The mission of the NICHD is, in formal terms, to support and conduct "research on fertility, pregnancy, growth, development, and medical rehabilitation (that) strives to ensure that every child is born healthy and wanted and grows up free from disease and disability."
"The NICHD administers a program ...on reproductive biology and population issues; on prenatal development as well as maternal, child and family health; and on medical rehabilitation. Institute programs are based on the concepts that adult health and well-being are determined in large part by episodes early in life, that human development is continuous throughout life, and that the reproductive processes and the management of fertility are of major concern, not only to the individual, but to society."
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was founded in 1963. It is one of two institutes of the NIH based on life stages. The other is the National Institute on Aging.