Perspectives on Fetal Surgery

On the Road from Experimentation to Therapy (and What to Do When We Arrive)
  • George J. Annas
  • Sherman Elias


In 1982, we wrote: “Experimentation with fetal surgery has come of age, and its routine clinical application seems inevitable.”1 We still believe this statement, but the road from experimentation to therapy will be longer than most observers had originally predicted. The results to date have been disappointing, and although research continues, there is no longer a general expectation of immediate therapeutic application of these new surgical techniques. Nonetheless, the stakes remain high and the implications of successful fetal surgery for medicine, society, the pregnant woman, and the fetus are profound. In this chapter we review the current medical indications for fetal surgery, as well as the major ethical and legal issues that the use of this technology raises now and in the future.


Cesarean Section Neural Tube Defect Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Unborn Child Urinary Tract Obstruction 
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Copyright information

© George J. Annas and Sherman Elias 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • George J. Annas
    • 1
  • Sherman Elias
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Clinical Genetics ServicesPrentice Women’s Hospital and Maternity CenterChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Northwestern University Medical SchoolChicagoUSA

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