Newborn Screening Laboratories

Making Big Footprints in Babies’ Health

The Newborn Screening Laboratories help assure the early and accurate detection of treatable newborn diseases.

Photo of adult holding infant's hand

What is newborn screening? Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child’s long-term health or survival. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential.

Every state in the U.S. has a newborn screening program that screens newborns for many serious but treatable congenital diseases. Many of these conditions are detected by testing a small sample of blood taken from a newborns heel. The conditions  include spinal muscular atrophy, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, endocrine diseases, multiple inborn errors of metabolism, lysosomal storage diseases, and severe combined immunodeficiencies. Since the symptoms of these serious conditions do not always appear at birth, early detection is lifesaving and enables children to reach their full potential.

Early Diagnosis is Key

CDC’s Newborn Screening and Molecular Biology Branch has the only laboratories in the world that work with programs in every U.S. state and in more than 80 countries to ensure that newborn screening tests are accurate. This is important for early diagnosis of infants. DLS also gives money to help state programs test for new conditions. These include recent additions to the nation’s Recommended Uniform Screening Panel for newborns.

Improving Tests for Newborn Screening

DLS develops and improves newborn screening tests, and provides technical assistance for both biochemical and molecular laboratory testing to detect newborn disease. Since 2011, the Newborn Screening Molecular Assessment Program has provided 29 on-site assessment visits to state newborn screening laboratories. DLS, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and other partners also develop and host yearly trainings on newborn screening methods for state public health laboratories.