Parental permission for pilot newborn screening research: guidelines from the NBSTRN

Pediatrics. 2014 Feb;133(2):e410-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2271. Epub 2014 Jan 6.


There is broad recognition of the need for population-based research to assess the safety and efficacy of newborn screening (NBS) for conditions that are not on current panels. However, prospective population-based research poses significant ethical, regulatory, and logistical challenges. In the context of NBS, there have been a variety of approaches that address parental decision-making in pilot studies of new screening tests or conditions. This article presents an ethical and legal analysis of the role of parental permission by the Bioethics and Legal Work Group of the Newborn Screening Translational Research Network created under a contract from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Circumstances are outlined in which a waiver of documentation of permission or a waiver of permission may be ethically and legally appropriate in the NBS context. These guidelines do not constitute American Academy of Pediatrics policy.

Keywords: informed consent; newborn screening; parental permission; research; research ethics.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening / ethics*
  • Neonatal Screening / standards*
  • Parents*
  • Pilot Projects*
  • Third-Party Consent / ethics*