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Newborn Screening

A newborn baby can look healthy but have a serious disorder that cannot be seen. If not treated, these disorders can lead to slow growth, blindness, brain damage, or possibly death. Early treatment can help prevent these serious problems. This is why in Wisconsin babies are tested right after birth for rare disorders.

What is Newborn Screening?

Wisconsin law requires that all babies have the newborn screening done before they leave the hospital. Babies born at home must be tested within a week of birth.

  • The screening is done by pricking the baby's heel and collecting a small sample of blood. The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services oversees the program and all blood samples are sent to the State Laboratory of Hygiene in Madison for testing.
  • Parents may refuse newborn screening only if their religious beliefs and practices do not allow this testing.
  • Cost is covered by most insurance plans
     

What is offered by Newborn Screening?

  • The panel of tests done in Wisconsin meets the national standards of the tests recommended for infants to be screened for at birth.
  • Each of the 47 disorders are very rare and can lead to life long issues if they go undiagnosed
  • A full explanation and list of these disorders can be found on the state newborn screening web site, which is www.slh.wisc.edu/newborn.

 

Will my doctor repeat this screening at my baby's first visit?

  • Your baby's health care provider will receive a report of the test results
  • Be sure to ask for the results from your baby's health care provider.
  • Some times the test done at birth needs to be repeated to be sure of the final result. This is very common because babies are screened when they are only 24 hours old and sometimes the newborn screening program needs to have a second look at your baby's blood before they can report a final result.

 

Who can I contact?

  • The Milwaukee Health Department has a coordinator who can help answer some of your questions. Call 286-8620
  • Children's Hospital Genetics Center 414-267-3347
  • State contact for the newborn screening program call 608-266-8904
  • Or go to the State newborn screening site for more information www.slh.wisc.edu/newborn