Newborn screening refers to medical tests, the majority of which are genetic, performed to identify babies with certain disorders, which without intervention, may permanently impact newborns and their families. Early recognition and treatment of most of these disorders leads to a better outcome for the newborn. The Newborn Screening Program’s goal is to help affected babies live as long and normal of a life as possible.

The Newborn Screening Program effectively identifies babies with certain disorders and is required for all newborns born in New York State unless the parents confirm, in writing, that they have a religious objection.

Quick Facts about Newborn Screening:

  • A small blood sample is collected by pricking your newborn’s heel usually 24-36 hours after birth.
  • The blood is used to screen for 50 different disorders.
  • There is no charge to you for this service.
  • Most newborns will not have one of these disorders.
  • Newborns with one of these disorders may look healthy at birth, which is why the testing must be performed to find those with a disorder. The earlier treatment is started, the better the outcome is for your newborn.
  • Screening is designed to identify all newborns with the potential for one of these disorders. Further testing is then required to verify whether or not your newborn has the disorder.

We work closely with health care providers to ensure newborns with abnormal test results receive appropriate confirmatory diagnoses and treatment.

No test is perfect. If your newborn’s healthcare provider suspects there is a problem or your newborn does not seem right despite a normal newborn screening result, your newborn may need further testing.

CLIA# 33D2005937 | PFI# 8523

Program Updates

Wadsworth Center’s Role in the Nation’s Largest Newborn Screening Pilot Study of its Kind - ScreenPlus

All newborns in New York State are screened for 52 disorders including all 37 on the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP).  Because of the immense impact newborn screening has on public health, a committee of professionals continually evaluates conditions for addition to the RUSP. Pilot studies such as ScreenPlus can help determine if a new test for a disorder provides results that are beneficial to the health of the newborn and, therefore, the disorder should be added to the panel.

Congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV) Screening

The New York State Department of Health announced that as of Monday, October 2, 2023, all samples received by the New York State Newborn Screening Program will be screened for congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV). The New York State Newborn Screening Program was recently awarded a contract from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to provisionally add cCMV to its screening panel for a period of one year. The free testing will be conducted during a baby’s routine newborn screening.

Addition of CMV Screening

We are excited to announce the New York State Newborn Screening Program was recently awarded a contract from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to provisionally add congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV) to our screening panel.  All babies will be tested for this infection.  Parents will be able to opt-out of the cCMV screen.  This testing will start during summer of 2023 and end in summer 2024 and more information about it can be found here.

New Program Resources

Attention Newborn Screening Coordinators and Newborn Screening Designees: The Newborn Screening Coordinator Toolkit is a new resource from the Newborn Screening Program, which delivers a comprehensive review of the newborn screening process and details the responsibilities of Newborn Screening Coordinators and birth hospitals related to newborn screening. The toolkit includes user guides of newborn screening tools such as the Secure Remote Viewer (SRV), Case Demographics (iCMS), and HERDS, an explanation of the follow-up process, educational resources, and more!

Attention Newborn Screening Specimen Submitters

The P.O. Box addresses at the David Axelrod Institute and Empire State Plaza have been discontinued.  Mail is being forwarded here or returned to sender, subjecting specimens to unnecessary delays.  Please send all specimens to: Newborn Screening Program, 120 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208.  This address is also on the Newborn Screening Collection Forms (DOH 1514).  Thank you for your attention to this matter. 

Changes to the New York State Newborn Screening Program’s HIV Algorithm

Newborn screening specimens are now tested for exposure to HIV using a new first-tier HIV screening immunoassay and a new second-tier HIV-1 / HIV-2 supplemental immunoassay. This new assay has several benefits including the ability to identify newborns exposed to HIV-2. More information is available in the letter to health care providers and on the Screened Disorders page under Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Dr. Joe Orsini Receives Legacy of Hope Award

In commemoration of the organization’s twentieth anniversary, the Hunter’s Hope Foundation presented Wadsworth Center’s Dr. Orsini and Duke University School of Medicine’s Dr. Kurtzberg with the Legacy of Hope Award. Co-recipients in the area of science and medicine were recognized for their contributions to newborn screening and the work of the organization during the 2018 Hunter’s Hope Family and Medical Symposium.

Wadsworth Center Senior Staff Gets National Recognition for Newborn Screening

For the second year in a row, a Wadsworth Center director has received the Harry Hannon Laboratory Improvement Award in Newborn Screening from the Assocation of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). Joseph Orsini, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the Newborn Screening Program at the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center, received the award at the APHL Newborn Screening and Genetic Testing Symposium in New Orleans. Last year, the award was presented to the Director of the Program, Michele Caggana, Sc.D., FACMG.

Wadsworth Center’s Winning Team

“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” -Babe Ruth As any fan or parent who spends countless hours at the field can tell you, it’s baseball season. Just as the baseball stars we watch on TV have put decades of hard work into becoming the best in their field, so too have the Wadsworth Center staff who received national recognition at the annual Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) meeting this June. Their many contributions and exceptional leadership over the years make them all winners.

New Test for Cystic Fibrosis Will Reduce Diagnostic Testing by 81%

Wadsworth Center Newborn Screening Program Sequences the Gene Responsible for Cystic Fibrosis Good news for new parents: the Wadsworth Center’s Newborn Screening Program has developed a more precise screening tool for cystic fibrosis (CF), alleviating the anxiety that accompanies a false positive test and the need for additional diagnostic testing.

Changes to C0 and C3 Reference Ranges and Discontinuation of C4DC Marker

Based on continuous quality improvement by retrospectively looking at levels of analytes detected in infants referred for screened conditions who had the disease and those who did not, the Newborn Screening Program is making the following modifications: 1. Changing the reference range values for free carnitine (C0) and propionylcarnitine (C3) used for the evaluation of carnitine uptake disorder (CUD) 2. Discontinuing the use of methylmalonylcarnitine (C4DC) as a diagnostic marker for the evaluation of propionic acidemia and methylmalonic acidemia (PA/MMA)