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