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Fetal Treatment Center

The UCSF Fetal Treatment Center is a world leader in diagnosing and treating birth defects before delivery. We performed the first successful open fetal surgery in 1981 and have more experience than any institution worldwide with both open and minimally invasive fetal surgery.

Our multidisciplinary approach – which includes fetal and pediatric surgeons, radiologists, perinatologists, neonatologists, cardiologists, urologists, geneticists, anesthesiologists, pediatric neurologists, pediatric neurosurgeons, nurses and social workers – ensures that our patients receive comprehensive care. We are also the only California hospital with a specialized clinic dedicated to long-term follow-up care for children with complex birth defects, and one of the few in the nation to offer fetal exome sequencing – a cutting-edge genetic test for women with complicated pregnancies.

We treat the full range of fetal defects, including congenital diaphragmatic hernia, congenital heart disease, twin pregnancy complications such as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, spina bifida and genetic diseases that can be treated with stem cells. We pioneered many of the fetal surgeries now in practice and are experts in open fetal surgery as well as less invasive methods, such as fetal endoscopic surgery (Fetendo) and image-guided fetal surgery.

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 Exome Sequencing Program

    UCSF is one of the few hospitals in the nation to offer fetal exome sequencing – a cutting-edge genetic test for women with complicated pregnancies.

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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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    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)

    Our calling

    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

    Patient stories

    Healing a body, even before birth

    When a routine ultrasound led to a frightening diagnosis, the Alcorn family sought help at UCSF.

    Birth of a procedure

    Experts at the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center pioneered a lifesaving surgical approach.

    Fetal therapy for genetic diseases

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

    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

    Cutting-edge research

    Our experts conduct pioneering research in maternal-fetal medicine, including clinical trials of promising new treatments, that supports the advanced care we provide to patients.

    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

    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

    PV Loop and Pulmonary Hypertension

    Yes/No result: Can echocardiographic measurements allow non-invasive identification of VA uncoupling (defined as Ees/Ea <0.805). Three ratios: tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion to the pulmonary artery acceleration time, r...


    Decorative Caduceus

    Brain Development Research Program


    Decorative Caduceus

    Fetal Cerebrovascular Autoregulation in Congenital Heart Disease and Association With Neonatal ...

    The NeoNatal Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS-II) examines the neurobehavioral organization, neurological reflexes, motor development - active and passive tone, and signs of stress and withdrawal of the at-risk and drug-exposed infant


    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