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Fetal Treatment Center

Our Fetal Treatment Center is a world leader in diagnosing and addressing birth defects before delivery. We provide care for the full range of fetal defects as well as genetic diseases that can be treated with stem cells, and we’re one of the few centers in the nation with the expertise to handle the most rare and complex cases.

Should your baby need surgery before birth, you’re in good hands. Our center has the most experience with fetal surgery of any institution worldwide, including with less invasive approaches called fetal endoscopic surgery (Fetendo) and image-guided surgery. Many of the fetal surgical techniques now widely practiced were pioneered at UCSF.

A team approach is central to our care. As a patient, your treatment recommendations will be based on input from nearly 50 types of specialists, including fetal and pediatric surgeons, radiologists, perinatologists, neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists, pediatric urologists, geneticists, anesthesiologists, pediatric neurologists, pediatric neurosurgeons, nurses and social workers. By working together, we ensure that our patients receive the highest level of comprehensive care.

Why choose UCSF

Patients experiencing a complicated pregnancy will find that care at UCSF has a number of advantages, such as:

  • We’re the only California hospital with a specialized clinic dedicated to long-term follow-up care for children with complex birth defects.
  • We’re one of the only hospitals in the nation to offer whole genome sequencing, a leading-edge genetic test for unexplained fetal complications.
  • Our nurse concierges seamlessly coordinate care, bringing new patients in the door within one day and providing support throughout the process of prenatal diagnosis, delivery and follow-up.
  • In San Francisco, a delivery center adjacent to the intensive care nursery means that parents and babies can remain together during treatment.
  • We have dedicated centers of excellence for addressing neurological problems and heart problems.

Our locations (2)

    Special programs

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    Early Anatomy Evaluation Program

    UCSF offers advanced prenatal imaging to evaluate fetal development and identify abnormalities early in pregnancy.

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    Fetal Neurology Center of Excellence

    Fetal Neurology Center of Excellence

    Our specialists, leaders in the new field of fetal neurology, can provide prenatal diagnoses of birth defects that may affect the baby’s nervous system.

    Fetal Neurology Center of Excellence
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    Hydrops Center of Excellence

    We provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment services when a fetus is threatened by hydrops fetalis, a dangerous buildup of fluid in the body.

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    Neonatal Cardiovascular Center of Excellence

    We care for premature and critically ill newborns with complex heart conditions.

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    Whole Genome Sequencing Program

    Raid whole genome sequencing can quickly detect almost any genetic issue in a fetus or baby. It’s the most comprehensive genetic test available.

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    Our team

    View providers by category
    • Main staff (30)
    • Consulting staff (47)

    Meet our providers

    Hear from our providers about how they center the needs of patients and families in their work.

    Our awesome doctors, nurses and other experts love working with kids and families.

    Dr. Hanmin Lee, surgeon-in-chief

    Janice Scudmore, nurse practitioner

    Dr. Vickie Feldstein, radiologist

    Dr. Tippi MacKenzie, pediatric surgeon

    Dr. Elizabeth Rogers, neonatologist

    Dr. Luke Judge, neonatologist

    Dr. Mary Norton, perinatologist and clinical geneticist

    Patient stories

    Healing a body, even before birth

    When a routine ultrasound led to a frightening diagnosis, the Alcorn family sought help from UCSF specialists, who worked together to treat the baby's pleural effusion – and his mother's surprise cancer diagnosis.

    Birth of a procedure

    The fetal surgery pioneered by Dr. Harrison at UCSF allows babies like Miles – born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia – to grow into energetic toddlers.

    Fetal therapy for lysosomal storage diseases

    An experimental enzyme treatment, delivered in utero, offers new hope to patients with rare and often fatal genetic disorders. (Image courtesy of André Coutu/Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario)

    Life-changing fetal therapy for thalassemia

    Thalassemia major was once considered universally fatal, but a new in utero treatment offered at UCSF allows children with the inherited blood disease to survive and thrive.

    Awards & recognition

    • Top 10 in the nation for neonatology

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    • successful open fetal surgery in the world

    • in number of fetal surgery clinical trials

    • families treated from all 50 states and dozens of countries

    • fetal treatment center in the nation

    Cutting-edge research

    Our experts have led or participated in every fetal treatment study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. This pioneering research includes clinical trials of promising new therapies and supports the advanced care we provide.

    Center for Maternal-Fetal Precision Medicine
    Clinical Trial: In Utero Enzyme Replacement Therapy
    Clinical Trial: Alpha Thalassemia
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    Renal Anhydramnios Fetal Therapy

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    In Utero Enzyme Replacement Therapy (IUERT) for Fetuses with Lysosomal Storage Diseases (LSDs)

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    Surveillance and Treatment to Prevent Fetal Atrioventricular Block Likely to Occur Quickly (STOP BLOQ)

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    Our research initiatives

    • ucsf-fetal-treatment-center-research-2x

      UCSF Fetal Treatment Center Research

    • Center for Maternal-Fetal Precision Medicine

    • ucsf-division-of-pediatric-surgery-research-2x

      UCSF Division of Pediatric Surgery Research

    Michael R. Harrison, M.D.

    In 1981, Dr. Michael Harrison performed the first successful open surgery on a child still in the womb to correct a life-threatening birth defect, making UCSF the birthplace of fetal surgery. He co-founded and is director emeritus of UCSF's Fetal Treatment Center, a world leader in treating complex birth defects before and after birth.

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your pregnancy
    • List of your medications, including dosages, plus any you're allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    Related clinics (5)

    fetal-cardiovascular-program-320x320-2x 14

    Fetal Cardiovascular Program

    Fetal Cardiovascular Program

    San Francisco / Oakland / Berkeley / Brentwood / Fairfield / Fremont / G...

    cardiothoracic-surgery-program-320x320-2x 3

    Cardiothoracic Surgery Program

    Cardiothoracic Surgery Program

    San Francisco / Oakland

    limb-lengthening-and-reconstruction-center-320x320-2x 6

    General Surgery Clinic

    General Surgery Clinic

    San Francisco / Oakland / Brentwood / Fremont / San Ramon / Walnut Creek


    LIFE Clinic

    LIFE Clinic

    1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94158

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    Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

    Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

    San Francisco / Oakland

    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.


    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.


    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.


    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


    School Re-Entry Program

    We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.

    Saving future lives

    500+ UCSF investigators are researching cures for hundreds of childhood and adult diseases.