If you or your mother were born between 1947 and 1977, there is a chance that you will recognize yourself in this story about DES. Maybe your mother or grandmother took DES as a medicine when she was pregnant.
DES (in full: diethylstilbestrol) is a drug that has been widely prescribed for pregnant women. The best known brand names in Belgium were Distilbène and Stilbestrol. An artificial hormone to prevent miscarriages. A panacea - that's how it was promoted. But DES proved extremely harmful to the unborn child, but also to the mother. In the meantime, it is clear that DES sometimes affects even the third generation. Belgium has never paid compensation. Other countries did, The Netherlands and France even today.
Photo © Elisabeth Broekaert
- "Di-ethylstilbestrol, of het DES-hormoon", Interne keuken, Radio 1, 11/05/2019. (in Dutch)
In June 2019 a special newspaper will be published.
Also in the exhibition "Bloedtest" ('Blood test') at the Dr. Guislain Museum in Ghent, attention will be given to DES (21/06/2019 - 20/10/2019).