Menstrual and Reproductive Characteristics of Women Whose Mothers Were Exposed in Utero to Diethylstilbestrol (DES).
We examined menstrual and reproductive characteristics in a unique cohort consisting of the daughters of women prenatally exposed (or not) to DES (i.e., the third generation). The menstrual and reproductive characteristics of 793 third generation women were assessed by mailed questionnaires. The study showed a comparable average age of menarche (12.6 years) in the daughters of prenatally DES-exposed and unexposed women. The daughters of the exposed women reached menstrual regularity later compared to the daughters of the unexposed, and were more likely to report irregular menstrual periods, odds ratio. A possible association between mothers' DES exposure and daughters' infertility was compatible with chance. For the most part, daughters of the prenatally DES-exposed and unexposed had similar reproductive outcomes, but daughters of exposed women had fewer live births than the unexposed. The high risk of reproductive problems seen in women exposed prenatally to DES was not observed in their daughters, but most third generation women have not yet attempted to start their families. Consequently, further follow-up is needed to assess their reproductive health.