September 25, 2013
On July 1, 2012, Virginia put in place a new law that requires hospitals to ask new parents if they wants to have a blood sample of their newborn child for their personal records. The parents are able to decline but each family has to be asked.
It works by taking a blood sample from either the umbilical cord or, later, during a routine infant blood screening. Once the sample has been sealed, it's given to the parents for them to keep in a safe place.
The point of the law is to have more than just a foot print of your baby in case of an emergency. Law enforcement officers are able to use the blood sample for DNA in case of an accident, disaster, or abduction.
Many parents at Martha Jefferson Hospital are taking advantage of the law even though it's not required.
Mary Ann Lucia, Nurse Manager of Obstetrics at Martha Jefferson Hospital said, "It doesn't hurt the baby to collect this. It's part of the regular procedures that we do and they feel a little bit more comfort that they have access of their babies DNA. They can save that for future use is necessary."
Right now, Virginia and Florida are the only states that require hospitals to offer this service. Lucia said that down the road she sees more and more states implementing the law.