According to the March of Dimes, Minnesota is the only state that routinely tests babies for all treatable metabolic and functional disorders the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends checking, including cystic fibrosis and PKU.
The testing is not mandatory, parents have the option to ‘op out’ if they are uncomfortable with the state having personal information about their child.
While this testing will save lives in the future, a nurse who opposes it has pointed out that because the state is doing the testing, the results become government property. She also refers to the the Department of Health’s database of infant test results as “baby DNA warehouse.”
Governor Pawlenty told reporters he’s confident the state’s protecting the privacy of those babies and their parents. He has, however, instructed the health department to make the process more “user friendly” for new parents who may want to opt out of screening.
Regardless of who gets the results, this testing is good for both the parents and the child. It is a way to identify children’s congenital conditions that would otherwise go undiagnosed until it’s too late to treat them.
If you had the chance to have your new baby tested for 54 treatable diseases at birth would you?