Bill to Ban Unauthorized Use of Infant DNA Clears Senate Committee

OKLAHOMA – The Senate Judiciary Committee has given its approval to a bill that would prohibit any medical facility from storing or using infant for research without the parents’ permission. Sen. Jonathan Nichols is the author of Senate Bill 1250 which was approved unanimously by the committee on Tuesday.

“When a child is born, the hospital takes a small blood sample to screen for certain diseases, and that’s a practice that is obviously beneficial to the infant. The problem we’ve seen in other states is that some medical facilities have been keeping those samples and using them for unauthorized research,” explained Nichols, R-Norman. “We don’t want that to happen in Oklahoma.”

The unauthorized collection of samples has sparked lawsuits in other states, including Texas. The Texas Department of Health Services and Texas A&M were sued by parents for storing and doing research on infant collected during these blood screenings. A settlement in that case requires the destruction of 4.5 million samples that were stored without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

“There are serious privacy and ethics concerns that have been breached around the country with the unauthorized databasing of infant ,” Nichols said. “My initial inquiries indicate this has not occurred in Oklahoma, but requiring consent by law will help ensure that it never does.”

SB 1250 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Updated 02-10-2010

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