Blood tests are an important part of your treatment plan. There are three ways to arrange these:
- With your Doctor – if your doctor is able to arrange your blood tests through your public health system, the results can be securely uploaded to our Help Centre. This can be done directly by your doctor, or you can do it yourself.
- Private service – if your doctor is unable to administer your blood tests, then either our partner network of private walk-in laboratory clinics, or a local private hospital, may be able to help.
- Home Testing Kit – we can arrange to have a home testing ‘finger prick’ kit sent to you if you are based in the United Kingdom. You administer this yourself and it will be processed by our partner laboratory in London. Alternatively, you can have this test administered by a phlebotomist or on site at the clinic in London.
Find out more about how the blood tests work here.
Full Health Check
Blood tests are an essential part of your treatment – to make sure you are fit and healthy and that hormones will be safe for you.
Full health check tests are needed at the start of treatment for people over the age of 60 and those with existing health conditions. They are required annually for those receiving treatment. These are the tests you will need to have:
- Full blood count (FBC)
- Liver (LFT)
- Kidney (U&E)
- Diabetes (HbA1C)
- Lipids (Lipids)
A copy of this form will be emailed to you upon completion, so that you can refer back to it when arranging your blood tests, which ever route you decide to take.
To monitor your hormone levels we recommend three-monthly checks of testosterone and oestrogen. You may require other specific tests if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. We ask everyone to have their blood pressure checked. This is mandatory if you are receiving certain medications, such as spironolactone.
Once your hormones levels have stabilised, the frequency of these checks will be reduced.
I am unable to get blood tests
We understand that some people are unable to get blood tests. If this is the case for you, please contact us and explain your situation to a member of our Team. We will work with you to continue your treatment while keeping you safe.
MORE ABOUT THE METHODS OF TESTING
Testing at a Clinic
GenderGP works with a large blood testing service with over 170 clinics around the UK – including the South West, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Once you have identified your nearest clinic on this LIST place your order through GenderGP and you will receive an email with details of the Booking Centre at the Pathology Service. You can then call them to arrange an appointment at a convenient time.
As with all blood tests, there is a chance that the sample can fail, however, having your sample taken by a professional phlebotomist and processed on site, greatly reduces that risk.
Results will be returned to GenderGP within three working days.
Testing at Home
We can arrange for a finger prick kit to be sent to your home if you live in the United Kingdom at the time of ordering. More information can be found HERE.
This type of testing can work well for those who may be unable to get to a clinic, however, it is important to note that this method carries a higher chance of failure due to:
- Gel contamination – which may cause an elevated result
- Processing time – postal delays can invalidate the sample
Results will be returned to GenderGP within three working days.
Testing through your local health service
We can send a letter to your doctor to request that they arrange the tests for you. The benefits of this are that, unless local charges apply, it is free. Your doctor will be sent all the relevant information including what tests you require and how to return the results via our Confidential Information Transfer system. A link to this will also be provided.
You will also receive a copy of this letter for your records. Please note that we will contact you once we have received and reviewed your blood test results.
Home Blood Testing: Important Information
For best results, we request that you do not eat from 9 PM the night before your blood tests are due to be carried out.
Please have your blood test samples taken in the morning, and send them in the post on the same day.
Timings for tests vary, depending on the way in which your medication is administered:
- Patch – administer the test the day after a patch change
- Gel – administer the test 4-6 hours after gel application
- Injection – administer the test during the second week of your injection.
Please follow the instructions given in the pack as closely as possible. When you get to step two, try bathing your hand in some warm water before pricking your finger. This will increase blood flow to the fingertips. You can also take a warm shower or do some gentle exercise beforehand, as well as making sure you are well hydrated. Let gravity help by standing up to take your sample. If the blood flow stops, wipe the area with a clean tissue. If it does not resume use a spare lancet to prick another finger.
You may receive more than one sample tube – you will need to fill all tubes provided to the second line. You may find it easier to fill each tube from a different finger, this also limits the chance of damage to the cells. We have included link to an excellent instruction video at the end of this section.
Sometimes even if the tube is full, the lab will struggle to process the sample. Please make sure you drink plenty of water the day before taking the test to ensure you are hydrated.
Keep the form in the grey pre-paid envelope and send it with your sample to our laboratory in London. They will process the sample and send us the results.
The details on the form must match the details on the tube label or the lab will not process the sample.
It is very important you only post the sample back between Monday and Wednesday. Although the lab operates 24/7, the Royal Mail doesn’t and the sample may fail if it sits untested for more than a day.
Most samples are processed without a problem, but there are three common things that can go wrong.
Important: The laboratory will still charge for processing the error sample. If your sample fails, you will be charged for a retest.
- ‘Sample haemolysed’ – this can happen when you squeeze your finger too hard to get the blood out, and the blood cells are damaged. Be gentle when squeezing your finger to avoid this. It can also happen if you shake the tube too hard when mixing.
- ‘Sample clotted’ – this can occur if the blood is allowed to clot in the tube before it is mixed with the liquid in the tube. Gently invert the tube once filled with the cap on to mix the blood.
- ‘Insufficient sample’ – always make sure you fill the blood to the line. Sometimes even if the tube is full, the lab will struggle to process the sample. Please make sure you are not dehydrated when you do the test, and drink plenty the day before.