52 Years Est. 1971

Detect Disorders Early Via Newborn Screening Tests

Newborn screening is a state service that is provided to the millions of babies born each year in the United States. This service ensures that every baby is screened for certain serious conditions at birth. If a baby is found to have these conditions, doctors can start treatment early before some of the harmful effects occur.

Medical Innovation

Newborn screening tests started being implemented in the 1960s when scientist Robert Guthrie, MD, PhD, developed a blood test that was able to detect whether newborns had phenylketonuria (PKU). Scientists have continued to develop more tests to screen newborns for a variety of severe conditions.
Blood Sample

Screening for Different Conditions

Currently, there are screenings available for over 60 disorders. But there is variability in the number and types of conditions found on the newborn screening panel of each state, which is determined by each state public health department. Generally, screening is a public health service used for identifying individuals in a population who may have a higher risk for certain diseases.
Because newborn screening tests are performed before any symptoms appear, conditions can be detected and treated before problems happen. However, a screening test doesn’t confirm or rule out a particular condition. In other words, newborn screening is not a diagnostic test. It can be used to identify individuals who may have the condition so that a follow-up test can be done to determine if the condition is truly present.
The conditions that newborns are screened for differ in each state. In most states, 29 of the recommended 35 conditions are screened. These conditions are rare, but more than 5,000 babies are identified with a newborn screening condition each year.

The Three Parts of Newborn Screening

Timing

Newborn screening tests are performed soon after birth, usually when the baby is 24 to 48 hours old. This timing is crucial because some conditions may not be detected if the blood sample is drawn before 24 hours of age.

Notifying the Parents

If a positive screen is detected, parents will be immediately informed, and follow-up testing will be performed. Every baby born in the United States will be screened unless a parent wants to opt out due to religious reasons.

The Three Parts of Newborn Screening

Timing

Newborn screening tests are performed soon after birth, usually when the baby is 24 to 48 hours old. This timing is crucial because some conditions may not be detected if the blood sample is drawn before 24 hours of age.

Notifying the Parents

If a positive screen is detected, parents will be immediately informed, and follow-up testing will be performed. Every baby born in the United States will be screened unless a parent wants to opt out due to religious reasons.
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