Family B and M. – Switzerland

  • 20.01.2017

When our daughter was unexpectedly diagnosed with a giant omphalocele, we felt desperate and lost. After realizing that no appropriate care was available in our area, we discovered the Swiss Fetus team.
We were extremely well taken care of and reassured by Professor Ochsenbein during the course of the pregnancy, while Dr Mohrlen turned the omphalocele into a distant memory on the day after birth.

Professor Bernet and the neonatology team took excellent care of Olivia during her stay at the Kinderspital.
We would like to thank the whole team! There are simply not enough words to express our gratitude for saving our daughter and for everything you have done for us.

B and M

Family R. – Germany

Family R. – Germany

  • 12.12.2016

Family B.-V.

  • 05.09.2016

Dear Dr Ochsenbein,
It seems like only yesterday that we visited you for an emergency examination and discovered that our daughters’ lives were in serious danger. You explained the options that were still open to us, and we immediately decided to split the placenta using laser surgery. I would even go so far as to say that this was the best decision we have ever made.

Our twins Noemi (twin B, white trousers) and Michelle (twin A, pink trousers) have been developing well and the first check-up confirmed that they will continue to do so.
We wanted to visit you at the hospital with the little ones, but you were on holiday at the time. So we would instead like to use this letter to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the excellent care you and your team provided at the University Hospital. Without your courageous treatment (including the caesarean procedure), the twins would probably not have stood a chance. We will never forget that you saved our daughters’ lives!
Kind regards,
The B.-V. family

Family Sarabiev. – Russia

  • 10.09.2015

We are Ekatherina and Alexei Sarabiev – a small family from Russia. We live in a small town near Moscow. When at 21st week of pregnancy a fetal malformation called spina bifida was diagnosed we were actually shocked. But the specialist from the fetal surgery center of the University Children’s Hospital Zurich came to help us.

They performed elaborated prenatal surgery for defect reconstruction. Also they did everything for my rehabilitation and preparation for birth. Our son Feodor was born on 28th July 2015. The spina bifida defect was totally closed and activity of legs existed. After complete examination we realized that we’ve reached our aim. Brain, bladder, legs – everything works! Of course there are some anatomical disturbances, but they do not seem to affect the baby’s quality of life.
The high professionalism of the multidisciplinary team should be noticed! Before the operation, complete clinical examination was performed. Based on the results of this examination, Professor Meuli clearly explained what are the chances for the child and what are the risks for the mother. During all the period of treatment, we were under care of Program Coordinator Barbara Casanova, who helped to solve all the many non-medical problems. Also we should thank Professor Zimmermann, Professor Ochsenbein, doctor Kraehenmann and all other doctors and midwifes of clinic of Obstetrics of the University Hospital Zurich for close attention and care during those long days, during which I had to stay in hospital.
Specialists of fetal surgery center did everything what was possible for our child to let him live full life!
Now, Feodor is 6 weeks and till now everything is going well.

Family Godia-del Amo. – United Kingdom

  • 17.07.2015

We were expecting our second child and happily anticipating the 20 weeks ultrasound to know if it was a boy or a girl. During the ultrasound we were told that our baby boy had spina bifida. We didn’t know exactly what it was, and the hospital just told that it is a terrible defect in the spine and that the baby would have severe disabilities. The picture that the hospital gave was devastating because it looked as if there was nothing that could be done for our baby.

But soon after the diagnosis a friend of us told us that he had heard of an in-utero-operation. We found that Zürich hosted the expertise in Europe for this type of operations. We contacted the team through their web page to ask if anything could be done to help our boy, and soon after we received the bright and encouraging answer from Prof. Meuli: “Yes, we can and will help you, of course!”

Ever since that moment, through all the assessments and operation, through the constant care of all the team involved, we’ve received the best care and attention. From Prof.Meuli and Doctors Moehrlen and Mazzone, from Doctors Zimmerman, Ochsenbein and Krähmann to the nurses in Zürich’s Hospital, to the international coordinator Barbara Casanova and each of the professionals in the Intensive Care Unit and Neonatology in the Children’s hospital of Zürich: Thank you very very much for really helping our whole family and specially our treasured little one! We couldn’t have been and cannot be in better hands.

A family from Austria

  • 15.07.2015

“Your child’s back is open!” At 20 weeks, our world was turned upside down. Fear. Anger. We kept asking ourselves, “why?” Many readers of this website are probably all too familiar with the kind of chaos we went through.
It was only through a series of unlikely coincidences that we even found out that “our problem” can be treated intrauterine. Back then, this kind of operation was unknown in Austria. We were the first non-Swiss patients to have this operation in Zurich.

Throughout, we always felt well-informed and wonderfully cared for – from the initial consultation, the first really difficult days following the surgery, during the long hospital stay and right through to the birth of our son and his time in KISPI.

Two years have since passed and now, looking back, we would like to say a very big thank you to

Professor Meuli, Professor Zimmermann, Dr Möhrlen and Professor Ochsenbein: thank you for your attentiveness, compassion and daily bedside visits and, of course, for the small miracle you managed to perform on our son! He is now 20 months old and on good days can walk a few steps without any assistance.
To all the staff on the prenatal ward: thank you for your wonderful support, heartfelt conversations and for taking even our smallest concerns seriously.
To all the doctors and nurses at KISPI, particularly on the neonatal ward: thank you for taking such good care of our son and for all the little things that made us feel that Felix was never alone.

It’s a difficult step, but when parents decide to fight for their child, there’s no better place to be than the Unispital and the KISPI. We don’t regret our decision for a second!

Family S.-W. – Germany


  • 27.03.2015

After we found out during an ultrasound examination in November 2014 that our unborn child suffered from the spina bifida deformity, our happy family life was thrown into chaos. After reading extensively about the condition, we discovered that there were various prenatal operations available. Seeing as most doctors in Germany tend to be sceptical about the operation involving an intrauterine MMC closure and couldn’t provide us with much information about it, we drove from Munich to Zurich to find out more.

After an MRI and extensive ultrasound examination, we had a meeting with Professor Meuli. We discussed all the details of the operation, as well as the ways in which it could improve our child’s quality of life. We were also informed about the risks involved and told not to expect any miracles. Although the operation certainly seemed risky, it was quickly clear to us that we would opt to go down this route, with the help of the interdisciplinary team in Zurich. They were transparent and treated us with respect, which played a major role in our decision to go ahead with the operation at 25 weeks.
We’ve never regretted our decision. We have only positive recollections of the whole episode, even the months spent in the Unispital’s prenatal station after the operation. The combination of medical expertise, friendliness and concern demonstrated by the doctors, midwives and other staff made our stay very pleasant. The communication between the interdisciplinary team was also exemplary.
Our son Levi was born in March 2014 and is now one year old. He’s developing wonderfully. He does have functional problems that are typical for spina bifida, however they are very mild and certainly far better than the original diagnosis. His regular follow-up examinations mean that we’re still involved with the Kinderspital Zurich and remain in close contact with the doctors, who we can contact with questions at any time. We would like to take this opportunity to offer our sincerest thanks to all the doctors who treated Levi before and after his birth, as well as the Unispital nursing staff on ward J and the neonatal department at the Kinderspital.

Family K. – Switzerland

  • 02.11.2014

After our daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida, we were informed about the possibility of open foetal surgery. After short preliminary examinations at the Kinderspital Zurich, Dr Möhrlen gave us extensive information about the prospects and risks of such an operation.

For us there was really no choice but to give our child the best possible chance, so we decided to go ahead with the surgery. Professor Meuli and the interdisciplinary team who carried out the operation on our unborn baby filled us with hope and confidence that everything would turn out well in the end. During our stay in the maternity ward at the University Hospital of Zurich we received valuable advice and were very well looked after by Professor Zimmermann, Professor Ochsenbein, Dr Krähenmann and the nursing team. Our baby was born at 36.4 weeks by caesarean section with absolutely no complications. Today our daughter is five months old. When we see a smile on her beaming face, we forget about all the worries and difficulties we experienced during that time and are very proud to have chosen this procedure. We’re very confident about the ongoing assistance provided by the highly skilled medical staff at the Kindesspital Zurich and would like to take this opportunity to offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been involved in our daughter’s treatment so far.


Interdisciplinary team of experienced specialists .