The moment you learn a baby is on the way, you want the very best for your child. Here at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, you’ll find an unmatched level of care for babies with prenatally diagnosed birth defects. Every day we’re searching for new ways to treat these life-threatening conditions, offering hope for a better future for all children with birth defects.
Experience and expertise
The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment’s multidisciplinary team has been together since 1995 and has experience treating some of the most complex fetal anomalies in the world, many so rare that a physician may encounter only one or two cases in a career. Center leaders were among the founders of modern fetal medicine and worked alongside other leading surgeons and researchers in experimental laboratories to develop the techniques that are used clinically today.
Our board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialists, pediatric and fetal surgeons, physicians, and clinicians are pioneers in the field of fetal medicine. Our pediatric and fetal surgeons are recognized worldwide for their skill and excellent outcomes.
Through innovation and research, we are refining and advancing the techniques used to treat fetal conditions before and after birth, changing the course of treatment for many children with birth defects.
As one of the most active maternal-fetal centers in the nation, the expertise and experience of our Center staff is evident in our numbers and research:
- We have a high volume of patients. Since 1995, we've cared for more than 22,775 expectant parents from all 50 states and 70 countries.
- Our team has performed more than 1,691 fetal surgeries, more than any other program.
- More than 750 combined years of research have been accumulated by Center staff.
- More than 500 articles about our basic and clinical research and fetal therapy discoveries have been written by our staff and published in medical journals.
- Our Center co-led the groundbreaking Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS), an NIH-funded clinical trial that proved that fetal repair of myelomeningocele (the most serious form of spina bifida) can produce better outcomes than repair after birth. Fetal surgery for spina bifida is now a standard of care at our Center.
- Researchers at the Center are actively pursuing stem cell and gene therapies as new options to treat specific birth defects and congenital conditions before birth.
Because of the depth and breadth of our experience, we are uniquely qualified to help you get the answers you need to make the best decisions for your family.
Conditions We Treat at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment
Total cases: 22,775
Complicated Multiples: 3,336
Neurologic Abnormality: 2,855
Congenital Heart Disease: 2,561
Myelomeningocele (Spina Bifida): 2,379
Genitourinary Defects: 2,225
Gastrointestinal Anomalies: 1,775
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia:
Sacrococcygeal Teratoma: 334
Types of birth defects, by percentage and number, referred to the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment (CFDT) at CHOP (1995 - July 2018). Congenital heart disease is evaluated by the Fetal Heart Program, in collaboration with the CFDT.
Coordinated care in one location
One of the only maternal-fetal centers located within a pediatric hospital in the U.S., we offer comprehensive, family-centered care in one location, from diagnosis, prenatal management and birth in a special delivery unit for mothers carrying babies with known birth defects, through postnatal care and long-term follow-up.
Choosing a Treatment Center
As part of one of the top-ranked and largest children's hospital in the U.S., our Center offers direct access to highly-qualified pediatric experts across every specialty that your child might need after birth.
Here is what you can expect from us:
- A full range of the most advanced fetal diagnosis testing available. Our patients have access to the most advanced diagnostic equipment and an experienced team that is specially trained to identify and diagnose rare fetal anomalies. Learn about our fetal imaging capabilities.
- The world’s first birthing unit dedicated to mothers of babies with known birth defects. CHOP’s Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit (SDU) is staffed and fully equipped to manage the delicate care you and your unborn baby require before, during and after fetal surgery, as well as the care needed at the time of your baby’s delivery.
- An experienced fetal surgery team. We're one of a few centers in the world to offer open fetal surgery for life-threatening conditions, as well as a wide range of other fetal therapies including minimally invasive fetoscopic surgery.
- Excellence across every pediatric specialty. CHOP is consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals. This means your child will receive some of the best care available in the country at CHOP.
- Expert newborn and infant care. After delivery, babies receive advanced care in CHOP's Harriet and Ronald Lassin Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), consistently ranked among the best in the nation for newborn care by U.S. News & World Report. CHOP’s neonatology specialists are incredibly experienced taking care of babies who have had fetal surgery, babies with birth defects, and babies who are critically ill or need immediate postnatal care.
- A dedicated Fetal Heart Program for babies prenatally diagnosed with congenital heart disease. After birth, babies are treated in the Cardiac Center, one of the world's top pediatric heart programs.
A supportive environment
From the first phone call, we coordinate all of your treatment, offering caring counseling and comprehensive support services.
Supportive services include:
- Our dedicated psychosocial service team, including a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist and social workers, provides emotional support, individualized and couple's counseling, supportive therapy, and social work services.
- We work closely with your physician to coordinate care — many expectant mothers can be monitored at home during their pregnancies.
- We offer a supportive community to families that includes a dedicated Child Life specialist during your stay in the Hospital, and an annual on-site reunion.
- We are experienced working with insurance companies and other payers to ensure you and your baby have access to the best treatment options available.