Common questions

What is the newborn blood spot screening test?

A newborn blood spot screening test is a simple and safe blood test which screens for serious conditions that can be treated when found early. In Colorado, all babies will be tested unless parents request to opt out of testing.

Why does my baby need the test?

Newborn babies who have these conditions look healthy but may get very sick or die within just a few days or weeks of birth. The newborn blood spot screening test helps detect these conditions early for babies to receive the proper medical treatment before they become ill. With early treatment, most babies live a healthy life.

How is the newborn blood spot screen tested?

A few drops of blood are taken from your baby’s heel and soaked onto a special paper. The State Public Health Laboratory completes the screening using the dried blood spots. The results are sent to the hospital or the medical provider.

What is the difference between the first versus the second newborn screen?

The first newborn screen is taken at 24-48 hours of age at the birthing center and the second newborn screen is taken at 8-14 days of age with the primary care provider (pcp). The first and second screen test for different disorders as shown in this diagram.

How long does the State Public Health Laboratory retain the newborn blood spots and reports?
  • Individual patient blood spot samples are retained for 6 months and then destroyed.
  • The record copy of individual patient lab reports are retained until the individual is 19 years of age, then destroyed. Duplicate copies are retained for 5 years, then destroyed. 
  • Individual patient correspondence is retained until the individual is 19 years of age, then destroyed. 
  • Please review the retention schedule for further details. 
How can I request to have my newborn's blood spot sample returned?

You can request to have the blood spot sample returned to a designated address by filling out the sample release form

What if my baby's test results are not normal?

If your baby's newborn blood spot screening test results are not normal, your baby will require additional testing. Your PCP will provide guidance on how to get the testing your baby needs from a specialist. Please ensure to get any additional testing your baby needs as directed by your pcp.

How are disorders treated?

If babies with these conditions get early and continuous treatment, most can grow and develop normally and live healthy lives.

Who pays for the testing?

Insurance or medicaid pays for the screening test and the fee for a Colorado newborn blood spot screen is $111.00. 

How do I get my child’s newborn screen results for the NCAA? 

All the newborn screen records prior to 2006 were destroyed. Please contact the pediatrician’s office or birthing facilities for medical records pertaining to sickle cell newborn screening results. The sickle cell test on newborns at the CDPHE Laboratory is considered to be a “screening” test rather than a “confirmation” test. Please refer to this document for further information. 

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