Retention of Residual Dried Blood Spots

The retention of residual dried blood spots on newborn screening filter papers has recently emerged as a national issue stimulating an active debate from both parent groups and health professionals. Some states have utilized residual blood spots for purposes other than newborn screening activities, which has resulted in a variety of concerns from parents and parent advocacy groups. Similar concerns have been raised in Virginia by several parents. Each parent was provided with information specific to Virginia’s sample retention and destruction policy.

  • Virginia does not utilize retained blood spot samples for any purpose other than those for which it was originally intended; nor does Virginia retain blood spot samples indefinitely.
  • The residual blood spots for infants with normal screen results are retained for 6 months.
  • Samples that tested with abnormal results are retained for 10 years.
  • The primary reason for the expanded retention timeframe is that on occasion the sample may be retested to verify or disprove the original results.
  • All samples are held in a secure location, with access restricted to only authorized personnel until their destruction date.
  • Samples are destroyed by microwave/incineration.

By policy of the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, the testing laboratory, residual blood spot samples cannot be utilized for any purpose other than newborn screening. The samples are never released without notarized, written parental consent. They are never released for or utilized for research purposes, or for inclusion in other databases.