Parents Outraged at Warehousing of DNA Saved from Newborn Baby Screening Programs and Used for Clinical Laboratory Testing

After Laboratory Tests are Conducted, Newborn Screening Cards are Saved for Research

For decades, pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists have been part of a seemingly innocuous public health practice begun in the 1960s: newborn blood testing. Now, because of recent advances in genetic tests and molecular diagnostics, growing numbers of parents are concerned about how the government handles the DNA of their newborn babies.

Laboratories and clinical data warehouse facilities across the nation are in possession of millions of cards, each which carries spots of heel-prick blood taken from a newborn baby. These cards contain the samples used to perform laboratory tests required by law to screen newborn infants for a number of devastating genetic diseases. This screening identifies about 5,000 babies each year that require early treatment appropriate to their condition to minimize or prevent damage or even death.