28 September 2017

DNA Analysis Consent Forms

Over the years there have been several discussions about sample consent forms a genealogist might use when asking a person to take a DNA test. Recently, Blaine T. Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist, posted a sample beneficiary form on a Facebook group. Blaine's example and several others are linked from the ISOGG Wiki page on "Project consent forms."

Catkin, "Consent," CC0 Creative Commons License,

Blaine's form is specifically written to name a beneficiary to manage a DNA sample after the death of a DNA donor. Because Blaine assigned a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, others have permission to share and adapt the document. I have made two adaptations of Blaine's document.

The first adaptation is for use with my family members who take a DNA test: naming me as beneficiary to manage the kit after death of the test-taker, indicating preferences for sharing the information, whether a legal name or an alias should be used when sharing, ensuring the test-taker knows about the Genetic Genealogy Standards, and that I cannot ensure anonymity no matter how hard I work to do so. Blaine included space for a notary public to witness the signing of the document which would definitely give the document more standing if legal proceedings are ever involved. Most of the time when I am getting a sample from a family member we will not be able to easily access a notary. I changed this section to have two others present sign as witnesses; this is a more viable situation for most of us on a day-to-day basis. You will have to decide if you want a notarized document or if witnesses are an acceptable alternative if you want to do something similar.

jarmoluk, "form," CC0 Creative Commons License,

The second adaptation is for a project member indicating the same preferences and giving me permission to analyze their DNA test results, but not naming me as a beneficiary. No witnesses are requested for this document as I expect it will normally be provided to me through electronic means and I will not be present when the test-taker signs it.

Feel free to take these and adapt them further for your use. PDF and Word 2010 versions of both documents are available on my website Quick Reference Links.

To cite this blog post: Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Analysis Consent Forms," Deb's Delvings, 28 September 2017 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2017, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved


  1. Debbie -

    Thanks for providing these consent forms. I will be using them.

    It's too bad that Blaine/ISOGG, or whoever, assumes that EVERYONE is on Facebook. I could not get to his version of forms since I have no Facebook account.

    While I will have my mother sign a consent form to name me as beneficiary, what happens to control of her DNA when I, as her beneficiary, am no longer around? Can it be passed through a chain of surviving beneficiaries (i.e. my children/grandchildren, etc)? Could a form be made for that?

    1. Hi Dan. I'll ask if Blaine's form can be post outside of Facebook. Not being a lawyer, I would assume that any rights your gives to you could be passed from you to your heirs. If you want to be sure about this I would suggest consulting a lawyer. There is such uncertainty right now as few seem to have planned for how to pass down rights to digital and online data. Maybe someday there will just be a form like we can get now to write our own wills.