Clear message; Cremation Destroys DNA.

An oath is written in different languages and left on the witness chair in the courtroom at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) during its open day for public in Hague

With all the media resources available today, communicating a clear message should be simple.  However, often we have a propensity to “sugar coat” the message to the intended audience for whatever reason.  For me, I think the softening of the message often misses the point intended to deliver.  One of my favorite sayings “I’m not going to tell you to go to hell, but I am going to tell you the truth, and that feels like hell.”

The message is clear: The cremation process is irreversible.  All DNA is destroyed by the cremation process.  As a funeral professional, it’s your obligation to provide this information to a family so they may make an educated decision; the last chance collect a DNA sample from their deceased loved one, or not.  Of course, there are those funeral directors that will say “well, the family has never asked me about this” or “we don’t have a legal or regulatory obligation to tell a family that.”

Recently, a funeral home owner provided an interesting perspective to his leadership team about providing families they serve information regarding cremation destroying DNA: “In a few years, this is going to be a big story in the local news.  Because we shared this (the last chance to collect DNA from their loved one) with a family and they chose to collect a sample, the sample made a significant difference in their lives…or we did not tell the family, and they are suing us.  Which is the best story?”

In the event an uniformed family (not provided the facts that cremation is irreversible and cremation destroys DNA by you, or your staff) returns to your funeral home with their loved ones cremated remains (that your firm cremated), and asks you (their funeral director/funeral home owner) to collect the DNA from those cremated remains, your answer is: __________________?  Please share with us your answer; we really want to hear what you have to say. Got the message? Cheers y’all!  #thefuneralcommander

  1. Marcus Ericson said:



  2. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Thanks Marcus!


  3. Jeff…the only time education to the masses is bad is when we don’t do it. This is not a time to be reactionary in life or death care. We all need to be forward thinking, and anticipate the need of the people. What’s trending, what’s not…there are a million reasons why our DNA would be important. It’s not customary presently to ask the question. This concept in the funeral industry is cutting edge…being on the front end of progress is not necessarily a bad thing. In general, funeral home operations need to project help, education, and care to the people. (Relax, if your operation already does that…great!) Making sure everyone fully understands DNA, why we need it, how to get it, what’s it cost, how we keep it etc. will dictate how successful this program will be. I can’t wait to hear more about it. Thanks for the heads up, I talk to a lot of families and this information helps me provide a greater quality of service…options are grand. Peace.


  4. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Well said Julie…thanks!


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