Newborn Screening Changing

Babies born across the country will now undergo a new level of testing.

Thanks to the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, infants will now be tested for 29 metabolic, hormonal, genetic, and or functional disorders.

This is a big change in Texas - where the state only tests for 5 disorders.

Dr. Mubaviz Naqvi with Texas Tech Health Science Center in Amarillo says, "They are basic test. One is to check the thyroid status. Is it a low thyroid or a high thyroid. Another test commonly done is testing for sickle cell disease and other blood disorders. If that is found early, than early preventative test and precautions can be offered to that baby before they get to complications. Then another test that is going to be added now is for Cystic Fibrosis."

Doctor Naqvi is originally from Pakistan... Where no testing is done on infants.

"In that country, a lot of babies don't have universal screening, and that's why a lot of babies may have problems." Naqvi says.

Experts say they believe the number of screenings will continue to increase..

Dr. Brian Eades with Women's Healthcare Associates says, "I had a patient of mine who had a baby identified, just a few weeks ago, it had a condition that 5 years ago probably wouldn't have been identified, and it could have meant brain damage for her baby."

It's not just after birth... Doctor eades says more testing is being done in the womb as well.

Doctor Eades says, "Some of the screening we are doing for the newborns will have already been done to pregnant mothers before. But it's very important that the things that we can identify early, we identify them as early as possible."

Besides requiring the testing the law is setting aside money to educate more parents, nurses, and doctors about the importance of screening.