Pediatric Surgery »  Life Clinic

Life Clinic

LIFE Clinic logo

LIFE is an acronym for Long term Infant to adult Follow up and Evaluation Program. It is appropriate that UCSF, the place where the idea of fetal intervention was fertilized, nurtured to term and brought to delivery, offer long term specialty care of children from birth into adulthood. 

Videos about the UCSF LIFE Clinic


Health problems of the fetus, which start during development are complex, often with multi-organ involvement, and long term effects on function. The UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is committed to treating fetal anomalies, nurturing these tiny patients to delivery, offering postnatal surgery, and caring for these infants through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

With life expectancy being pushed to the limit, the LIFE Program staff anticipate and often prevent post surgery problems. By managing chronic conditions or referring our patients to other pediatric specialists for medical problems and organ system specialists for surgical problems, we maintain our longterm goal of minimizing disabilities, maximizing capabilities, and fostering the development of a well adjusted and independent adult.There can be nothing more satisfying than to have a follow up visit from…

  • a hot dog eating champ who was born with an incomplete swallowing tube (esophageal atresia);
  • an athlete who had part of his lung removed (CCAM) as a child;
  • a pilot who could not breathe on his own (CDH)  as a baby; and
  • a pregnant mother who underwent vaginal reconstruction as a baby and now referring her to an obstetrician.

…and fetal life goes full circle.

Parents' LIFE Club and Youths' LIFE Club

The mother is directly involved in the care of the fetus, from conception to delivery, providing a living incubator (uterus), with oxygen (placenta) and intravenous and arterial lines (umbilical arteries and vein). After delivery, the parents take care of the baby until he/she becomes an independent individual.

Parents of children in the LIFE program are kindred spirits, providing emotional support for each other by sharing experiences, offering reassurance and reminding each other that they are not alone. The LIFE Program is here to lead the way by providing a forum where children and parents can interact and learn from each other offering practical tips such as delivering gastrostomy feedings, or pouching a colostomy. For example, we believe it can be reassuring to find out that other kids with CDH repair are prone to asthma-like conditions; or kids with ARM repair are constipated and need a regular routine of bowel cleansing; or kids with EA repair are treated long term with an anti-hyperacidity regimen.

This is the LIFE Clinic and more.

Conditions Treated by the LIFE Program

  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)
  • Anorectal Malformations (Imperforate Anus, Cloacal Malformations)
  • Hirschsprung's Disease
  • Esophageal Atresia (EA) with or without Tracheo-esophageal Fistula (TEF)
  • Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation of the Lung (CCAM); Lung Sequestration
  • Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT)
  • Choledochal Cysts; Biliary Atresia
  • Anterior Abdominal Wall Defects (Omphalocoele, Gastroschisis)


To see if your child is eligible for care at the UCSF LIFE Clinic please call 415-476-2538