DES responsibility in the testicular feminization syndrome

Ingestion of diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy, 1990 Report


We report the cases of two women who had testicular feminization with remnants of Müllerian ducts and whose mothers had received diethylstilbestrol (DES) during the first trimester of pregnancy.

At laparotomy, masses were removed which had the microscopic appearances of testes and Fallopian tubes, and were confirmed as such at histology.

There were three possible explanations for these genetic abnormalities:

  1. deficient antimüllerian hormone (AMH) secretion (or lack of sensitivity of Müllerian ducts to AMH);
  2. early testicular descent with regression of Müllerian ducts beyond the efficacy margin of AMH;
  3. exposure to DES in utero during the first trimester of pregnancy.

In these two women, the most likely explanation seems to be the last one.


  • Ingestion of diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy. Its responsibility in the testicular feminization syndrome, Presse medicale (Paris, France : 1983), NCBI PubMed, PMID: 2146621, 1990 Sep.
  • Featured image credit Anna Sullivan.

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