Tips for ordering CellTrend labs for autoantibodies
“I wanted to write something up with some tips for those of you interested in doing the CellTrend labs. I’ll put the links below to the order sheet and to the instruction sheet from CellTrend. It was easier than I thought. I was intimidated by the thought of getting blood drawn independently and sending to Germany, but it was quite doable, though expensive” – Lydia M
Understand that very few doctors in the US will pay attention to these. So you’re doing it for your own information, and you might not want to spend this much money just for that. It cost 915 Euros for this whole panel. (About $1044.) The shipping was $143 via FedEx International Priority. The blood draw was only $30, though others have found it to be about $100.
2 BLOOD DRAW
I got it done right here in my town at a lab called TestSource, which is a concierge lab that does various blood tests for employers and individuals. I called and asked them if they’d draw and prepare the sample, and they said yes. You can try to see if there is a lab like this in your area. Maybe check for concierge testing or employer blood testing and call the lab and ask if they’d do it. LabCorp is another name of the kind of lab that sometimes does this. Most hospital labs will require a doctor’s order. They won’t just draw your blood, prepare the serum, charge you, and hand you the serum. But it wasn’t as hard as I feared to find a lab that would. Some people in this group have paid mobile phlebotomists for the service. Chances are you can find someplace to do it without too much trouble in your area.
- Get the lab that draws and spins the blood to give you your sample tube, with your name and date of birth on it, in a “biohazard” ziploc bag, preferably with a pocket on the side for the lab order form.
- One tube is sufficient (says CellTrend) for all determinations.
*** Note that only serum is sent, not whole blood. That’s part of what the lab you pick is going to prepare for you.
Package sample and find shipping location – Fill out the CellTrend order form, checking all the tests you want and signing, and fold that up and put it in the pocket on the side of the ziploc bag. If no pocket, put it inside the packaging along with the biohazard ziploc.
For peace of mind, get yourself a bubble mailer and slide the ziploc into that so that the tube is somewhat protected from getting crushed. That can in turn go inside the FedEx packaging, which you can get at the FedEx location. (In my case, the lab actually gave me an outer FedEx bag, which was nice of them.) Of course if you get more protective type of FedEx packaging, maybe your own bubble mailer won’t be necessary. The lab gave me a wimpy kind of outer FedEx bag, so we used a bubble mailer in addition.
Find the FedEx location in your area that takes “biologicals.” Call and ask to be sure you’re taking your package to the right location.
You’ll have more peace of mind if you take your FedEx package to a location that is manned, not a drop box. Then you know you’ve packed it right and gone to the right location for an international shipment. In fact, I don’t know if you can even send “biologicals” through a drop box. So go during FedEx business hours, before six p.m.
Use the information on the CellTrend instruction sheet to fill out your shipping label on-line from FedEx for international shipping. You’ll have to fill out something called a “commercial invoice” as well as the shipping label. These are all found on the FedEx site. CellTrend tells you what to write on the customs manifest, which is the “commercial invoice.”
- Blood doesn’t need to be shipped on ice or dry ice. Unless it’s high summer and very hot where you are, room temperature is allowed. That was something I was worried about.
- Get the blood drawn and shipped on a Monday so it arrives during the week, not on a weekend.
- Note that FedEx requires you to put at least $1 as the value of the package in order to do the shipping set-up, and then the customs form can’t say less than that. CellTrend tells you to write in the item description that it has “no commercial value,” but just write that and then put $1 in the customs value spot and don’t worry about it. I did that and it got there find.
- DO NOT put as the customs value the amount that it’s costing you to do the labs. If the sample doesn’t arrive, CellTrend won’t do the testing and won’t charge you, so you won’t be out that money anyway. And you don’t want CellTrend to be charged customs duties on the package.
- When you print your FedEx documents, it will print like 4 copies of each form. My husband took the package to FedEx and said they used all of them, so that’s a feature, not a bug.
- If you have FedEx packaging at home, you might want to wait to seal it until you take everything to FedEx so they can show you what shipping and customs forms to put where, in case a copy needs to go inside as well as outside.
- You’ll probably want to ask for FedEx International, but the on-line system will tell you which service to use. Just don’t choose economy! You want the package to get there in just a couple of days. You’ll want to watch tracking so you can see the package arrive. You don’t need to ask for any other confirmation of receipt (like a signature). Mine was shipped from Michigan on a Monday afternoon and arrived at CellTrend on a Wednesday morning, German time.
- Important for shipping- Get the phone number for CellTrend off the bottom of the main page of their website! This isn’t on the instruction sheets. FedEx wants a phone number for the recipient as well as the sender. Link to find the phone number is found here >
5- WAIT FOR RESULTS
After CellTrend received my labs, it was just under a week (6 days) before my results were ready. They received them on a Wednesday and sent me a bill by e-mail the following Tuesday.
They take Paypal, which will calculate the conversion from Euros to your currency.
**Remember that Germany may be on a very different time zone, so be patient about getting a reply to your e-mail or getting your results after paying.
I hope this takes the mystery out of it. – Lydia M.
Patient and blood processing instructions:
Test order sheet (include with sample):
Web page with phone number at the bottom:
If you don’t hear from CellTrend after one week, email them to inquire about your sample at: [email protected]