Children's Hospital Colorado
Colorado Fetal Care Center
Colorado Fetal Care Center

Fetal Testing and Intervention Services

For expectant mothers carrying babies who have been diagnosed with a fetal abnormality, the Colorado Fetal Care Center offers highly specialized care. We provide a variety of advanced fetal diagnostic tests, interventions (treatments for fetuses in the womb) and procedures.

Over the last decade, our team of maternal fetal specialists and pediatric surgeons has worked relentlessly to improve detection and treatment of fetal conditions. As a result, our services have grown exponentially. Today, the Colorado Fetal Care Center provides virtually every fetal diagnostic test and treatment available.

We also have one of the most experienced fetal care teams in the country, ensuring that you and your baby are in the most capable hands possible. Our fetal care specialist team includes:

  • Fetal surgeons: surgeons who specialize in prenatal (before birth) and newborn surgery and who have extensive training in treating conditions that are diagnosed before birth
  • Maternal fetal medicine specialists with expertise in fetal surgery: Ob/Gyn doctors who undergo years of extra training related to the care of both mom and baby during high-risk pregnancies. They have extensive training in diagnosing and treating conditions that occur before birth.
  • Pediatric, fetal and obstetrical anesthesiologists: doctors who specialize in pain management, maternal and fetal safety and other techniques to make fetal surgery and birth as safe, comfortable and stress-free as possible for moms and their babies
  • High-risk obstetrical nurses: nurses with extensive experience in and exclusively focus on taking care of moms expecting an infant requiring immediate intervention
  • A dedicated operating room and fetal nursing team: specialized equipment and care teams just for moms with a prenatal diagnosis
  • Fetal and pediatric cardiologists: subspecialist doctors who care for babies with heart conditions before and after birth
  • Neonatology specialists: neonatologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, lactation specialists, psychologists, therapists and technicians are among our team of experts who specialize in caring for newborns with complex medical conditions.
  • Psychologists and social workers: psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other mental health specialists with expertise in supporting you through a high-risk pregnancy
  • Pediatric subspecialists: doctors, nurses and other staff with extensive training and experience in particular medical areas such as breathing, neurology, orthopedics, urology and many others

Fetal diagnostic testing

Before treatment begins, our team uses in-depth fetal diagnostics to address any concerns you or referring providers may have. Based on you and your baby’s specific needs, our fetal specialists will work together to choose the correct diagnostic tests and schedule consultations with specialists in other areas when necessary.

Our fetal care team takes full advantage of their dedicated fetal clinic equipped with state-of-the-art imaging and surgical resources. The clinic is specifically designed to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and best possible outcomes.

Prenatal testing offered at the Colorado Fetal Care Center

When you have a fetal diagnostic test at the Colorado Fetal Care Center our care team will prepare all the information from your exam, explain it in terms you will understand, answer your questions and present all your options. Prenatal testing we offer includes:

  • Fetal ultrasound
  • Fetal echocardiogram
  • Fetal MRI
  • Amniocentesis: This test samples amniotic fluid from the uterus using ultrasound guidance to test it for genetic disorders or other anomalies (birth defects) that might affect your baby before birth.
  • Genetic testing and counseling: This test analyzes specific genes to help you and your family plan for specific conditions and supporting healthcare strategies.

Fetal interventions at the Colorado Fetal Care Center

Our team members are skilled in the most cutting-edge fetal therapies and treatments. By treating various fetal anomalies during pregnancy instead of after birth, we allow babies to start healing before they’re even born. This gives them a better chance at the best possible outcome.

Our world-renowned physicians offer life-saving fetal interventions that:

  • Correct problems that would be too advanced to treat after the baby is born
  • Minimize long-term disabilities
  • Prevent a life-threatening situation by treating the fetus while they are still within the mother’s womb
  • Avoid a complication, such as fetal airway obstruction, that could be fatal at birth

Our care team also provides expert monitoring and care for mothers after they deliver their babies. This is critical for high-risk pregnancies and provides the entire family with the best care. With a focus on each child’s long-term quality of life, we offer some of the most innovative fetal therapies available today, which fall into two categories: minimally invasive fetal procedures and open fetal surgery.

Minimally invasive fetal procedures

We perform minimally invasive procedures to treat and correct life-threatening fetal conditions, ideally before they cause further complications.

Often, during these fetal interventions, the fetal surgeon inserts a tiny fiber optic camera (a fetoscope) and other specialized instruments through a small incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus, and then minimizes or corrects the abnormality.

These fetoscopic and ultrasound-guided interventions let the surgical team clearly visualize, access and treat fetuses while they’re still tucked inside their mother’s womb.

Our care team also performs several other minimally invasive procedures for a number of conditions. If you have questions about treatment for a particular condition, contact our Center at 1-855-413-3825.

Open fetal surgery

Some conditions require open fetal surgery, also called in utero surgery, while the mother is still pregnant. For open fetal surgeries, a team of fetal surgeons opens the mother’s abdomen and then makes a small opening in her uterus, exposing the area where the fetus requires surgery.

They correct the fetal defect and then close the uterus and abdomen so the baby can keep growing and developing.

You and your baby are completely comfortable and safe during these procedures due to the medications and monitoring provided by our anesthesiologists.

Fetal treatment for twins

Some fetal conditions are specific to twins, and we have vast experience caring for twins before they are born. Often, these conditions will affect one twin more than the other and we have the experience and expertise to help both twins come into this world as healthy as possible. We create specialized treatment plans for a number of conditions unique to twins, including:

  • Twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence (TRAP)
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)
  • Selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR): One twin is not growing as they should because the twins are not sharing the placenta equally
  • Twin anemia polycythemia sequence (TAPS): An imbalance of blood counts between twins in the womb, which causes one twin to not receive enough oxygen and nutrients to develop properly
  • Complications in monoamniotic twins: Monochorionic twins share the same amniotic sac in their mother’s uterus.
  • Various anomalies affecting one or both twins

Fetal procedures we perform

Our team is fully equipped to perform a full range of fetal surgeries and procedures, including:

  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) treatment, including:
  • Ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT procedures)
  • Fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion (FETO) for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
  • Open fetal surgery
  • Fetoscopy: A minimally invasive procedure under ultrasound guidance that allows our specialists to see the fetus, uterus, amniotic sac and other anatomical structures. This helps our team diagnose and rule out different conditions.
  • Fetal shunt placement: This treatment places a small tube (shunt) in your baby’s body, often in the bladder or chest, to help drain fluid so normal fetal growth can occur. This is a minimally invasive procedure using ultrasound guidance.
  • Ultrasound-guided procedures needle procedures: This includes intrauterine blood transfusions to treat low blood counts in the fetus.
  • Amniotic band resection for amniotic band syndrome (ABS): This procedure removes an amniotic sac lining that has wrapped around a body part or body parts of the developing fetus. Without treatment, this condition can cause deformities or amputation of limbs in fetuses.
  • Interstitial laser for fetal masses with identified feeding vessel: This occludes, or blocks, the vessel.
  • Radio frequency ablation: This procedure is used to treat twin reversed arterial perfusion (TRAP sequence). During this minimally invasive procedure, our providers guide a fetoscope into the uterus using ultrasound. They then block blood vessels that carry shared blood between the twins.

Family-friendly fetal intervention center

Our facility is specially designed so that moms and their babies with complex needs can both receive comprehensive treatment and care – all under one roof. We offer a single, comfortable space equipped for every aspect of maternal and fetal treatment, from prenatal diagnostic testing and fetal intervention through delivery and postpartum care.

The Colorado Fetal Care Center has dedicated rooms for:

  • Labor, delivery and postpartum recovery
  • Cesarean delivery (C-section)
  • Infant stabilization
  • Triage
  • Ultrasound
  • Fetal surgery and intervention

Where to find fetal care services

Learn where to find fetal care services at Children’s Colorado.

Why choose the Colorado Fetal Care Center for your baby’s life-saving fetal treatment?

Our team has performed more than 1,200 surgeries, making us one of the most experienced fetal centers in the country. With state-of-the-art facilities, the latest technologies and extensive experience caring for the highest-risk pregnancies, we consistently achieve some of the best outcomes in the nation. In fact, our physicians, surgeons and researchers have pioneered many maternal and fetal treatments.

We have been designated a Center of Excellence in Obstetric Anesthesiology by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology's (SOAP) for our exceptional and safe care of mothers and babies.

Our team works continuously to develop new therapies across the perinatal spectrum (the time before and after birth). Because of our research and innovations, we offer some of the most innovative fetal therapies available today and continually advance the standard of care for maternal and fetal medicine, which means:

  • Improving outcomes for mothers, fetuses and babies
  • Improving babies’ quality of life by improving their long-term health
  • Decreasing the risk for high-risk pregnant mothers
  • Giving all babies – even those not yet born – the best chance at a bright, healthy future
Nicole, treated for TTTS at Children's Colorado, sits with her school-age twin girls.

The Connection Journey: Beating the TTTS Odds, Together

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