Storing babies' blood samples pits privacy versus science


By: Associated Press

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana lawsuit that seeks the destruction of up to 2.5 million blood samples taken from newborns for disease-screening is the latest legal battle over what becomes of that blood once it’s tested.

Newborn blood screening is mandatory in all 50 states to test for serious inherited diseases. The Association of Public Health Laboratories says it saves or improves the lives of about 12,000 newborns annually.

But what happens to the blood after the testing is completed worries some privacy advocates. Their fears include insurance companies accessing that blood and charging higher premiums for people with genetic predispositions to certain diseases.

Minnesota and Texas have destroyed some 6.4 million samples following lawsuits. The Indiana suit seeks the same for the samples stored in 600 boxes at a state warehouse.