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Related image for article, Meet the Stark Family: William’s Surgery

Meet the Stark Family: William’s Surgery

Doctors at the Midwest Fetal Care Center diagnosed William with a congenital lung condition that if left untreated, may cause future complications.

Related image for article, Meet the Stark Family

Meet the Stark Family

A routine 20-week ultrasound revealed more than this Minneapolis couple's baby's gender.


Fetal medicine is at the pioneering edge of pediatric health care. Babies still in the womb with serious illnesses and conditions once faced a lifetime of struggle and chronic issues. Now, when treated early, we have hope of reducing or fully eliminating the burden of chronic illness from their lives. This possibility is fueled by donors like you.

Related image for article, Midwest Fetal Care Center physician explains open fetal surgery

Midwest Fetal Care Center physician explains open fetal surgery

Dr. Lillegard explains more about the new open fetal surgery program and the Midwest Fetal Care Center’s service

Related image for article, Baby Clara hasn’t let spina bifida slow down her amazing development

Baby Clara hasn’t let spina bifida slow down her amazing development

A new fetal surgery gives Clara an opportunity to thrive.

Midwest Fetal Care Center Launches Open Fetal Surgery Program

Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health announced that the Midwest Fetal Care Center added open fetal surgery to its pioneering fetal care program.

Spina Bifida

Spina bifida, which literally means split spine, is when a portion of baby’s spine does not form properly resulting in part of the spinal cord and nerves being exposed to amniotic fluid. Sometimes the exposed neural elements, such as nerves and spinal cord, are covered by a sac, called a myelomeningocele. At other times the neural elements are completely uncovered resulting in myeloschisis, the most severe form of spina bifida.

Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a condition that occurs in about 10-15% of identical twins that share a placenta. When twins form from one egg and one sperm and divide at the appropriate time in gestation, they're in separate amniotic sacs, but have one placenta where they share a blood supply. Most of the time, this is a balanced communication between the twins. But in 10-15% of identical twin pregnancies, that communication becomes unbalanced, and one baby will actually donate blood to the other baby. When this happens, the baby that is donating the blood becomes dehydrated, stops making urine and we see a decrease in amniotic fluid volume. For the baby that's receiving the extra blood, we will see a volume-overload condition where the baby makes a lot of extra urine and has extra amniotic fluid. This condition can proceed to heart failure. TTTS can be fatal for both babies if it's not treated to stop the transfusion.

Congenital Lung Malformations

Congenital lung malformations (CLM) consist of a broad range of conditions that can affect a developing baby. These conditions can range from small asymptomatic cystic lung lesions to large lesions which may require treatment while your baby is still inside mom (in utero).  The most common of these lesions are bronchopulmonary sequestration and congenital pulmonary airway malformation (which used to be called cystic adenomatoid malformation –CCAM).


Omphalocele (uhm-fa-lo-seal) is a birth abnormality of the abdominal wall whereby the infant's intestines, liver, or other organs are contained within a sac that sticks outside the baby through the navel.