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Newborn genetic screening

All babies born in Tennessee receive screening for over 70 genetic disorders that could impact their health and development. A routine doctor visit may not uncover such disorders. Changes in diet, procedures and medication can improve outcomes for babies with these conditions.

At Vanderbilt, we typically perform a newborn screening before your baby leaves the delivery center or hospital. This screening includes a heel prick to obtain a small amount of blood. We send this sample to the state newborn screening lab for testing. Your child’s pediatrician and the Vanderbilt team receive results that may require more follow-up. Our team talks with your pediatrician to find out if your baby needs re-testing at their office, or an immediate visit at a genetics clinic.

An abnormal result does not always mean your baby has a genetic condition. Most babies do not have the condition they are identified to be at risk for. More follow-up, including blood or urine tests and a physical exam at a genetics clinic, may be needed. If the follow-up testing confirms a genetic condition, our genetics clinic offers you access to leading experts in genetic disorders for treatment and management.

Newborn screening also includes a safe, painless hearing test. A confirmed hearing loss requires an early start with therapy to help with communication skills.