The International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society was created in 1982 and proposed guidelines for fetal interventions that required demonstrations of the safety and feasibility of intended interventions in animal models prior to application in humans. Because of their short gestation and low cost, small animal models are useful in early investigation of fetal strategies. However, owing to the anatomic and physiologic differences between small animals and humans, repeated studies in large animal models are usually needed to facilitate translation to humans. Ovine (sheep) models have been used the most extensively to study the pathophysiology of congenital abnormalities and to develop techniques for fetal interventions. However, nonhuman primates have uterine and placental structures that most closely resemble those of humans. Thus, the nonhuman primate is the ideal model to develop surgical and anesthetic techniques that minimize obstetrical complications.


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