Newborn Screening

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Mission Statement

The Newborn Screening (NBS) Clinical Care Coordination Program seeks to decrease the morbidity and mortality of infants born in Texas through customer-oriented, high quality newborn screening follow-up, case management and outreach education. 

February is American Heart Month

Did you know that about 7,200 babies born each year in the United States have critical congenital heart disease (CCHD)? This can cause serious, life-threatening symptoms and requires intervention within the first days or first year of life. CCHD is one of the leading causes of death in infants less than one-year old, but it’s often treatable if detected early.

Texas law requires that all newborns must be screened for CCHD and that confirmed cases be reported to the Department of State Health Services. Use the CCHD Reporting Form to document confirmed cases.

View CCHD frequently asked questions for more information. For other questions, email or call (512) 776-3957. 

New Videos: Proper Blood Spot Kit Completion and Submission 

Video screen with words “Texas Newborn Screening Collection Kit Completion.” [Click image to view list of videos. New window will open.]Accurately completing and submitting the newborn screening blood spot collection kit is vital to specimen processing, testing and follow-up. Two new 5-minute videos provide a step-by-step review of proper blood spot kit completion and submission.

The newborn screening collection kit completion video reviews how to properly complete each section of the blood spot collection kit. Incorrect or missing information can cause delays, specimen rejection, or incorrect evaluation of test results.

The newborn screening collection kit submission video reviews the process for preparing and shipping specimens to the state laboratory. Timely submission of the blood spot kit is as important as completing the kit correctly and obtaining a good quality specimen.

Every Minute Counts: Timely Blood Samples Save Babies Lives

Texas newborns are screened for more than 50 conditions through a test from a few drops of blood on a card. For many of these conditions, every minute counts. That's why it is critical that the state laboratory receives the completed bloodspot cards as soon as possible. 

The 5-minute video, "Blood samples on a newborn screening blood spot card. [Click image to view video. New window will open.]More Than Drops On a Card," features two Texas families. They share their stories of the importance of collecting timely, good quality specimens.  

Learn About Proper Specimen Collection:

Free Educational Materials Available

The Newborn Screening Program provides educational materials at no cost. Brochures and other publications are available in English and Spanish for healthcare providers, parents, and medical staff. To view and order free publications related to:

You also can call (512) 776-3957 to order publications.

Newborns Screening Tests for 24 Secondary and 31 Core Conditions

Since May 2015, all Texas newborns are screened for 24 secondary conditions that can cause developmental delays, major illness or even death. Previously, the blood spot screening included only 29 core conditions. This increased the conditions screened through a blood test analyzed at the state’s public health laboratory in Austin to total 53. Texas babies also have two other tests that screen for hearing loss and critical congenital heart defects at the birthing facility where the birth occurred. Read the DSHS news release.

Cytomegalovirus: A Common Cause of Hearing Loss in Children

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common viral infection. Most people have been infected with CMV by the time they are adults. If the CMV infection occurs for the first time during pregnancy, especially early in pregnancy, the developing fetus may have birth defects including being deaf or hard of hearing. Read more about CMV.

Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease in Texas

Reporting babies diagnosed with Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) is mandatory in Texas since September 2014. Learn more about CCHD including viewing the CCHD reporting form and frequently asked questions. The CCHD toolkit provides educational information on screening for CCHD. 

Newborn Screening Training: In-Person and Webinar 

The Newborn Screening (NBS) program offers in-person and live webinar trainings. These educational trainings are designed to provide general information on the NBS program, genetic disorders screened in Texas, specimen collection, the importance of early detection and treatment, and resources available to assist healthcare providers participating in newborn screening. 

  • In-person training is generally for audiences of 15 or more. Email to schedule in-person training for your organization.
  • Webinar training is for small to mid-size groups. The online presentation allows participants to view documents and applications electronically from any computer. During the webinar, participants can ask questions. Email to schedule a webinar training for your organization.

Contact Us

Department of State Health Services
Newborn Screening Unit
PO Box 149347, MC 1918
Austin, TX 78714-9347
Phone: 1-800-252-8023 ext. 3957
Fax: 512-776-7450

External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may not be accessible to people with disabilities.

Last updated February 1, 2018