Newborn Screening (NBS)

Purpose of the Program

To ensure that every newborn in Georgia has a specimen collected for newborn screening. All infants whose test results are outside the normal limits for a newborn screening disorder receive prompt and appropriate follow-up testing. All newborns diagnosed with a metabolic, endocrine, or hemoglobin disease are entered into and maintained on appropriate medical therapy.

The Georgia Newborn Screening Program is a six part preventive health care system designed to identify and provide early treatment for the 28 selected inherited disorders that otherwise would cause significant morbidity or death. The components are:

Education: of parents and health care providers

Screening: universal testing of all newborns

Follow-up: rapid retrieval and referral of the screen-positive newborn

Medical Diagnosis: confirmation of a normal or abnormal screening test result by a private physician or tertiary treatment center

Management: rapid implementation and long-term planning of therapy

Evaluation: validation of testing procedures, efficiency of follow-up and intervention, and benefit to the patient, family and society. Include consideration of adding other tests to the system as indicated by appropriate research and scientific evidence.

Why is the program important?

Most babies appear healthy and show no signs of being sick right after birth. Newborn blood screening can identify diseases early so that treatment, including medications or special formulas can be given to your baby, allowing them to have the best chance at a healthy and happy new beginning.

Where are services located?

Tests are performed 24 to 48 hours after the birth of your baby by the hospital or birthing center. Your newborn baby’s heel will be pricked to get several drops of blood. The drops of blood are sent to the state lab for screening.Your hospital or doctor will receive a copy of the blood screening results. You should talk to your doctor about these results at your baby’s first doctor visit, which is usually scheduled a week after the baby goes home. Georgia law requires that all babies sent home before they are 24 hours-old return to their doctor to have the test done before the child is one week of age. If you plan to have your baby at a birthing center, your midwife or attendant that delivers your baby will tell you where and when to get your babies blood spot and hearing test.

Contact Information

Newborn Screening Program
2 Peachtree Street, NW
11th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303