Newborn Screening Program
Many parents of expectant parents have questions about newborn screening. See below for a list of frequenty asked questions, or visit the California Department of Health's page for parents for additional information.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is Newborn Screening Important?
- Most infants will appear healthy after birth in families with no medical history of genetic disorders. But for those infants with an identified disorder, early identification and treatment can prevent serious health problems and save your baby’s life. In California, about 1 out of every 600 babies tested will have one of these disorders. To ensure the health of all its newborns, state law requires that all babies born in California have the Newborn Screening Test.
- How will I receive my baby’s Newborn Screen results?
- When your baby’s newborn screen was collected, you may have been given the pink and blue copies from the test form. The results from your newborn screen may take up to three weeks for completion. On one of your clinic visits for your baby, ask the physician for the newborn screen results. If the physician on the newborn screen form is different from the physician you’ve selected for your baby, you may be asked to sign a medical release for the results to be released to your newly selected physician. Providing the pink and blue copy may assist in locating the newborn screen results but not necessary.
- Can I refuse the Newborn Screening test?
- You can refuse testing only if it is in conflict with your religious beliefs or practices. You must then sign the test refusal section on the newborn screen test form. By signing this form, It states that you “accept all responsibility and liability”. Not having the test done can result in serious illness or permanent damage to your child if later found to have a disorder.
- What if my baby’s newborn screen is positive?
- You will be contacted by your baby’s care provider when a disorder has been identified on the newborn screen. She/he will advise you on the additional testing that is necessary to either rule out or diagnose the disorder. Your physician consults with specialty care centers who are knowledgeable in diagnosis and treatment of your baby’s condition. It’s very important that you follow your physician’s recommendations.
- What happens to the blood spots when testing completed?
- The Genetic Disease Screening Program stores the blood spot collection card to develop new tests to add to the newborn screening panel of tests and to provide quality control as well. The stored specimens are used anonymously to develop new tests. ”Newborn Screening blood spot cards are not DNA cards. Your child’s DNA is not analyzed and the profile is not stored.” For more information about Uses and Disclosures
- How can I request my baby’s blood spot collection card?
- You can request the specimen not be used for research and/or be destroyed by our laboratory. Please submit this request in writing to:
- Chief of the Genetic Disease Screening Program, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, F175, Richmond, CA 94804
- To get a form to request go to: Consent for Release of Dried Blood Spot