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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Eurocat conducts research into the prevention and development of congenital anomalies and looks for their possible causes and driving factors. We are a division of the Department of Genetics within the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG), the Netherlands.


Eurocat is a European network of congenital anomaly registries. The Eurocat Northern Netherlands database provides accurate and reliable data on congenital anomalies and associated risk factors within this region for scientific research, with the goal of contributing to the promotion of healthy pregnancies in the future.

Causes of congenital anomalies

Some congenital anomalies occur because something went wrong during cell division or in the DNA. In other cases, the anomaly is primarily hereditary (for example an extra finger or toe) and is passed on from parent to child. However, we do not yet know the origin of many congenital anomalies. The condition does not occur in the family, yet a child is born with it. Some anomalies are more common when, for example, the mother smokes or uses certain medications.


There are also supplements that can help prevent congenital anomalies. One example of this is the vitamin supplement folic acid. Based on Eurocat's research into congenital abnormalities, we know that folic acid supplements can protect against the development of spina bifida (open spinal deformity). However, our research can also help establish if there is no connection between a particular drug and congenital anomalies.

Participate in research: making every child count!

Eurocat charts how often congenital anomalies occur in the northern Dutch provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. That is why it is important that every parent participates, because every child and every pregnancy counts. By participating in this research, you can help improve what we know about the development of congenital anomalies so that we can help prevent them in the future.

You can participate in Eurocat Northern Netherlands if:

  • You have a child with a congenital anomaly,
  • Your child is under 11 years of age at the time of registration,
  • You, as the mother, lived in one of the provinces of Groningen, Friesland or Drenthe at the time of your child’s birth.

You can also participate if:

  • You have had a child with a congenital anomaly who was stillborn or died just after birth, or
  • You experienced a miscarriage or terminated a pregnancy due to a congenital anomaly


As a parent you can register your child in our Eurocat database by sending an e-mail to Contact. We will then contact you personally.

You may have been asked by your midwife or doctor to participate. We ask all doctors and obstetricians in our region to report occurrences of congenital anomalies to Eurocat via our application form​. You can download this form, fill it out and send it to us.​​​