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Newborn Screening Program

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What Is Newborn Screening?

Newborn screening consists of a blood screen and hearing screen. Just a few drops of blood from your baby's heel are put onto a special test paper and sent to the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene to be tested. Accurate and gentle methods are available to screen newborn babies' hearing before they are discharged from the hospital. Newborn screening finds babies who may have a hidden disorder that needs early treatment.

Why Must My Baby Be Screened?

Wisconsin law requires that all babies born in Wisconsin have a blood screen (Statute 253.13) and hearing screen (Statute.253.115) before leaving the hospital. If your baby is born outside of a hospital, the blood screen must be done within a week of birth and the hearing screen must be done within 30 days of birth.

Can I Say "No" to the Test?

As a parent, you may refuse newborn screening for your baby only if religious beliefs and practices do not allow this testing. If you refuse to have the test done, you may be asked to sign a paper stating that you refused to have your baby tested for these very serious disorders.

What Are Hidden Disorders?

Hidden disorders are health problems that are difficult or impossible for you or your baby's doctor to find just by looking at your baby. If not treated, hidden disorders can lead to delays in development or possibly death. Hearing loss can be referred immediately to the people, programs and services needed by both baby and family at the earliest stage of development. Early treatment can help prevent or eliminate health problems or developmental delays.

For More Information and Publications:

Hearing Screening Program

Blood Screening Program



Last Revised: July 08, 2014


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