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November 17, 1999

Fetal Surgery for MyelomeningocelePromise, Progress, and Problems

JAMA. 1999;282(19):1873-1874. doi:10.1001/jama.282.19.1873

Few can resist the siren call of fetal surgery. The media are fascinated. Physicians in obstetrics, pediatric surgery, and, especially, reproductive genetics envision fetal surgery and therapy as the natural extension of prenatal genetic diagnosis. In utero diagnosis of birth defects is an attractive option and becoming more widespread. However, 30 years after the first in utero diagnosis,1 the major benefit of prenatal genetic diagnosis is better reproductive counseling for the parents. While this is laudable, physicians like to treat.

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