The Mother of All FDA Fails

The FDA has never required drug safety assessment for fetal germline impact, even though FDA staff understand that gestational exposures can adversely affect developing germ cells. We must end this catastrophic omission, while also granting all Americans access to their own prenatal medical records.

Family stories

Here is a small sample of family stories.

Jeannine's story
Jeannine has four children, three with autism.  Neither she nor her husband have any autism or developmental disability in their family histories.  However, Jeannine, who was born in 1965 in Los Angeles, was exposed in utero to an anti-miscarriage drug protocol after the doctor decided her mother was petite that the pregnancy should be considered "at-risk."

Veronica's story
Veronica had two daughters in California in the 1970s.  During both pregnancies she was prescribed benzodiazapenes as sleep aids.  Each of her daughters now has a child with autism spectrum disorder. There is no other autism in her extended family.

Jane's story
Jane was born in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s after being exposed, via a fertility clinic, to at least three different forms of synthetic steroid hormone drugs intended for the prevention of miscarriage.  Two of her three children have severe autism. Her sibling, who was not exposed to prenatal drugs, has typically developing children. There is no other neurodevelopmental abnormality in the family's history.

Laura's story
Laura was born in New Jersey in the mid-1960s after her mother was given progestin (fake progesterone) drugs intended for the prevention of miscarriage. One of her sons has autism, and the other had childhood learning disabilities.  There is no other neurodevelopmental disorder in her extended family; she was the only of her siblings prenatally exposed to the medication.

Tillie's story
Tillie suffered morning sickness after getting pregnant in the early 1970s, and through the first trimester took daily doses of an anti-nausea drug prescribed by her doctor.  Tillie's daughter was normal, but her grandson has autism. There is no other neurodevelopmental abnormality in the family's history.

Derrick's story
In 1968, Derrick was prenatally exposed to synthetic steroid hormone drugs as part of a fertility treatment though a clinic in New York. His son has high functioning autism and emotional disturbance.  There is no history of neurodevelopmental abnormality in his family.

John's story
After suffering a series of miscarriages, John's mother was prescribed medications when pregnant with John in the 1960s.  John was born with the urogenital abnormality hypospadias, which is often related to prenatal synthetic hormone exposure.  John has two children, one with high functioning autism, the other with anxiety and learning disabilities.  There is no other neurodevelopmental abnormality in his extended family.

Names have been changed to protect privacy. Let us know your story by responding to the questionnaire on the homepage.


  1. Michelle's Story
    My mother was given thalidomide when she was pregnant with me.I have Hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto's (autoimmune disease). My symptoms can be debilitating and I am not improving with T4 only synthetic hormone. I also have treatment resistant Depressive Illness. My P450 Enzymes are abnormal & I do not respond to medication except at high doses. My peripheral nervous system was damaged causing me pain throughout my body. I am also ADD which was not picked up until I was an adult. My eldest daughter is Dyslexic & has had fertility problems related to Endometriosis. She also suffered several miscarriages before conceiving with IVF. My youngest daughter spent the first week of her life in the Special Care Unit because she would stop breathing & turn blue. She also has hypothyroidism. My son is 'on the spectrum'. He was diagnosed with ASD when he was nine years old. He is intelligent but struggles meeting people & expressing emotion appropriately He is a gifted guitarist. No idea where that came from as he has had no family influence at all. There should of been a follow up on the long term health of ALL children affected by thalidomide, not just the 20% who showed physical damage. No disrespect to those who suffered malformations intended. You have my deepest respect.

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