Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Opting-In" to Newborn Screening

I've written pretty extensively in the past about the issues with Texas' newborn screening procedures, and it appears that a new bill allowing parents to "opt-in" versus "opting-out" is about to pass in the Texas legislature.  This means that, once the standard newborn tests are performed, the samples will not be stored indefinitely unless the parents expressly grant permission. This is a huge victory for those of us concerned with protecting the privacy of our children.

Remember that these are the heel-prick tests put on a small card, performed at birth in the hospital (or at home by a midwife) and again at the two week pediatric appointment.  Each test previously required its own "directive to destroy" form, which had to be mailed to the state lab for newborn screening if the parents desired the destruction of the cards.

I am absolutely on board with newborn screening to rule out disease, but I refuse to allow my child's DNA to sit in a drawer at Texas A&M or to be traded or sold for lab equipment, as happened in previous years.