Does this test have other names?
What is this test?
The TORCH panel test is used to help diagnose infections that could harm the fetus
during pregnancy. TORCH is an acronym of the 5 infections covered in the screening:
Toxoplasmosis. This infection is caused by a parasite commonly picked up from cat stools. Babies
can get congenital toxoplasmosis. If untreated, it can cause blindness, deafness,
seizures, and intellectual disability.
Other, including syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that a mother can pass on to a fetus
during pregnancy. Syphilis can cause a baby to be stillborn, and can also cause premature
labor, birth defects, low birth weight, and deafness.
Rubella. Rubella, also called German measles, is a viral infection that can easily be passed
from person to person through sneezing or coughing. Rubella is less common today because
a vaccine protects against it. But pregnant women with rubella can pass the virus
to a fetus, which may be a serious condition. Rubella can cause miscarriage, premature
birth, or stillbirth, as well as problems with the heart, vision, hearing, and growth
of the fetus.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is a type of herpesvirus and is the most common congenital infection in babies.
Congenital means present at birth. Mothers can get CMV by sexual contact or contact
with bodily fluids like saliva from a person who has CMV. CMV can cause long-term
problems in infants, including problems with vision, hearing, and mental development.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV). Pregnant women can get the genital herpes simplex virus through sexual contact with
an infected person and can pass the infection along to the developing fetus during
delivery. HSV in babies can cause low birth weight, miscarriage, and preterm birth.
It can also cause sores that affect the skin, eyes, and mouth, and brain and organ
These infections can cause serious problems during pregnancy, so it's important to
find them early in pregnancy so that they can be treated, if treatment is possible.
Women often get the TORCH screening test at their first prenatal visit. Your healthcare
provider will tell you if he or she recommends the TORCH screening.
Why do I need this test?
You may need this test if you are pregnant. This test may also be done on newborn
babies to diagnose any possible infections.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
You may have other prenatal screening tests done at the same time, including:
What do my test results mean?
A result for a lab test may be affected by many things, including the method the laboratory
uses to do the test. If your test results are different from the normal value, you
may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare
The TORCH panel test results show whether you have any of these infections. Normal
test results will show that you do not have any of the viruses, bacteria, or parasites
screened for in the test. Positive test results will show that you have one or more
of these viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
How is this test done?
The TORCH panel requires a blood sample. You may have your finger pricked by a needle
and a few drops of blood squeezed out for the sample. Or you may need to have a tube
or vial of blood filled from a needle put into a vein in your arm.
Does this test pose any risks?
Taking a blood sample with a needle carries small risks that include bleeding, infection,
bruising, and a sense of lightheadedness. When the needle pricks your arm, you may
feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward the site may be sore. You may have pain or
discomfort from the finger prick of the needle.
What might affect my test results?
Nothing is likely to affect the results of this test. Your healthcare provider will
tell you if any of your medicines may affect the test and if you should avoid them
before having the test.
How do I get ready for this test?
You probably don't need to do anything special to prepare for the test. Your healthcare
provider will tell you if you need to avoid medicines, eating, or drinking the day
of the test. Be sure to tell your provider about any over-the-counter or prescription
medicines, herbs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking.