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Dried Blood Spot Screening

What to expect

  • A small sample of blood, called a dried blood spot (DBS), is taken from the baby’s heel and spotted onto a special newborn screening card. The optimal time for screening is between 24 to 48 hours after birth.
  • Parents/guardians are given a “Parent Information Letter” with more information and a form number that links to the baby’s sample.
  • Newborn screening samples are sent to Newborn Screening Ontario from across the province by courier where they are screened for several rare, treatable diseases.
  • Results are sent to the healthcare provider at the birth hospital or midwifery practice group who ordered the test. Primary care providers can access results securely online.
  • DBS samples are stored in a secure facility as part of the baby’s medical record.

Key facts

  • Newborn screening is not mandatory but is considered standard of care and strongly recommended for all babies.
  • Newborn screening can only tell whether a baby is at high risk or low risk of having one of the diseases screened; diagnostic testing is needed to know for sure. 

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