Baby Still in Womb Undergoes Groundbreaking Procedure at Children’s Hospital of WI

November 19, 2014  |  Department News


After discovering their unborn child had a birth defect that could be corrected, but only with a first-of-its-kind surgery, a Little Chute couple went ahead with the procedure to give their child a better life.

The in utero intervention is performed on the unborn child, so both the mother and child are at risk.

Joe and Melanie Donnerbauer always planned on having one more child after their daughter, Ivory, was born.

So they were thrilled when Melanie became pregnant, but in her 18th week of pregnancy, they received some devastating news.

“It’s probably the worst thing that you hear. It’s not anything that a parent wants to hear,” Joe Donnerbauer said.

The Donnerbauers were told their unborn son had a severe form of spina bifida, a birth defect of the central nervous system that often causes paralysis.

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