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Cystic Fibrosis: Screening

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review his Department's policy on testing for cystic fibrosis carrier status when screening newborn babies for cystic fibrosis. (204082)

On the recommendation of the United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC), a newborn cystic fibrosis screening programme was introduced in England in 2001 to identify babies with cystic fibrosis. The screening programme is not designed to test for cystic fibrosis carrier status. A small proportion of babies (about one in 100) are unavoidably identified during the testing as cystic fibrosis carriers. This can happen if a mutation analysis of a blood sample is required after the biochemical test. In such cases, in line with other newborn screening programmes, parents will be advised that their child is a carrier. The UK NSC keeps all its policy advice under review.