We explored adeno-associated viral vector (AAV)-mediated gene transfer in the perinatal period in animal models of severe congenital factor VII (FVII) deficiency, a disease associated with early postnatal life-threatening hemorrhage. In young adult mice with plasma FVII < 1% of normal, a single tail vein administration of AAV (1 × 10(13) vector genomes [vg]/kg) resulted in expression of murine FVII at 266% ± 34% of normal for ≥ 67 days, which mediated protection against fatal hemorrhage and significantly improved survival. Codon optimization of human FVII (hFVIIcoop) improved AAV transgene expression by 37-fold compared with the wild-type hFVII cDNA. In adult macaques, a single peripheral vein injection of 2 × 10(11) vg/kg of the hFVIIcoop AAV vector resulted in therapeutic levels of hFVII expression that were equivalent in males (10.7% ± 3.1%) and females (12.3% ± 0.8%). In utero delivery of this vector in the third trimester to fetal monkeys conferred expression of hFVII at birth of 20.4% ± 3.7%, with a gradual decline to > 1% by 7 weeks. Re-administration of an alternative serotype at 12 months postnatal age increased hFVII levels to 165% ± 6.2% of normal, which remained at therapeutic levels for a further 28 weeks without toxicity. Thus, perinatal AAV-mediated gene transfer shows promise for disorders with onset of pathology early after birth.