Fetal Disorders

About one in 33 babies in the U.S. is born with a birth defect, ranging from the mild to the severe. Our ability to detect fetal problems before birth has advanced rapidly over the last few decades. While most birth defects are best treated after the child is born, an increasing number of conditions can be treated before birth to prevent devastating consequences. Generally, these are simple anatomic problems that cause ongoing damage to the developing fetus.

Under the direction of Dr. Michael Harrison, UCSF was the first in the world to successfully perform open fetal surgery in 1981. Currently, we have more experience with fetal surgery and endoscopic fetal intervention — less invasive interventions that allow us to avoid making an incision in the uterus — than any other institution worldwide. Some of the conditions that may be considered for fetal treatment are listed below.