About Early Check

What is Early Check?

We aim to create a research program focused on rare but serious health conditions. Program planning is now underway as we build partnerships with scientists, patient advocacy groups, and the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. Early Check is not yet available, but we plan to start in North Carolina in summer 2018. If we succeed, Early Check will be an important resource for researchers to learn more about these conditions and improve the lives of those affected by them.

Learn more about the conditions we plan to include and how we selected them.

Learn more about when and where Early Check will be available.

What is newborn screening?

Babies born in the United States are tested at birth for more than 30 rare but serious health conditions. This public health service is called newborn screening.

Newborn screening is done soon after birth because babies with these conditions benefit from starting treatment before symptoms appear. It uses a blood sample taken by pricking the baby's heel with a small needle. This blood sample is saved on a special card and sent to a lab for testing. Although most of the conditions are very rare, all babies are tested because it is difficult for doctors to know which babies have these conditions without screening everyone.

Learn more about newborn screening.

How is Early Check related to newborn screening?

Early Check will be a research program offered in addition to regular newborn screening. It will give parents the choice of screening their babies for a carefully selected panel of additional conditions using the same blood sample taken for newborn screening.

The health conditions screened for in Early Check will have some treatments or support services available, but many need more testing for health care professionals to know how well they work. The conditions tested for with regular newborn screening have proven treatments that can dramatically improve the child's health.

The following table highlights the main differences between Early Check and regular newborn screening:

  Regular newborn screening Early Check
Screening typically done without parents having to give permission Yes No
New treatments or support services that are ready for testing No Yes
Type of program Public Health Practice Research Program

Learn more about Early Check.