Families are 'banking' and wearing their loved ones' DNA

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(Source: DNA Memorial) (Source: DNA Memorial)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

When a loved dies, those left behind have a lot of tough decisions to make, from cremation to keepsakes, the options are endless.

Now, though, some are choosing to bank their loved one's DNA and wear it.

The question isn't if you're going to die, the question is when.

But do you know what you will want to be done with your body when there's no life left in it?

Valley Funeral director John Perkes says most people don't. 

"Nobody wants to talk about it. It's important to have that conversation, even if it's tough," said Perkes, the funeral director at Regency Mortuary in Sun City.

When it comes to choices, he offers it all, especially when it comes to cremated remains.

"They can be buried; they can be separated, they can be scattered. At this point, they can even be shot into space," said Perkes.

Like others, Perkes offers hundreds of options when it comes to storing the ashes.

Perkes, though, runs one of only three mortuaries in the state that works with DNA Memorial. 

"My grandpa, who is on this blanket here, he suffered from Parkinson's before he died and I wish this would have been available when he passed away," said Perkes.

The DNA banking process allows heirs the opportunity to track, diagnose and prevent everything from simple skin disorders to terminal cancer.

"If we don't have DNA to be able to research, we might miss out on some things," said Perkes.

The process is pretty simple.

Perkes takes a cheek swab, then mails it off.

From there, the DNA is either banked at an offsite facility or can be sent back to the family for home banking.

At that point, you can also choose to have the DNA put inside glass blown pendants, orbs and decorative art pieces.

It's important to note, though, the DNA can't be collected after cremation, so you'll definitely want to have that conversation before it's too late.

If you're cremated, the DNA is 100 percent destroyed at that point, so it's something we do need to talk about," said Perkes.

The DNA banking process can cost several hundred dollars.

For more information, go to www.regencymortuary.com or www.dnamemorial.com.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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