In Israel there is a national program to screen newborns including tests for serious diseases that can flareup in the first weeks of life. For the diseases being tested, early diagnosis enables effective preventive treatment or treatment that can significantly improve the quality and longevity of life for the infant with the disease. For a list of diseases that are screened for see the Ministry of Health website.
Who is Eligible?
- All newborns.
How to Claim It?
- The doctor responsible for the woman's pregnancy will explain the screening tests and their significance to the woman.
For a birth that takes place in the hospital
- When a birth takes place in the hospital, the hospital is responsible for performing the tests.
- Parental consent is required before testing.
- Parents who refuse the test will receive an explanation on the significance of the refusal and must sign a refusal to perform newborn screening form.
For a birth that does not take place in the hospital and the mother and baby are not hospitalized soon after birth
- For a birth that doesn't take place in a hospital, the parents are responsible for making sure the tests are performed.
- The test can be performed in the maternity ward of the hospital, in the Family Health Centers (Tipat Halav) or by a doctor/maternity nurse at home.
- The Family Health Centers (Tipat Halav) will perform the test for babies up to age 4 months but it is advised to have the tests done before that because some of the diseases may show up already in the newborn's first few days of life.
How are the tests performed?
- The test is performed within 36-72 hours (1.5-3 days) from when the baby is born (and no later than 4 months from birth).
- 4 drops of blood are taken from the newborn's heel and sent to the lab to be tested.
- After 10 days from when the baby was born, the results can be found on the newborn screening test results website.
- A second test is performed if there are one of the following conditions:
- If the baby is hospitalized for more than 7 days after birth. In this case the second test is performed between days 7-10. If the baby is hospitalized for more than a month after birth then a third test is performed.
- If the baby is fasting from birth then a second test should be done 2 days after the fast is over.
- If for any reason the first test was done earlier than 36 hours from birth.
- If the lab needs another test for technical reasons or if the results are borderline.
- If the results are abnormal a certified party (doctor, clinical geneticist, genetics adviser or nurse) will inform the parents and the hospital.
- The parents will be referred to the appropriate place for treatment according to the test results and their wishes.
- Continued treatment will be in the Kupat Cholim in which the baby is insured.
Laws and Regulations
- The National Health Insurance Law
- Medical Director's Circular no. 2/2018 from 13.02.2018 - screening tests for newborns for early detection of diseases
- For more information see FAQs regarding newborn screening tests on the Ministry of Health website
English translation and maintenance by The Shira Pransky Project.