December 28

1950–1952: DES a synthetic estrogen tested on pregnant women without their consent

DES (diethylstilbestrol) is a man-made form of estrogen which has proven to be very harmful to developing female fetuses in the womb. At the University of Chicago, every pregnant woman at the University’s Lying-In Hospital (1,646) was a test subject for a DES experiment without their knowledge or consent. Half the women were exposed to DES, the other half to placebo. The experiment demonstrated that twice as many women treated with DES had miscarriages and premature births, thereby confirming the finding of a Tulane study that contradicted the original uncontrolled Harvard study which extoled high doses of DES effectiveness against pregnancy complications. Despite the confirmatory findings of harm, physicians continued prescribing DES for 20 years resulting in numerous birth complications and exposing the unborn daughters of their patients to serious risk of cancer. NIH News, 2011


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