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Prenatal Diagnostic Center

The Prenatal Diagnostic Center at UCSF provides comprehensive counseling, screening and diagnostic testing for fetal defects. The decision to make use of these services in unique for each woman and her partner. We are committed to providing the information and support that patients need to make the choices that are right for them.

We are also committed to providing the highest quality care and service. We offer the most advanced technology and procedures, including NT (nuchal translucency) screening. Our practitioners have a wealth of expertise and experience, having performed more than 40,000 amniocentesis and 15,000 chorionic villus sampling (CVS) procedures over the past 35 years.

  • Hear an interview with Ellen Simpson, a genetic counselor at the UCSF Prenatal Diagnostic Center, who discusses the latest in screening, testing and counseling. Genetic testing can determine if patients are carriers of genetic conditions and if so, their chances of passing on the disease.

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In addition to providing the most advanced testing available today, the Prenatal Diagnostic Center is working to develop new and less invasive methods for the screening and diagnosis of genetic and chromosomal disorders. Research studies are available for women interested in participating.

The center has three satellite clinics in Northern California, in addition to our main San Francisco office.

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Please call the number below to make an appointment.

Getting Here

Prenatal Diagnostic Center
350 Parnassus Ave., Suite 810
San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone: (415) 476-4080
Fax: (415) 353-4077

Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Additional Locations
Greenbrae, CA
Monterey, CA
Santa Rosa, CA

What to Bring

    • Two forms of identification, including one photo ID
    • Insurance card
    • List of current medications

Access Your Health Information Online

This clinic uses UCSF MyChart, an online patient service. Message your provider, request medication refills, view some test results and more.

Learn more about UCSF MyChart

Our Services

Diagnostic Tests:

Screening Tests:

Genetic Carrier Screening:

Depending on your family history, ethnicity and heritage, your developing baby may be at risk for one of these other genetic conditions:

  • Canavan Disease — This condition is most common in people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, with a carrier incidence of 1 in 40. Canavan disease is a central nervous system disease that is usually fatal in childhood, with a few people surviving to adulthood. This disease is the result of a substance that destroys the central nervous system over time. There is presently no effective treatment for Canavan disease.
  • Sickle Cell Disease — This condition is most common in persons of African-American, African, Mediterranean, Hispanic and South American ancestry, with the carrier risk ranging from 1/10 to 1/40, depending on your ethnic background. Sickle cell disease is caused by a variant hemoglobin that changes the shape of the red blood cells. This causes anemia, severe pain, a tendency toward infection and other serious health problems. Frequent blood transfusions, infection-preventing antibiotics and bone marrow transplant are available treatments. UCSF doctors were the first to develop a prenatal test for sickle cell anemia.

  • Tay Sachs Disease — People of both Ashkenazi Jewish and French Canadian ancestry have the greatest chance of being carriers of Tay Sachs disease, about 1/30 versus 1/250 in the general population. The disease results from a build up of certain substances in the brain, and is fatal in early childhood. There is presently no effective treatment for Tay Sachs disease.

  • Thalassemia — Individuals of Mediterranean, Southeast Asian and African ancestry have the greatest chance — 1 in 3 and 1 in 30, respectively — of being carriers for thalassemia. In general, this group of blood disorders affects a person's ability to produce hemoglobins, the protein in our blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. In severe cases, children with thalassemia may not survive. Others have anemia, bone growth problems and liver and spleen involvement. Blood transfusions may be needed for treatment. UCSF doctors were the first to develop a prenatal test for thalassemia.

Some genetic disorders are more common in certain ethnic groups. People who carry genes for these disorders may not have symptoms. However, if both parents are carriers of the same abnormal gene, the chance of having an affected child is 1 in 4, or 25 percent, for each pregnancy. A special blood test, called a carrier test, may be able to tell if you carry such a trait.


Parking at Parnassus

Public parking for an hourly fee at UCSF Medical Center is available in the seven-level Millberry Union Garage at 500 Parnassus Ave. There are two garage entrances — one on the north side of Parnassus Avenue and another on Irving Street, just east of Third Avenue.

Another garage with an hourly fee, at 350 Parnassus Ave., is open Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Metered street parking is rarely available.

Patients being admitted to the hospital may be dropped off at the circular driveway leading to the main entrance at 505 Parnassus Ave. This area also may be used to pick up patients who are being discharged.

For more information about parking at Parnassus, call Campus Parking Services at 476-2566.

Valet Parking Service

Valet parking service is available at the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) at 400 Parnassus Ave. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The valet service is free but patients must pay regular parking fees. For more information about the valet service, call (415) 476-6200.

A UCSF "greeter" also is available at the ACC from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist patients find their way.

Public Transportation


UCSF Medical Center is accessible via Muni streetcar line N-Judah*, which stops at Second Avenue and Irving Street, and the following Muni bus lines, which stop in front of the hospital:

  • 43-Masonic*
  • 6-Parnassus

For more information about Muni visit,

* Wheelchair accessible bus routes

Related Information

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Clinics & Centers

Condition Information

Clinic Team

Erin  Ayash
Erin Ayash,
Genetic counselor
Y. Katherine Bianco
Dr. Y. Katherine Bianco,
perinatologist and geneticist
Kathryn Drexler
Kathryn Drexler,
genetic counselor
Juan M. Gonzalez-Velez
Lena Kim
Dr. Lena Kim,
Kati Malabed
Kati Malabed,
genetic counselor
Sherri Pena
Sherri Pena,
genetic counselor
Hazel Perry
Hazel Perry,
genetic counselor
Larry Rand
Dr. Larry Rand,
Sarah Russell
Sarah Russell,
genetic counselor
Kirsten Salmeen
Dr. Kirsten Salmeen,
Allyson Scott
Allyson Scott,
genetic counselor
Ellen Simpson
Ellen Simpson,
genetic counselor
Mari-Paule Thiet
Dr. Mari-Paule Thiet,
Juan Vargas
Dr. Juan Vargas,
Marya Zlatnik
Dr. Marya Zlatnik,