To determine your genetic sequence, Invitae needs white blood cells that are found naturally in your saliva. These cells contain your DNA, which Invitae will test.
Your doctor can request that Invitae ship a saliva sample collection kit to your doctor’s office or to your home. Once you receive your kit, follow the instructions inside to submit your sample. Please keep the following in mind:
- Before providing your sample, do not drink (even water) for 30 minutes
Collecting saliva too soon after drinking anything, including water, dilutes your saliva and reduces the amount of DNA.
- Before providing your sample, do not eat, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes
In addition to diluting your sample, you could be introducing non-human DNA to your sample.
- Bubbles do not count
After providing your sample, make sure that the liquid saliva reaches the “Fill to” line; any bubbles should be above the line. This will ensure that enough saliva is collected.
- Ongoing medical treatment
If you’re undergoing medical treatment that reduces your white blood cell count (such as chemotherapy), it’s best to wait until your white blood cell count has returned to normal before providing a saliva sample.
It’s easier to collect large amounts of saliva in the mouth before spitting (rather than spitting small amounts more often). It takes most people 2 to 5 minutes to provide a saliva sample. If you’re still having trouble, try:
- Closing your mouth and wiggling your tongue
- Gently rubbing the outside of your cheeks, just behind your back teeth
- Making chewing motions with your mouth
- Smelling or imagining smelling sour foods such as lemons
- Thinking about your own favorite food
If the suggestions above don’t work, try placing a few granules of sugar (just enough to taste it) or one drop of lemon juice on your tongue. This small amount of food won’t affect your results and could help stimulate saliva.