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. 

September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month

Texas newborns are screened for rare, but serious genetic disorders or medical conditions. Finding and treating these conditions early can prevent serious complications such as developmental delays, illness or even death.

Blood samples are screened for 53 conditions that are sent the Austin state laboratory to test. Babies also receive newborn hearing screening and are checked for critical congenital heart disease before they leave the birthing facility.

Nurses and PHPS Help to Save Babies Lives

Once an abnormal test result is received, nurses and public health and prevention specialists (PHPS) work diligently to ensure that babies receive follow-up care. Read about a few babies whose lives were saved (PDF) because of newborn screening.

Videos: Proper Blood Spot Kit Completion and Submission 

Each step in the process of completing and submitting the blood spot card (or collection kit) can be critical to the life of a baby. Texas screens newborns for more than 50 rare conditions. For some babies, these conditions can be life threatening and treatment must begin as soon as possible before harmful effects happen. 

Collection kit completion video (5 minutes) 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.

Collection kit submission video (5 minutes) 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 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 properly completed blood spot cards as soon as possible. 

Blood samples on a newborn screening blood spot card. [Click image to view video. New window will open.]More Than Drops On a Card video (5 minutes) 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 September 10, 2018