A survey of fetal care centers in the United States

Abstract. OBJECTIVE: Fetal care centers have recently emerged in affiliation with children's hospitals throughout the United States. Few studies have evaluated this new multidisciplinary model of care. STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a survey of multidisciplinary fetal care centers in the United States; survey data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: 59 centers were identified; 29 centers (49%) returned completed surveys. Most centers are located in a children's hospital (54%), and the majority of centers (76%) opened in the past 10 years. The majority of centers (62%) are administered by a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine or Obstetrics and Gynecology. A specialist in MFM or Ob/Gyn evaluates every patient at 90% of centers; a neonatologist evaluates every patient at 52% of centers. All responding centers have the capability to perform ultrasounds although fewer centers perform fetoscopic surgery (38%) or open fetal surgery (31%). Many centers (41%) conduct research protocols in fetal medicine. Most centers (61%) considered the provision of information to families as their most important goal. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to describe multidisciplinary fetal centers in the United States. It demonstrates variability between centers. More research is needed in order to evaluate the impact of this variability.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Jennifer C. Kett, Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Hospital, 1900 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, USA. Tel.: +1 206 884 5198; Fax: +1 206 985 3247; E-mail: jennifer.kett@seattlechildrens.org.