What to expect when ordering your own bloodwork

Ordering your own bloodwork can often help save money and avoid the hassle of dealing with your doctor and insurance. However, your first time through the process can be a confusing experience, so here's what to expect.

Step 1: Making sure you are eligible

Make sure your state or country does not have legal issues with blood tests that aren't ordered by a doctor

If you reside in one of the following states or countries, click its name for additional information about issues with ordering your own bloodwork:

Make sure you have a way to get the blood drawn

Almost all blood test providers will use local LabCorp or Quest offices to draw your blood. You should use their location finders (LabCorp, Quest) to make sure there's a convenient draw center near you. In a small number of cases, the provider will have you use another blood draw center, or will ship you a blood-draw kit that can be used by your doctor or a phlebotomist to collect the blood. LabSafe will even send a phlebotomist to your home or office to draw the blood if you shell out the big bucks.

Step 2: Choosing a blood test provider

My list of blood test and provider details can help you choose the best provider for the tests you want. If you're ordering several tests, you can also check each provider's site for discounted panels that contain multiple tests.

Once you've made a decision, placing your order will allow the provider to create a requisition that you will provide to the blood draw location.

Step 3: Receiving the requisition and planning for the blood draw

The blood test provider will either provide you with a digital copy of the requisition to print out, or they will mail you a printed copy. Once you've received the requisition, you can make arrangements to have the blood drawn, usually by scheduling an appointment (LabCorp, Quest). Most locations also allow walk-ins.

The requisition or the test description on the provider's web site may give you information on special restrictions before taking the test, such as fasting or time-of-day restrictions.

Step 4: Having the blood drawn

Assuming you're having the blood drawn at LabCorp or Quest, the blood draw fees are usually included in the purchase price of the test, so no payment will be necessary at your appointment. That means you only need to bring your requisition and a photo ID.

The staff will take your requisition, have you fill out some basic patient information, and then draw the necessary blood samples. You'll then be free to go; they will handle sending your samples off to the lab.

Step 5: Receiving the results

Within a short period, usually less than 2 weeks, you'll receive your results by mail, e-mail, or fax. Your results should include the values you were tested for, along with "reference ranges" for values considered normal. For example, see Life Extension's sample result.

Some providers, such as Life Extension and True Health Labs, will also offer to review the results with you.

That's it, you're done!

Body organ cartoon characters with YouTube play button

If you're interested in self-testing as I am, you might enjoy my explainer videos and my Facebook / Twitter.


Please leave a comment if you see a way to improve this page or if you have any questions. Keep in mind that I know little about the medical side of bloodwork, I just enjoy making sites with lists of things.

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