It is hardly surprising that every year more than 10,000 babies enter the world in the special environment of Hadassah. Their parents know that Hadassah is synonymous with expertise and experience – experience dating back to Hadassah’s first Mother and Child Center in the Old City of Jerusalem nearly 100 years ago.Following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents, today’s families flock to Hadassah for its mastery of all aspects of the birth process – from in vitro fertilization (IVF) and high-risk pregnancies to prenatal care and skilled treatment of newborns.The innovative spirit that pervades the entire Hadassah University Medical Center is especially evident in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology of its two hospitals on Mount Scopus and at Ein Kerem. In both, expectant parents can find traditional delivery rooms and forward-looking birthing suites, homelike environments that provide a perfect setting for the increasing number of women who want to give birth with minimal intervention. Working with Hadassah’s Natural Research Medicine Center, midwives have also been trained to employ non-medication-based techniques to alleviate pain and advance the natural process of birth.“Our goal is to provide mothers and babies, parents and families, with an empathetic and humane environment that addresses the birthing experience; to meet their expectations without compromising their health or safety,” says Dr. David Mankuta, head of Labor and Delivery. “We really care about relationships. We treat people with respect while maintaining the proper level of care. Most of all, we listen to the women.”“Women giving birth at Hadassah-Mount Scopus are embraced by the intimate and patient-friendly atmosphere created by our extraordinary physicians and nurses, who combine outstanding medical skills with compassionate care,” says Prof. Drorit Hochner, director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology there. “Prof. Simcha Yagel, who heads our sophisticated ultrasound unit, has received international acclaim for his ground-breaking work on obstetric ultrasound and our state-of-the-art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, with its advanced lifesaving technology, is there for babies who arrive considerably ahead of their time in both hospitals,” she notes.“Hadassah’s specialized professional training, sophisticated equipment and ability to meet any unexpected evenuality translates into an impressive safety record,” says head midwife Nava Braverman. “We even have a fully equipped operating room in the department, ‘just in case.’”Hadassah prides itself on individualized attention – beginning with the tiny newborns and their mothers.The flagship of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the Hadassah University Medical Center enjoys an international reputation for excellence in patient care and treatment. Its 850 doctors, 1,940 nurses, 1,020 paramedical staff treat more than one million patients annually, regardless of religion, nationality, race, gender or political beliefs.Integrating all medical and surgical specialties and sub-specialties, Hadassah’s two university hospitals have more than 1,100 beds, over 100 subspecialties, 31 operating rooms, nine intensive care units and more than 120 outpatient clinics. Some departments are the only facilities of their kind in the Jerusalem area; others are unique in Israel, which has led the Israeli government to designate Hadassah as a national center in a number of areas. Hadassah’s physicians and scientists combine state-of-the-art medical and surgical care with world-class interdisciplinary research. Every year they conduct more than half the hospital research in Israel. Many of their accomplishments received critical acclaim when published in leading international medical journals. Sometimes their breakthroughs were first in Israel, sometimes the first in the world.Hadassah has a glorious history of pioneering accomplishments – a legacy of “firsts” in Israel and some significant “firsts” in medicine worldwide. In 1968, Prof. Neri Laufer, today chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, successfully created the ability to artificially manipulate the lining of the uterus for successful implantation, identifying him as a world leader in in vitro fertilization. Continuing his ground-breaking work in this field, in 1988 he initiated micromanipulation in IVF, and in 1991 was the first to employ laser drilling to enhance assisted fertilization.He and the members of his department have focused on increasing fertility for older women and preserving fertility for patients about to undergo aggressive treatments or those with complicated chronic conditions.Among their many accomplishments: a multidisciplinary team of Hadassah physicians successfully removed and froze the eggs of young girls about to undergo chemotherapy; ovarian tissue from a woman with thalassemia was frozen prior to her bone marrow transplant, total body irradiation and chemotherapy. The tissue was then thawed and transplanted into her ovaries. About a year later, she gave birth to a healthy baby.A 38-year-old woman who carried the defective BRCA2 genes became pregnant with healthy twins that did not carry the mutated genes. The embryos, which were conceived through in vitro fertilization, were tested for the gene mutation before implantation in her womb. As far as is known, this is the first time doctors have accomplished a viable pregnancy after this procedure.The successful birth of healthy twins from 12-year-old frozen embryos, which was accomplished at Hadassah, is believed to be the longest reported successful frozen human embryo transfer.While continuing to provide people with the latest treatments to assist them in becoming parents through in vitro fertilization, the team at Hadassah- Mount Scopus is taking advantage of the latest developments in the field, incorporating the newest technique – in vitro maturation – into the possibilities they present.Hadassah’s initial outreach 100 years ago was the vanguard of one of the greatest public health initiatives of the 20th century. At a time when women were not yet allowed to vote, Hadassah’s small group of volunteers sent two American nurses to Palestine to minister to the medical needs of the local population.Over the ensuing decades, Hadassah became synonymous with healing. Branching out from its original public health station, Hadassah’s medical teams spread throughout the region, putting in place the healthcare system for the incipient state. Under Turkish rule, throughout the British Mandate and into the annals of the present-day State of Israel, Hadassah changed the medical map of the Middle East, extending its hand to all.Hadassah is a tale of triumph, of confronting harsh realities and dreaming great dreams, of creating a modern medical complex with the highest of standards and the finest of ethics. Above all, Hadassah is an ongoing narrative of volunteers and professionals working together across countries and continents, helping and healing, dedicated to the people it serves with caring and commitment.It is hardly surprising that so many families choose to give birth at Hadassah – whether at Mount Scopus or at Ein Kerem. They know that at Hadassah, expectant parents will be treated with skill, kindness and compassion and their newborns will get a healthy start on life.