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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Celebrates 27th Annual Fetal Surgery Family Reunion at the Philadelphia Zoo

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Celebrates 27th Annual Fetal Surgery Family Reunion at the Philadelphia Zoo

PR Newswire

PHILADELPHIA, June 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, more than 3,000 people gathered at the Philadelphia Zoo to celebrate the 27th Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Fetal Family Reunion, representing patients and families from across the country. The event, hosted by CHOP's Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment (CFDT), provides an opportunity for those treated in the Center to reconnect with their care team and other families who share an indescribable bond.

The reunion brings together a unique community of families who have shared similar experiences. Nearly all of the children in attendance were prenatally diagnosed with a birth defect, such as spina bifidacongenital diaphragmatic hernia, or twin-twin transfusion syndrome, that had potentially devastating outcomes. Babies diagnosed before birth either underwent fetal surgery to treat the condition in utero or received highly complex care immediately after birth.

The reunion has been an annual occurrence since 1997 and has grown from a handful of attendees in its first year to more than 850 families today. CHOP's CFDT is a pioneer in the field of fetal medicine and is one of only a few programs worldwide to offer comprehensive care, including prenatal diagnosis, fetal surgery and therapy, and the option of delivering at a leading pediatric hospital.

"Each year, this day serves as a poignant reminder of just how far we've come," said N. Scott Adzick, MD, Surgeon-In-Chief at CHOP and Director of the CFDT. "We have watched this gathering grow substantially over the years, and it is an extremely meaningful event for our team. It is called the Fetal Family Reunion for a reason – we have an indescribable bond with the many patients and families who have entrusted us with their care, and for that I am so grateful." 

The families gathered at the event represent an important segment of the more than 31,000 expectant mothers treated in the CFDT, from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. The high volume of patients from around the world with incredibly complex, rare conditions makes all the difference in achieving favorable outcomes and extends hope and support to many families.

Each week at CHOP, surgical teams perform highly sophisticated procedures, such as spina bifida closure and interventions for other birth defects in the womb, placing fetal shunts to treat life-threatening congenital conditions, and performing minimally invasive procedures in the mother's uterus to treat various complications. The team has also managed thousands of pregnancies complicated by birth defects in which newborns need immediate specialized medical care or surgery after delivery.

About Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: A non-profit, charitable organization, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, the 595-bed hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. The institution has a well-established history of providing advanced pediatric care close to home through its CHOP Care Network, which includes more than 50 primary care practices, specialty care and surgical centers, urgent care centers, and community hospital alliances throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as an inpatient hospital with a dedicated pediatric emergency department in King of Prussia. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit 

Contact: Ashley Moore

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


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SOURCE Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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