Fetal therapy and minimally invasive procedures such as intra-uterine blood transfusion can save babies with life-threatening conditions in utero.
Mercy Perinatal has a world class fetal therapy service that provides medical treatments and surgical procedures that may be necessary to ensure fetal survival and good health in pregnancy. Intrauterine blood transfusion for fetal anaemia, or shunts to drain abnormal fluid collections are examples of a minimally-invasive, ultrasound-guided procedures that can save the life of baby before birth.
More complex fetal therapy procedures are delivered by the Victorian Fetal Therapy Service (VFTS), a state-wide collaboration between the three tertiary maternity hospitals. Mercy Perinatal is proud to work with Monash Health and Royal Women's Hospital in this successful 'three centres' initiative. Laser surgery to the placenta for twin twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is now well established in Victoria, with local outcomes comparable to international centres of excellence. Dr Alison Fung reflects that: "It is wonderful to be part of this collaborative effort where we are pushing back the frontiers of what is possible to improve the health and outlook of the baby before birth."
Any patient that may require fetal therapy is assessed by one of our maternal fetal medicine specialists for the suitability of medical or ultrasound guided direct fetal therapy. In cases where fetal surgery is being considered, a Mercy Perinatal fetal surgeon will consult with other members of the VFTS to form a consensus about the best course of treatment. All fetal surgical procedures take place at the Monash Medical Centre operating theatres and are performed only by the experienced, highly trained members of the VFTS. Professor Sue Walker and Dr Alison Fung are the Mercy Hospital members of the VFTS and will accompany their patients and perform their surgery at Monash Medical Centre.
When does this clinic run?
Our nonurgent consultations are usually held in conjunction with our Wednesday Fetal Medicine clinic, however we recognise that conditions requiring fetal intervention often arise urgently and need prompt assessment. We have a maternal fetal medicine specialist on call seven days a week to ensure timely access to fetal intervention if needed.
We welcome referrals for any condition where fetal therapy may be indicated, particularly hydrops (of any cause) and where intra-uterine transfusion may be required to manage fetal anemia. This includes women known to have red blood cell iso-immunisation, parvovirus infection, and suspected feto-maternal haemorrhage. We also specialise in the care of monochorionic twins with suspected twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), selective fetal growth restriction or fetal structural abnormality