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Blood and Urine Newborn Screening

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Blood and Urine Newborn Screening

Process and results

Participation in screening

While voluntary, screening is recommended.

If you have questions about the diseases detected by screening or about screening in general, or if you are hesitant to have the tests done on your baby, you should discuss the advantages and disadvantages with a health professional during your pregnancy or just before specimens are taken.


Screening tests use two different specimens.

Blood screening

Blood screening occurs at the hospital or birthing centre, where a few drops of blood are taken from the baby’s heel between 24 and 48 hours from birth.

Urine screening

Urine screening occurs at home on the 21st day after the child is born. You will need to take a small quantity of urine from the baby’s diaper, using a kit supplied by the hospital staff or a midwife.


  1. If possible, take the urine sample in the morning.
  2. To avoid affecting the results of the test, do not use commercial towelettes to wash your baby’s bottom nor apply cream, oil or powder on the area before taking the specimen.
  3. Place the absorbent pad in the diaper with the plastic film facing the diaper surface.
  4. Watch your child and remove the pad immediately after urination occurs to avoid contamination by feces.
  5. If the absorbent pad becomes contaminated by feces, repeat the procedure using the second absorbent pad.
  6. Remove the blotting paper from the yellow form. Place the urine-filled pad on the blotting paper and press firmly so that both sides are soaked.
  7. Leave the blotting paper to dry on a clean, dry countertop.
  8. Fill out the yellow form. Include your baby’s approximate weight and indicate whether he or she is breast-fed or fed with commercial infant formula. This information will help in interpreting the results. Confirm your address and telephone number.
  9. When the blotting paper is dry, place it inside the reply envelope along with the yellow form.
  10. Stamp and mail the envelope.

Test results

You will not be contacted if the test results are normal, so there is no need to worry. As the saying goes, “No news is good news.”

If the test results are abnormal, you will be contacted by telephone within three weeks of the sample date. If this happens, you will be immediately directed to one of the Québec specialized diagnostic centers, where further tests will be made. If the diagnosis is confirmed, a team of specialists will provide appropriate treatment and medical follow-up to ensure your child receives the care he or she needs.

Screening for sickle cell anemia as of November 2013

Babies born in hospitals and birthing centres since November 2013 in the Montréal and Laval regions only can be screened for sickle cell anemia and other serious blood diseases. Screening for these diseases will be progressively available in the other regions of Québec.

In addition to screening for this disease, the test used detects carriers of the sickle cell anemia gene. This result is only provided on request, so you will not be automatically contacted if your child is found to be a carrier. To learn more, visit: Results of sickle cell anemia gene carrier status screening.


If your child is diagnosed with one of the screened diseases, you will need to keep the medical treatment and follow-up appointments. For most of these diseases, treatment will continue throughout life.

It is important that treatment for the detected diseases start prior the appearance of symptoms. Waiting until the signs and symptoms appear could have significant consequences for the health of your child.

Even if early treatment does not cure the disease, it has important benefits for the health of children and will improve the child’s quality of life in the long run. In most cases, early pre-symptom treatment will enable the child to develop normally.

Retention of samples and privacy protection

Personal information about parents and children such as name, date and place of birth gathered during the screening process as well as test results, are retained on a confidential basis.

Normal blood samples are destroyed after two years, and normal urine samples, after five years. All abnormal samples are retained for a longer period of time.

All data is stored in a confidential manner. They can only be used for new testing for the child’s benefit and for evaluation or quality control purposes.

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