As word of an Eyewitness News investigation spreads through Holliday Park, parents admit they are surprised.
“You’re kidding, right? I had no idea,” said Ramon Moore, playing catch with his 7-year-old son, Xavier.
“I didn’t know that at all,” agreed Holly Ruth, holding her 3-month old son, Lincoln.
“Nobody ever told me,” echoed Mallory Ervin, chasing her 4-year-old son, Theo, on the playground.
Xavier, Lincoln, Theo and millions of other Indiana children all have something in common: the state of Indiana is storing their blood and DNA in an undisclosed state warehouse.
“I’m curious why they didn’t share that,” said Ervin. “It now makes me think ‘what are they hiding?’ As a parent, I’d absolutely like to know.”
13 Investigates has discovered the Indiana State Department of Health is holding the blood samples of more than 2.25 million Hoosier children – without their parents’ permission. If your children were born in Indiana since 1991, chances are their blood and DNA is among the state’s massive collection.
Following WTHR’s investigation, state health officials are now seeking input on what to do with the blood samples after admitting they don’t have the consent needed to use them for anything.
How Indiana got your kids’ DNA
Indiana, like most other states, conducts a newborn screening test on every baby born within its borders. As required by state law, a nurse or midwife takes a few drops of blood from the heel of each newborn. (There is a limited exemption for families citing religious objections.)
The blood is collected on a special card and sent to the state’s Newborn Screening Lab in downtown Indianapolis. That’s where researchers quickly test the blood to look for more than 50 medical disorders that could be dangerous – and even deadly – if not detected early. Parents and physicians are notified of the results.