Three babies have been born after receiving the world’s first spina bifida treatment combining surgery with stem cells. This was made possible by a landmark clinical trial at UC Davis Health.
The new treatment, delivered while a fetus is still in the mother’s womb, could improve outcomes for children with this birth defect.
The annual reunion brings together a unique community of families who have shared similar struggles. Nearly all the children in attendance had been prenatally diagnosed with a birth defect, such as spina bifida, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or twin-twin transfusion syndrome, that had potentially devastating outcomes.
I was diagnosed with fetomaternal alloimmunization, a condition in which a mother’s body creates antibodies against a fetus’ blood antigens. This diagnosis crushed us. My husband and I wanted a lot of children, and now we were left wondering whether we could even have a second.
Hydrops fetalis is a serious condition that affects about 1 in 1,700 pregnancies. For many families, answers about why this condition occurs have been in short supply because the cause is often not identified through standard testing.
“The doctor came in and handed me a box of tissues,” Katie recalls. “She was saying something about an abnormal pregnancy, shunts, abnormalities of the left leg, club foot. I was in complete shock at that point, and I couldn’t really make out what she was saying because it felt like time was suspended.”
In a span of two hours, their lives had been turned upside down.