Screening is required by State law:
The Idaho Legislature has instructed the Department of Health and Welfare to require that all babies born in Idaho receive two screening tests for Phenylketonuria (PKU) and other disorders that can result in mental retardation or other serious health problems. This procedure is called the “newborn screen,” or the “newborn blood spot screen.” This test should not be called “The PKU” or the “The PKU Test,” as Idaho now screens for 47 conditions. To learn more about the conditions tested for in Idaho, see the Idaho Practitioner's Manual.
The first sample for testing must be collected before discharge from the hospital or birthing facility, ideally at 24 to 48 hours, although a sample collected before or after that is better than no test at all. A tiny sample of blood is obtained by pricking the baby’s heel. The sample is then placed on a special absorbent paper which is sent to the laboratory. For infants born “out of hospital,” the person responsible for registering the birth of the child is also responsible for assuring that a proper specimen is collected and submitted. Parents or guardians will be given a filter paper test kit for the second specimen when leaving the hospital or birthing facility. Your doctor’s office or some hospitals or their laboratories will collect the specimen on the kit at 10 to 14 days of age and send it to the Oregon Public Health Laboratory.