Testing Newborns - How Much is TOO Much?

So many tests - which are necessary for my newborn?
So many tests - which are necessary for my newborn?

Soon after your baby is born, the tests begin. Immediately after your child’s birth, he or she is given an Apgar test. In the first few weeks after birth, your child will go through various tests both in the hospital and in the doctor’s office.

But what tests are necessary and how much do you really need to know? Even though I am a mom of 4, my first 3 children have been healthy and I’ve just done what was asked.

It’s crazy to think that with just a few small drops of blood, the risk of various diseases and disorders can be determined. 

Some states have expanded their checks, including testing for amino-acid and metabolism disorders. Many of the new conditions being looked at have no definitive treatment or it isn’t clear whether immediate intervention is necessary. That can present an emotional dilemma for parents who may want to know if anything is wrong with their baby but in many cases have no therapy to pursue.

“The question is no longer whether we can test for them,” says Alan Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes Foundation, “but what we want to know.”


I don’t know if I like that. I would hate knowing that my child could be at risk or has a disorder that I wouldn’t even have known about – but now can’t do anything about! It is just me? (Possibly!) But on the other hand, I don’t want to be passive.

Proponents of broader screening programs say early intervention in a disease can improve a child’s life and might speed the development of treatments for rare diseases, where symptoms often don’t appear until severe damage has occurred. Often there are few specialists knowledgable about rare disorders, and newborn screening can save families years of anguish searching for a diagnosis. Some parents also say the information is important to know for family-planning purposes.

But critics say the additional tests may raise flags that lead to unnecessary further testing, or treatment, for babies who will not get sick. The tests can add big additional costs to the health-care system, they say. And some people are concerned about privacy, since stored blood-spot samples can be used by researchers. Some states give parents the ability to decide whether they want a child’s specimens used for research purposes.

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How Much is TOO Much Information With Testing? What Tests Should We Participate In? HELP!

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