Newborn Genetic Screening Creates Unintended Consequences

Deborah Mitchell
December 7, 2010

As a result, these families are caught in a web of uncertainty, waiting for months or years to see if their child develops a serious or even fatal disease

While mandatory newborn genetic screening can save lives, it can also create unintended consequences, according to a new study. When the results of such screenings are ambiguous, parents can become so anxious and

uncertain that their lives and the life of their child are completely disrupted.

Newborn genetic screening can complicate lives

Newborn genetic screening is performed on every newborn to identify certain harmful or potentially fatal disorders that are not evident at birth. Many of these conditions are metabolic disorders (known as inborn errors of metabolism) or those that affect hormones or the blood. Although these conditions are rare, finding them early allows proper treatment that can make a significant difference in the life of the child.

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