January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. In the United States, about 120,000 babies each year have a congenital anomaly, otherwise known as a birth defect, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That is, about one in every 33 babies is diagnosed either prenatally or after birth with a health problem or physical abnormality that varies in degree of severity. Severe birth defects account for the death of one out of every five infants, making it the leading cause of infant mortality.
For parents who receive the heartrending news that their unborn child has a severe or life-threatening fetal anomaly, fetal surgery – surgery performed on a child in the womb – is one option that offers hope.