DES: the Facts and the Unknown

Researchers are still uncovering frightening facts about the life-long diethylstilbestrol side effects, including higher rates of breast cancer in DES mothers, reproductive abnormalities in daughters and sons, higher rates of ectopic pregnancy in daughters, and damage to the endocrine and immune systems.

More than 60 years of research have confirmed that diethylstilbestrol is a teratogen: an agent that can cause malformations of an embryo or foetus. It is reported that exposure to synthetic oestrogen during critical stages of child development in the uterus increases the risk of abnormalities which can result in structural, functional, or long-term pathological changes including cancer.

Injuries surface years after exposure, so life-long health consequences are in question, including whether DES may affect a third generation of grandchildren. To this day, many questions remain unanswered and the full extent of this drug’s disaster is yet to be seen.