Testing your donor cannot be emphasized enough. In this section, we will go over what tests are required, what are additional and where you can get your testing done (especially if you don’t have a doctor facilitating the process).
Minimum Testing Requirements
Doctors have different views on testing so please discuss testing options with your doctor.
For the MINIMUM recommended testing of a donor see this list of Fecal Transplant Donor Tests
This list was issued jointly by the American Association of Gastroenterologists and other US health organizations.
Most FMT clinics recommend additional testing above the minimal requirements. Here are some links explaining other recommendations for tests that can keep FMT experience safe and productive according the following organizations:
John Hopkins (USA)
Newbery Clinic (Argentina)
Centre for Digestive Diseases (Australia).
If you click on some of the organizations and clinics listed above you will see that there are a variety of tests and beliefs about what constitutes safe donor testing. Some of these tests are adjusted by location, given that certain pathogens are more common in specific regions. But most of them are standard and are chosen to keep patients safe from known pathogens.
In addition to testing for pathogens, you may want to add tests that will help you determine the health and composition of your donor’s microbiome…
Fecal Diversity Tests
(also known as Microbial Ecology tests)
The above list of tests are designed to keep you safe from pathogens. However, many people are interested in doing FMT are looking for specific strains or to increase their overall diversity. That means testing your donor to look for patterns in their microbiome that you feel could benefit you or for patterns that may cause you problems because you already have high population of particular strains.
If you have the funds, this type of fecal diversity testing is also strongly recommended to ensure your donor does not have dysbiosis and does have specific strains you are interested in obtaining.
Whereas traditional fecal pathology tests conducted by allopathic doctors look for microbiota that should not be in your gut, fecal diversity or microbial ecology tests measure the balance of normal microbiota in your gut and often provide a list of relevant species in the microbiome. Since microbiome science is a new field, and more research still needs to be done, a mainstream doctor is unlikely to offer these tests and may even dismiss them.
You can obtain them through naturopathic practitioners, integrative doctors or direct from some labs.
Direct to Patient Tests
These are lab companies that don’t require you to go through your doctor. You can order these tests yourself and get the results mailed to you.
Direct Labs offer a wide variety of functional medicine tests through laboratories including BioHealth, Metametrix, Doctor’s Data, Genova Diagnostics, ELISA/Act Biotechnologies & ImmunoLabs. They do NOT offer blood tests for customers outside the USA, however all fecal, urine & hair tests are available for international customers.
Many people who want to test their donor (or themselves) without having to go through their doctor or insurance, use the following tests from Direct Labs:
- CDSA 2.0 w/Parasitology-Genova Kit
- Clostridium Difficile: Colitis Toxins A & B-BioHealth Kit
- Cryptosporidium Antigen-BioHealth Kit
- GI Effects Gastrointestinal Function Comprehensive Profile (One Day Collection)-Genova Kit
To order your tests from Direct Labs Click Here
Other lab options
(require a physician’s referral):
LabTesting Direct (USA)
True Health Labs (USA)
My Med Labs (USA)
Great Plains Laboratory (USA)
Cyrex Labs (USA)
Labs for Fecal Diversity Tests Only
American Gut (USA)
How to Interpret Your Results
It is overwhelming working out what tests to do and how to interpret them. This is not helped by the fact that opinions differ among professionals. Below are some resources that will help you navigate this maze.
This article discusses the pros and cons of different kinds of tests.