Parents Look For Help To Block Newborn Blood Sharing

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s Attorney General could get involved with the fight to protect the blood of newborns. For the last 14 years, the state’s Department of Health has stored the DNA of all babies born in Minnesota without permission from parents. A ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court last month will change that.

But it’s the more than one million samples already being stored that are still surrounded by questions.

As the father of four young kids, Matt Brzica will admit their births were a blur. But it’s what he discovered about their blood samples he’s been looking to clear up.

“It is our property; it’s not the governments,” Brzica said. “I think it was certainly an overreach by the government.”

The Brzicas are one of nine Minnesota families that sued the Department of Health for storing and possibly doing studies with their children’s samples without their permission.

“Right now we’ve stopped doing anything with those stored samples until we get some better direction or more complete direction from the district court,” said Department of Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger.

Newborn babies will still be screened for 53 diseases right after birth. Before, the Department of Health would store the samples once those are complete. Then some would be used to develop new tests and improve current ones.

Now, a Supreme Court ruling will keep that from happening right away.

“The other spots, unless we get informed consent to keep them, will have to be destroyed,” Ehlinger said.

The commissioner still isn’t able to say what it means for the future of the one million samples already on file.

The Farrish/Johnson Law Firm in Mankato took the case two years ago. It found that 13 other states have been storing baby DNA without consent. It’s why they believe what’s happening in Minnesota will have implications across the country.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime case for us because we have a chance to change public policy,” said attorney Scott Kelly.

While, the Health Department says privacy has always been important, attorneys argue there are dangers where these tests could lead without checks and balances. It’s why Brzica will be in the legal fight as long as it takes.

“As my wife likes to say ‘Just ask, just ask,'” said Brzica.

The attorneys from Mankato will meet with the Minnesota Attorney General on Tuesday looking for help in implementing the new changes at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Ehlinger said parents will soon start getting new brochures in the hospital explaining the changes. They will also have to sign a paper before any sample will be stored.

More from Liz Collin
  • Adam

    So the health department has a sample of my three childrens blood that they have used to develop more advanced medical testing procedures. Good. Hope they helped another child. So they kept the sample. Good. Doesn’t harm me or my children.

    • mom

      Adam I agree, what if these samples were used to learn about other diseases or to help prevent the death of another child. Imagine if everyone’s blood sample could be stored and used for research maybe we wouldn’t have as many cases of cancer and other diseases out there. As long as the government isn’t using it to clone my child or anything unusal who is it hurting. And fyi to the father in the article I can give you every detail of my children’s birth as can their father, their births were anything but a blur

    • Anita Moretesting

      Just wait until they uses those blood samples to screen your child’s DNA for potential future health care costs that the new free “obama care” will have to pay for.

      It could really save the members of the death panels some time when deciding if its in the state’s best interest to provide care for your child or tell them to “take a pain pill”. Just like dear leader said!!!

      Everything is better when the government does it – right?

  • J

    I agree. No harm has been done. This is going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

  • Robert

    The door has been opened for big brother and a “Brave New World”. For the posters who say “No Problem”, how would you like it if your son/daughter were denied medical coverage based on his/her genetic profile stored by the state? Would you like it if your so/daughter were denied employment because they have the possibility of a disease, say breast cancer or colon cancer based on their genome? How about future medical insurance that excludes disease base on their genome? Sates and the Federal Government can pass all the laws and regulations they want, but medical insurance companies and employers will always find a way to get access to personal information that will exclude potential high cost patients and employees.

  • Tom

    There are some very paranoid people commenting on this. I’m glad the Health Department has my son’s DNA. If a new test is created that could find a genetic disease that we don’t currently know about, his DNA can be checked. The people that are concerned are the same oddballs that support the spread of measles, polio and other life-threatening diseases because they oppose chiildren getting vaccinations. They want to take the “health” out of public heatlh. Sad.

  • Sandy

    I’m curious how Tom was able to make the connection between those individuals who do not think exactly like him with his conclusion, “The people that are concerned are the same oddballs that support the spread of measles, polio and other life threatening diseases because they oppose children getting vaccinations.” Do you have evidence to support this broad generalization? Please stop automatically demonizing those who think differently than you.

  • Jeannie Peters

    there is another side to this as well, they are making profits with our children’s blood and gathering information. they are using their anti-bodies to make more than just immunizations. they now have your child’s DNA on file too.

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