What is a newborn screening test?

What is a newborn screening test?

For more than 50 years Mater Pathology has been conducting and analysing heel prick tests in Mater Mothers.

In Australia, all babies are given the Newborn Screening Test, a simple blood test to search for rare but important medical disorders that can affect normal development. Early diagnosis means that treatment can be started immediately and serious intellectual and/or physical disability prevented.

A heel prick is the chosen method of safely collecting blood from newborn babies to minimise the amount of blood taken from the baby.

Parents are asked to provide your consent and sign the Queensland Newborn Screening Program collection card before the blood sample is collected from your baby. If you choose not to have your baby screened, the screening card details will be completed, the card marked ‘declined’ and sent to the laboratory.

All the results are usually completed within six weeks – you will only be contacted if your baby’s test results come back with an abnormal result and provided with instructions about what to do next.

Director of Mater Pathology Cameron Snell said the heel prick test is a simple and effective way of identifying illnesses which may affect their baby early in life.

“Unfortunately there are no alternative ways to identify babies with these conditions,” Cameron said.

“By doing a simple test within a few days of birth, parents will have peace of mind knowing their baby has been screened for 26 different health problems.

“Mater Pathology also supports mothers for no out-of-pocket costs inpatient testing covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule, bulk billing of all routine antenatal testing and a free home collection service for all maternity patients,” he said.

All Mater Pathology profits are reinvested back into patient care, research and education. Find your local Mater Pathology collection centre.

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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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