Blood Donation; a Risk for Prenatal Developmental Toxicity?

  • P. W. J. Peters
Part of the Developments in Hematology and Immunology book series (DIHI, volume 37)


Most prescribers and users of drugs are familiar with the cautions on drug use during the first trimester of pregnancy. These warnings were introduced after the thalidomide disaster in the early 1960s. However, limiting the exercise of caution to the first 3 months of pregnancy is both short sighted and effectively impossible. First, because chemicals can affect any stage of pre- or postnatal development, and second, because when a woman first learns that she is pregnant, the process of organogenesis has already long since begun, for example, the neural walls are closed. In the case of blood donations there exists a possibility that medicinal products, prescribed to donors or used by them as “over the counter” drugs can become available in the recipients of blood donations. Hence, it is interesting not only to focus on blood donation as such but also to discuss here in general the developmental toxicity of biologically active substances and especially medicinal products. Blood donation is in this context then a special route of exposure. This text will present the current state of knowledge about the (un)safety of the use of medicinal products, including those that might be presented by blood donation in pregnancy. One must realise that to my knowledge there exists no literature or other data showing such hazard and risk. However, biological active substances might be transferred by blood donation into recipients. Hence, it will be important to understand the main issues in the field of reproductive and developmental toxicology. A recent guide about the safety of use of drugs during pregnancy and lactation is edited by Schaefer [1].


Blood Donation Medicinal Product Developmental Disorder Developmental Toxicity Reproductive Toxicity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. J. Peters
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University Medical Centre UtrechtUtrechtNL
  2. 2.Inspectorate for Health Protection and Veterinary Public Health’s-GravenhageNL

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