The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's 16th Annual Fetal Surgery Family Reunion Gathers Families from Across the U.S.

Jun 24, 2012, 18:12 ET from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

More than 250 children treated before they were born by CHOP's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, and their families, gathered to celebrate 16 years of Hope 

PHILADELPHIA, June 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 1,300 people, from 18 states across the country, gathered today to celebrate the 16th Annual Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Fetal Family Reunion at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

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The reunion brings together families who have shared similar health challenges; nearly all of the children in attendance were prenatally diagnosed with a birth defect, like spina bifida, congenital heart disease or twin-twin transfusion syndrome, that can often have potentially devastating outcomes. In the cases represented by the families at the reunion, those diagnosed with these birth defects either underwent fetal surgery to treat the condition before birth or needed immediate specialized care after birth.

"The families gathered here today are just a small portion of the over 12,000 expectant mothers from around the world that we've been able to help and support over the last 16 years," said N. Scott Adzick, M.D. Surgeon-In-Chief at CHOP and director of the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. "It is truly inspiring to see so many children, who as babies likely could have died, now running around and growing up healthy and strong."

Birth defects like the types treated at the Center are common; one in 33 babies in the U.S. is born with a birth defect each year. Since 1995, CHOP's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment has been able to provide care for many families who had been previously told that their baby had little chance for survival. This annual reunion is an opportunity for staff and patient families to reunite and celebrate. Attendance at these reunions has grown from ten families at the first reunion to more than 250 families today.

"The fetal family reunion is our team's favorite day of the year," said Adzick. "As the field of fetal surgery and therapy continues to advance, specifically in light of our recent developments in fetal surgery for spina bifida, we look forward to treating more and more babies before they are born." 

To meet some children treated by CHOP's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment and Fetal Heart Program, and to view photos from the 16th annual Reunion, visit the Center's Facebook page.

About the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP
The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is an internationally recognized leader in fetal surgery and fetal care. One of the only programs of its kind in the world, it offers a comprehensive breadth of services, including fetal therapy, to support patients from prenatal evaluation through delivery, postnatal care, and long-term follow-up. Established in 1995, the Center has welcomed more than 12,000 expectant parents and received referrals from all 50 states and more than 50 countries. Its multidisciplinary team brings decades of experience to the care and treatment of the fetus and the expectant mother. The Center has performed over 900 fetal surgeries, including complex open procedures for birth defects such as spina bifida; less invasive fetoscopic or ultrasound-guided surgeries for conditions such as twin-twin transfusion syndrome; and specialized coordinated delivery approaches for babies that require surgical intervention while still on maternal-placental life support (EXIT delivery). For more information visit

The Fetal Heart Program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia specializes in the detection, evaluation and management of fetal heart defects prior to a baby's birth. The team performs more than 2,500 fetal echocardiography studies annually, making it one of the largest fetal heart programs in the US. The program's offerings include: state-of-the-art technology, planning for labor and delivery and complete care for the newborn after birth, access to the full Cardiac Center team and the most advanced fetal heart defect treatments available, including fetal heart interventions if necessary. The Cardiac Center performs more than 800 cardiothoracic surgeries per year and the Center's outcomes are among the best in the world.

Contact: Ashley Moore
Phone: 267.426.6071
Cell: 215.630.4683


SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia