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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 conditions.

Our locations

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    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

    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.

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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 provide 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 (48)

    Meet our providers

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

    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

    Explore what we do

    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

    • usnews-neurology

      Among the top hospitals in the nation

    • Top 10 in the nation for neonatology (UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals)

    • n1-2x

      in number of fetal surgery clinical trials

    • 1st-2x

      successful open fetal surgery in the world

    • families treated from all 50 states and dozens of countries

    • 1st-2x

      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
    Decorative Caduceus

    Registry of Patients Diagnosed With Lysosomal Storage Diseases

    Prenatal presentation of symptoms (e.g. hydrops) appearing on fetal imaging such as ultrasound and ECHO.


    Decorative Caduceus

    International Registry of Patients With Alpha Thalassemia

    Number of fetuses diagnosed with alpha thalassemia who survive to birth, compared to number of fetuses diagnosed with alpha thalassemia who have fetal demise or are terminated in utero. This is measured in number of fetuses alive ...


    Decorative Caduceus

    In Utero Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Lysosomal Storage Diseases

    Adverse and serious adverse events including, but not limited to, death within 24 hours after the procedure, stillbirth, death prior to initial hospital discharge,increased response with antibody development above that expected wi...


    Decorative Caduceus

    A Single-Stage, Adaptive, Open-label, Dose Escalation Safety and Efficacy Study of AADC Deficie...

    Assessment of adverse events related to surgery (including intracerebral hemorrhage or stroke, CNS infection) and gene transfer (including severity of post-operative dyskinesia)


    Decorative Caduceus

    Genomic Sequencing in Anatomically Normal Fetuses

    Proportion of positive genetic diagnosis among all pregnancies with anatomically normal fetuses


    Decorative Caduceus

    Pilot Trial of Fetoscopic Endoluminal Tracheal Occlusion (FETO) in Severe Left Congenital Diaph...

    Number of effective placements of balloon to occlude trachea via fetoscopy by performing Fetoscopic Endoluminal Tracheal Occlusion (FETO) in fetuses with severe left congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), as defined by lung to hea...


    Decorative Caduceus

    Surveillance and Treatment to Prevent Fetal Atrioventricular Block Likely to Occur Quickly (STO...

    The presence of NR (normal rhythm) will be determined by electrocardiogram (ECG)


    Decorative Caduceus

    Pediatric Cervical Spine Clearance: A Multicenter Prospective Observational Study

    The sensitivity, specificity, negative and positive predictive values of CT, XR, and MRI for clinically significant injury will be calculated.


    Decorative Caduceus

    Brain Development Research Program


    Decorative Caduceus

    A Trial of Pessary and Progesterone for Preterm Prevention in Twin Gestation With a Short Cervi...

    Preterm delivery or fetal loss prior to 35 weeks gestation


    Our research initiatives

    • UCSF-Fetal-Treatment-Center-Research-2x

      UCSF Fetal Treatment Center Research

      Since its founding, the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center has been on the forefront of fetal therapy research. Together, researchers and doctors from many disciplines work to improve options for the smallest patients.

    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.

    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 condition
    • List of your medications, including dosages, plus any you're allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    International Services

    If you live outside the United States and are coming to UCSF for medical treatment, our patient liaisons can help coordinate all aspects of your visit.

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    Interpreting Services

    UCSF offers interpreters in various languages, including American Sign Language (ASL), as well as services for deaf, hard-of-hearing and visually impaired patients.

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    Hospital Stays

    Make your hospital stay as smooth and comfortable as possible by finding out how to prepare and what to expect.

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    Your Doctor Visit

    See our top 10 tips for making your UCSF doctor’s appointment as stress-free and productive as possible.

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    Support services

    Patient Resource

    Case Management & Social Work

    Connect with a team that can help you find resources, solve problems and advocate for you during treatment at UCSF.


    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class

    This eight-week class teaches mindfulness practices that can reduce stress and improve your overall health, such as meditation and body awareness.

    Patient Resource

    Patient Relations

    We welcome feedback about your experience at UCSF Health. Find out how to contact us with comments, questions or concerns.

    Patient Resource

    Spiritual Care Services

    Chaplains representing many faiths are available around the clock to provide support, comfort and counsel to patients, families and caregivers.

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    (888) 689-8273