Newborn Screening - Use and Storage of Dried Blood Spots after NBS

DSHS Use and Storage of Dried Blood Spots

What are residual dried blood spots?

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Newborn Screening Lab recommends five complete blood spots for the newborn screen. This ensures that there will be enough blood to complete all screening and retesting for any abnormal results. The blood that remains after all testing is complete is the residual blood spots. These blood spots have important uses for both DSHS and public health research.

What happens to the residual blood spot card after testing?

After testing, DSHS keeps residual blood spots in a secure place for up to two years. By Texas law (Health & Safety Code Sec. 33.018 (b)-(c)), the residual blood spots may be used during that time. Residual blood spots will be destroyed within two years unless otherwise permitted by the parent or guardian.

Uses within the two years include:

  • Ensuring DSHS newborn screening test, equipment and supplies are working 
  • Developing new tests for newborn screening 
  • Studying diseases that affect public health as allowed by law 

If the parent gives their OK on the Parent Decision Form for Storage and Use of Newborn Screening Blood Spots, the residual blood spots may be stored safely for up to 25 years, and they may be used for public health research outside of DSHS. This research would study public health problems like cancer, birth defects or other diseases. No matter the parent’s choice, no information that can identify them or their child can be released outside DSHS without additional written consent. View the data use policy and a list of research uses that have been allowed by DSHS.

Texas Law states that the Parent Decision Form for Storage and Use of Newborn Screening Blood Spots must be distributed to the parents by healthcare workers, upon the collection of each newborn screening specimen.  Providers may have parents complete the Parent Decision form that is included in the Newborn Screening kit or download and print the form here. It is not necessary to complete both forms; either one is sufficient.  The provider shall ensure the signed and completed form is promptly sent to DSHS as per Texas Administrative Code 25.1.37D, Rule 37.56.  The form may be returned with a specimen shipment or mailed to the DSHS address listed on the form.

DSHS storage of residual blood spots is governed by Texas law as detailed in the chart below:

  Received by DSHS prior to May 27, 2009

Specimen Collection Date
May 27, 2009, through
May 31, 2012

Specimen Collection Date
June 1, 2012, or Later

Blood Spot Storage after Completion of the Newborn Screening Tests


Blood spots received by DSHS prior to May 27, 2009, for which written consent to retain was not given, have all been destroyed.

All blood spots are stored indefinitely, unless DSHS receives a Directive to Destroy Newborn Screening Blood Spot Card Following Testing form.

All blood spots are stored for up to 2 years and then destroyed unless the parent submits a completed Parental Decision form allowing for longer storage.


Specimens collected June 1, 2012, or later:

Specimens collected May 27, 2009, through May 31, 2012

Parents can request destruction of their child's Newborn Screening Specimens collected May 27, 2009, through May 31, 2012, by submitting the form below to the DSHS.

 Additional Information

Note: 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.