minnesota newborn screening program
Homebirths - Communicate to Parents
Minnesota Statutes §144.125 Subd. 3 and §144.966 Subd. 3 requires persons with a duty to perform testing to provide information to parents about newborn screening and allow parents the opportunity to ask questions.
To offer the best care to the infants you deliver and to inform parents of their rights under the law, the Minnesota Department of Health Newborn Screening Program recommends taking the following steps:
- Review the Newborn Screening fact sheet with parents. It is available free from the Newborn Screening Program and can be ordered by calling (800) 664-7772. You will automatically receive one for every specimen card ordered.
- Tell parents that their infant’s newborn screening specimen will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Health. Unless directed otherwise by the parents, the newborn screening program will destroy the remaining blood spots after 71 days for blood spots with negative results and 24 months for blood spots with positive results. All test results will be destroyed after 24 months.
- Offer parents information about the value of hearing screening and orally and in writing let them know where they can arrange to have their infant’s hearing screened.
- Inform parents that they can decline to have their infant screened. Inform them of associated risks:
Babies can die or become developmentally delayed as a result of not being screened.
- Children with the diseases screened for or with hearing loss often appear healthy at birth
- By the time symptoms do appear, damage can be irreversible.
- An affected child who is not screened may not receive treatment needed to prevent developmental delay, illness, or death.
- Tell parents that if they decline to have their infant screened, the forms they sign authorizing their choice will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Health
- Document that the parent received the fact sheet and had the opportunity to ask questions.
Forms are available at: Parental Options
Prenatal visits are the best time for the out-of-hospital birth provider to inform parents about this safe and easy way to ensure a healthy start for their babies. Since newborn screening changes over time, it is important for the practitioner to stay up-to-date with the disorders on the screening panel and issues involving screening. If questions cannot be answered by reading this website, practitioners should always feel free to contact the Newborn Screening Program by phone at 1-800-664-7772 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The prenatal period is when the practitioner and the family should decide together where the screen will be collected, and if the screen is to be collected at home, who will take responsibility to obtain the newborn screening card.
It is especially important for midwives working with high-risk groups to discuss newborn screening. Babies born into communities where many people have common ancestors (such as the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites) are at increased risk for many of the disorders on the newborn screening panel. Practitioners working with these groups are encouraged to speak with the genetic counselors in the Newborn Screening Program to obtain additional information.
Fact sheets about newborn screening in a variety of languages are found at the following sites:Updated Monday, 30-Jul-2012 14:59:34 CDT