ISPD Global Updates e-Newsletter

The ISPD e-newsletter, Global Updates, is distributed to ISPD members and affiliates. Through the ISPD Federation network, the newsletter also is disseminated to members of national societies in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

Issue 2, 2021

ISPD membership includes complimentary access to the Prenatal Diagnosis journal, membership in Special Interest Groups, access to ISPD Connect, discounted conference registration rates, exclusive access to online content and more!

Update from the Board of Directors

Lyn Chitty, PhD, MRCOG


The ISPD Board of Directors has been delighted to say that our Virtual Education Series has been well received. Our first session in April on neural tube defects attracted over 150 attendees. Our upcoming session will cover abdominal wall defects (see those details below).


On top of our agenda now are preparations for the 2021 International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy, which will be held virtually 6-8 June 2021. The conference will be delivered in two different time zones, with live panel discussions so that colleagues from across the globe can attend and enjoy what is on offer at a reasonable time of the day. The conference will include sessions on hot topics, invited talks on the latest research, and our exciting topical debates.


Our global education efforts continue with ISPD's involvement in several courses this year. We recently participated in the 6th Fetal Medicine Training Course: Basics and Clinical Skills organized by the Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, Shanghai, China. The workshop took place 17-18 and 24-25 April and featured ISPD speakers on NIPT, other laboratory tests, genetic counseling, and fetal therapy topics, along with panel and case discussions. This conference was run virtually and attracted thousands of delegates.


Later this year we plan to present a 12-module course partnering with the National University Singapore. We will also continue our short educational sessions and plan to offer short courses on basic prenatal genetics. If you have any ideas on topics you would like presented, or if you think your organization would like to partner with ISPD in delivering education on prenatal genetics and/or fetal therapy, please do get in contact with us using the link below.


For now, please watch for information in your email about all these opportunities and contact ISPD Headquarters with any questions or ideas. Don’t forget to register for the 2021 International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy. We look forward to your participation!


See conference details

Virtual Education Series Webinars

Virtual Education Series (VES) webinars will be held throughout 2021. In April we heard from Andrew Copp about new insights in the embryology, genetics and prevention of spina bifida, and Tim Van Mieghem presented "Spina bifida: What we tell the parents."



Upcoming VES Webinar

Abdominal Wall Defects
5 May 2021 - 11:00 AM EDT


Genetic Basis of Abdominal Wall Defects

Mary Norton, MD

Co-Director of the Center for Maternal-Fetal Precision Medicine, University of California - San Francisco


Omphalocele — What should we tell the prospective parents? (DOI: 10.1002/pd.5886)

April Adams, MD

Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine


Register to Attend

A Reflection on the Early Days of the Pandemic

Dr. Lynn L. Simpson


It’s been over a year since our first COVID-19 positive patient, a year dominated by a virus that ruled our academic and personal lives. It was the winter of 2020, and news of a novel coronavirus from China was spreading but not as quickly as was the virus that had already reached our shores.


Upon my return to New York City from a family vacation in March, I learned how quickly the virus had already crippled our fetal therapy program. Two key faculty members were out sick with COVID-19, and other team members were absent due to potential exposures, family illness, or child-care issues related to school closings or lack of daycare. Our robust fetal program was suddenly hanging by a thread – how were we going to manage in the weeks and months ahead?

Read More


Running a Spina Bifida Fetal Surgery Service Across Two Countries

The clinical service team (pre-COVID)

Prof. Anna David with Prof. Jan Deprest and Dr. Emma Bredaki


When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Europe in Spring 2020, the four-month-old NHS England highly specialised commissioned fetal surgery service for open spina bifida was fledgling. The joined-up clinical service based across two academic health science centres, at University College London Hospital in Central London, and Universitaire Ziekenhuizen (UZ) Leuven in Belgium, was working well. Patients were travelling to each site for final imaging assessment and surgery, based on the geography of their referring unit: Northern Ireland, Scotland, North Wales and North of England patients to Leuven, and Midlands, South Wales and South of England to UCLH. The virus did not feature much in our weekly calls with NHS England specialised commissioners in February 2020. By March, however, it was clear that a mitigation plan was needed to ensure the sustainability of this first NHS fetal surgery service, putting patient safety above all else.

Read More


Announcing ISPD Connect

Explore the ISPD Connect User Guide

We are excited to announce ISPD Connect, our new member community platform! We are launching several online communities where ISPD members can further their career development by discussing current prenatal topics, sharing insights and resources, and forging new connections with peers and mentors.


The Trainee community is now available for ISPD Trainee Members to engage on topics of particular interest to students and early-career professionals! Trainee members are automatically enrolled in this community. Other members may join and serve as mentors by answering questions and sharing knowledge they have gained through experience.


Communities for ISPD committee members also have been launched. Special Interest communities and a few general topic communities will be made available soon for all interested ISPD members to join.



Visit ISPD Connect to join the conversation!

ISPD Presents Fetal Medicine Training Course

ISPD is proud to have contributed to the 6th Fetal Medicine Training Course: Basics and Clinical Skills organized by the Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, Shanghai, China. The workshop took place over two weekends, 17-18 and 24-25 April, and featured ISPD speakers on NIPT, Counseling, and Feta Therapy topics, along with panel and case discussions.

Prenatal Diagnosis Journal - Recent Issues

Volume 41 | Issue 4 | March 2021


Editor's Choice Article:

Digby EL, Liauw J, Dionne J, Langlois S, Nikkel SM. Etiologies and outcomes of prenatally diagnosed hyperechogenic kidneys.

DOI: 10.1002/pd.5883


Read March Issue

Volume 41 | Issue 5 | April 2021

Special topic issue on "Origins of Aneuploidy" with guest editors Peter Benn and Howard Cuckle.


Editor's Choice Article:

Wartosch, L., Schindler, K., Schuh, M., Gruhn, J.R., Hoffmann, E.R., McCoy, R.C. and Xing, J. Origins and mechanisms leading to aneuploidy in human eggs. DOI: 10.1002/pd.5927

Read April Issue

ISPD members have online access to all Prenatal Diagnosis articles via the .


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ISPD Global Updates Editors
Lynn Bush (USA)
Lisa Hui (Australia)

Florencia Petracchi (Argentina)

Neeta Vora (USA)

Read Editor Biographies

Global Updates Board Liaisons:

Neeta Vora (USA)

Louise Wilkins-Haug (USA)



Past eNewsletters

Past issues of Global Updates are available on our eNewsletter Archives Page.

Also available on that page are issues of our previous eNewsletter, Prenatal Perspectives.


***Call for Editors***

Would you like to contribute to ISPD through the publication of Global Updates? We are seeking additional editors to review and solicit content in partnership with SIG leaders and ISPD Headquarters. Contact Erin Irtenkauf at for details.


ISPD Board of Directors


Lyn S. Chitty, President (UK)

Mahesh A. Choolani, President-Elect
. (Singapore)

Rossa Chiu, Secretary (Hong Kong)

Lee Shulman, Treasurer (USA)

Louise E. Wilkins-Haug, Past President (USA)




April Adams (USA)

Lisa Hui (Australia)

Maria L. Igarzabal (Argentina)

Brynn Levy (USA)

Mark Pertile (Australia)

Tim Van Mieghem (Canada)

Neeta L. Vora (USA)

Board of Directors Webpage

Have a question or comment for the Board? Please contact us via Your message will be routed to us, and we will respond as soon as possible.


ISPD joins other professional societies and healthcare organizations in condemning prejudice, discrimination, and racial injustice. We are committed to promoting diversity among our members consistent with our vision that evidence-based practice and culturally sensitive preconception and prenatal screening, diagnostics, and therapy are available to all families.


The newsletter is available free of charge and distrbuted via e-mail  to anyone with an interest in the field of prenatal diagnosis and therapy. Please note that some articles may be available to ISPD members only. 

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