Autopsy and Perinatal Services

Autopsy and Perinatal Services

The Division of Pathology at Cincinnati Children’s provides autopsy services for outlying institutions. Cincinnati Children’s has a tradition of highly-trained pediatric pathologists who are available to the region for comprehensive fetal and perinatal postmortem examinations.  

Routine autopsies are generally performed Monday through Friday during usual working hours. A representative from the outlying institution should call our Department of Pathology at 513-636-4261 to discuss any cases under consideration for an autopsy and to arrange appropriate transfer or records and paperwork prior to the transportation of the patient.  

Special requests regarding weekend or holiday autopsies will need to be discussed with the on-call pathologist by phone at 513-636-4200.

Note that genetic testing, while often important in understanding the cause of fetal or perinatal death, is not included with the autopsy. Genetic testing can be requested separately by completing a genetic testing requisition form through the Genetics and Genomics Diagnostic Laboratory

The requesting physician should fill out the form completely prior to the autopsy in order to avoid delays or inability to complete the testing. 

The Division of Human Genetics is a separate division from the Department of Pathology and their billing is separate and will incur an additional cost. For questions regarding specific genetic testing and associated cost, call 513-636-4474.

The outlying institution will be responsible for transporting the patient to and from Cincinnati Children's, including back to the outlying institution or funeral home after completion of the autopsy. The outlying institution is also responsible for ensuring that the body has appropriate identifying information (at least two patient identifiers) upon arrival at Cincinnati Children's. The body will not be accepted to the morgue and no autopsy can be performed without appropriate identifying information.


  • An autopsy permit must accompany the patient to Cincinnati Children’s. Our Cincinnati Children’s form is the only acceptable document for the performance of a postmortem examination at Cincinnati Children’s. The permit must be signed by the appropriate family member(s), in accordance with Ohio state law.  
  • A form providing the pathology department with names, addresses, phone/fax numbers of physicians who will receive copies or the reports, and who may be contacted in the cases requiring additional information is also required. This form includes information on the department responsible for the charges incurred for the autopsy services.  
  • Clinical information about the patient (as well as the mother in the case of fetal and perinatal cases) is also required. Medical records of the labor and delivery, prenatal care, ultrasound reports, and prenatal testing is essential. In addition, clinical notes are also requested if the infant was admitted. Other clinical information may be requested on a case-by-case basis.  
  • Examination of the placenta is an essential component in fetal and perinatal deaths. A placental worksheet and placenta (fresh or in formalin) are requested in all fetal and perinatal cases. If the placenta has been previously examined at the outside institution, we request that slides (recut or original), a pathology report, and placental fragments be sent to Cincinnati Children's at the time of the postmortem examination.  


  • Fees are structured competitively and are based on the type of autopsy performed. For specific charges, please contact 513-636-4261 and request the business office. This service is a contract between the outside institution and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Cincinnati Children's. Under no circumstance will we bill the family or their insurance company. Cincinnati Children's does not perform private autopsies.  
  • Routine clinical laboratory testing such as cultures and molecular testing of selected viruses by PCR analysis will not be associated with any additional charges.  
  • Any specific laboratory testing requiring an outside reference lab will not be done unless previously discussed with the appropriate representatives from the outside institution and an agreement of payment has been reached.  
  • Radiographic imaging is not considered routine practice at Cincinnati Children's. In cases where X-rays are considered an essential component of the autopsy, our Radiology Department will perform these studies for $100. These additional charges will be passed to your institution as part of the autopsy service.  


  • A preliminary autopsy report is generated within 2 working days of the autopsy dissection and will be faxed to the designated office or personnel at the outside institution.
  • A final autopsy report will be complete within 60 workdays and will be faxed to the designated office or personnel at the outside institution.  
  • Reports are faxed

Transporting Bodies to Cincinnati Children's for Postmodern Examination

  • The outlying hospital is responsible for arranging transportation of the body to Cincinnati Children’s. Upon arrival, the courier or funeral home driver should call Protective Services at 513-636-4204. An officer will come to meet the driver and escort them to the morgue to deliver the body. After completion of the autopsy, the courier would follow similar instructions. The only permissible place for submission or release of bodies is the Cincinnati Children’s morgue (except for emergency situations in which the morgue cooler was rendered nonfunctional or full). 

For additional information or assistance, please call 513-636-4200 and ask for the pathologist on-call for the autopsy service.

Our Pathologists

Consent / Authorization Forms for Autopsy