Advanced Fetal Care Center | Programs & Services

The Advanced Fetal Care Center (AFCC) at Boston Children's Hospital works with a number of specialty programs and centers throughout the hospital. Depending on your unique case, you may be seen by clinicians at one or more of the following:

Bladder Exstrophy Program
Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
Center for Airway Disorders
Center for Perinatal Urology
Cleft and Craniofacial Center
Cleft Lip and Palate Program
Complex Care Service
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program 
Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) and Gender Management Service (GeMS)
Down Syndrome Clinic
Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center
Fetal Cardiology Program
Fetal-Neonatal Neurology Program
Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program
Hydrocephalus Program
Lactation Support Program
Lower Extremities Program
Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Orthopedic Center
Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT)
Spina Bifida Center
Tethered Spinal Cord Program
Tuberous Sclerosis Program
Vascular Anomalies Center

Surgery and interventions

If there is a need for a fetal intervention, the AFCC team will discuss options with you, including risks and long-term outcomes based on our experience and the most current data. All necessary services are centrally coordinated by the AFCC team.

Interventions performed in conjunction with The Advanced Fetal Care Center include:

  • Fetal cardiac interventional procedures, using a needle or catheter to treat certain fetal cardiac abnormalities. Tiny balloon catheters can be inflated to open abnormal heart valves or other obstructions. Boston Children's Hospital is the only hospital successfully performing these procedures.
  • EXIT (Ex utero intrapartum treatment) conducted at the time of the delivery, often for a congenital defect that blocks the airway. The baby is partially delivered through Cesarean section and remains on placental support (still attached to the umbilical cord), giving surgeons time to treat the obstruction and secure the baby's airway so that by the time the cord is cut, the baby can breathe independently.
  • EXIT to ECMO (extra corporeal membranous oxygenation), where, following an EXIT procedure, a baby is temporarily placed on a heart/lung bypass machine that circulates oxygenated blood through the body. Surgeons are then able to complete the delivery and repair the abnormality while giving the baby's lungs and heart time to develop and heal.
  • Additional surgery, performed as needed once the newborn is stabilized.