Parents' views on accepting, declining, and expanding newborn bloodspot screening

Sylvia M. van der Pal*, Sophie Wins, Jasmijn E. Klapwijk, Tessa van Dijk, Adriana Kater-Kuipers, Catharina P. B. van der Ploeg, Suze M. P. J. Jans, Stephan Kemp, Rendelien K. Verschoof-Puite, Lion J. M. van den Bosch, Lidewij Henneman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction The goal of newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) is the early detection of treatable disorders in newborns to offer early intervention. Worldwide, the number of conditions screened for is expanding, which might affect public acceptance. In the Netherlands, participation is high (>99%), but little is known about how parents perceive NBS. This study assessed parents' views on accepting, declining and expanding NBS. Methods A total of 804 of 6051 (13%) invited parents who participated in NBS in the Netherlands during the last two weeks of December 2019, and 48 of 1162 (4%) invited parents who declined participation in NBS in 2019 and 2020, completed a questionnaire. Results The most important reason for parents to participate in NBS was to prevent health complaints, whereas the most important reason to decline NBS was parents' viewpoint on life and the belief that the heel prick would be painful for the child. Compared to NBS participants, respondents who declined NBS were more actively religious, considered alternative medicine or lifestyle more important, were less inclined to vaccinate their child for infectious diseases, and reported more doubt about NBS participation (all differences p < .001). Informed choice was lower among respondents who declined NBS (44%) compared to participants in NBS (83%, p < .001), mostly due to insufficient knowledge. Of the NBS participants, 95% were positive about NBS expansion. Most NBS participants agreed to include conditions that could unintentionally reveal a diagnosis in the mother instead of the child (86%) or a condition that may not cause symptoms until later in the child's life (84%). Conclusion Most participants made an informed decision to participate in NBS and are positive about screening for more conditions. Insights into parents' views on (non-)participation and expansion of NBS can help to ensure that NBS suits the population needs while safeguarding ethical principles for screening.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0272585
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8 August
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

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