Newborn Screening Ethics

Beth N. PeshkinTidbits

Do parents of babies born in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area have to provide informed consent for newborn screening?

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Not uniformly. The District, Maryland, and Virginia have “opt-out” policies. In the District, parental consent must be documented; in Maryland, parents can sign an “informed dissent” for any reason. It’s toughest to opt out in Virginia, which can be done only on religious grounds. The federal Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2014 requires parental consent to use residual newborn blood spots in federally-funded research.

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