What Parents Should Know - A Summary

You may find that this summary is enough for you to make your decisions about newborn screening for your baby.

Newborn Screening helps to prevent certain treatable diseases.

  • Babies with some disorders need treatment in early infancy to prevent severe disease.
  • Newborn screening helps to find the babies who have these disorders.
  • Most likely, your baby does NOT have one of these disorders.

Newborn screening works by testing all babies who are born in Massachusetts.

  • Testing all babies is important, because most babies appear healthy at birth, even the babies who have the disorders that need treatment and that can be detected by newborn screening.
  • The testing for newborn screening is done on a few small drops of blood that are collected when your baby is about two days old.
  • If testing shows that your baby has signs of one of these treatable diseases, your baby’s doctor will call you to arrange care for your baby.  
Routine Newborn Screening
  • In Massachusetts, ROUTINE NEWBORN SCREENING includes disorders that are believed to be treatable.
  • Under Massachusetts’ law, it is a requirement that all babies born in Massachusetts be screened for laboratory markers of these treatable diseases unless parents object on the basis of religious beliefs.

Optional Newborn Screening (Pilot Studies)

  • Massachusetts also offers optional newborn screening services.
  • The OPTIONAL NEWBORN SCREENING allows Massachusetts to study new screening possibilities.
  • The statewide pilot study is research that is valuable for future babies and may be of benefit to your baby.
  • There is no extra cost and no extra blood required for your baby to participate.
  • Under Massachusetts’ guidelines, after your baby is born, you will be asked whether you want to take advantage of the OPTIONAL NEWBORN SCREENING.
  • If, for some reason, you decide that you do not want to participate in the OPTIONAL program, your baby will still have all the benefits of ROUTINE NEWBORN SCREENING.