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    Birth Defects Epidemiology & Surveillance
    Mail Code 1964
    P.O. Box 149347
    Austin, TX 78714-9347

    Phone: 512-776-7232
    Fax: 512-776-7330

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Texas Birth Defects Epidemiology & Surveillance

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The Texas Birth Defects Monitor Volume 27

The Texas Birth Defects Monitor Volume 26

Connection Children with Spina Bifida and Encephalocele to Health and Social Services

Connecting Children with Critical Congenital Heart Defects to Social Services and Identifying Barriers to Accessing Healthcare 

Information About Specific Birth Defects from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The 25th Anniversary of the Texas Birth Defects Registry: Looking Back at the Beginning of Data Gathering to Prevent Birth Defects

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About Us

The Texas Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance (BDES) Branch encompasses two major components: the Texas Birth Defects Registry and the Texas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. BDES is one of the nation’s leaders of birth defects tracking and research. The branch also conducts cluster investigations, responds to inquiries from the public, and performs selected education and outreach activities with affected families. BDES collaborates with researchers in finding causes of birth defects and working towards prevention. Our mission is "To identify and describe the patterns and outcomes of children with birth defects in Texas and to collaborate with others in research, prevention, and family outreach services."

How it Started

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BDES was established in 1993 as the result of an unusual cluster of anencephaly cases (a type of neural tube defect) that occurred in Brownsville, Texas. Epidemiologic investigations revealed a higher than expected rate of neural tube defects among children born to Hispanic mothers living in South Texas. In recognition that epidemiologic resources are routinely needed to investigate birth defects clusters, the Texas State Legislature passed the Texas Birth Defects Act in 1993, which authorized the establishment of BDES.

The Birth Defects Registry

In order to respond to community concerns about excess occurrence of birth defects, the Texas Birth Defects Registry was established to identify and describe the patterns of birth defects in Texas through operation of a statewide, population-based, active surveillance system. Through multiple sources of information, the Registry monitors all births in Texas (approximately 400,000 each year) and identifies cases of birth defects.

>>About the Texas Birth Defects Registry 

The Texas Research Center

The Texas Research Center is in a unique position to contribute to our understanding of what causes birth defects, especially because of the 1200-mile shared border with Mexico. Health disparities between Texans living along the border with Mexico and those living in non-border areas have long been a concern for public health officials, as well as for those who live and work in the border counties. From 1997 to 2011, the Texas Center contributed information about birth defects cases as well as from healthy families in border counties to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS). 

>>Learn more about the Research Center.

Important Links

Services for Families

National Birth Defects Prevention Network

International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research

Birth Defects, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For more information, contact:

Birth Defects Epidemiology & Surveillance
Texas Department of State Health Services
Mail Code 1964
P.O. Box 149347
Austin 78714-9347

Phone 512-776-7232, 1-888-963-7111
Fax 512-776-7330


We Appreciate Your Support

This program has been funded in part by the Office of Title V & Family Health, Texas Department of State Health Services, using Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Funds.

Last updated June 12, 2022