Children of Thalidomide



     Thalidomide, 13 10 2 4, is a drug that was originally used in 1957 to help relieve pregnant women of morning sickness. But, thousands of women in 46 different countries around the world started having babies with birth defects after taking Thalidomide. At first, nobody was able to directly connect Thalidomide to the birth defects. Although, in 1960, tests by scientists proved that this drug was the cause. Then, in 1962, Thalidomide was banned worldwide.[1] Years later, it was discovered that despite all of the birth defects it can cause, Thalidomide actually can help treat other diseases. It does this by blocking angiogenesis, the creation of new blood vessels in the body. It also blocks tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, which causes inflammation and fever. Thalidomide has been reported to help treat cancer tumors, behcet's syndromelupus, mouth sores, multiple myeloma, skin symptoms of leprosy, and tuberculosis.[2]


     The world was shocked when Thalidomide caused birth defects in places all around the globe. Not only by the horrible disabilities that it caused, but also by how many children and their families were changed by this. Some of the deformities that Thalidomide caused were missing limbs, flipper-like arms or legs, missing or deformed ears, crooked spinal chord, and deformed organs such as the heart. Imagine if your child was born with one of these abnormalities. As you can probably infer, this is a life-changing experience for the families of the victims. And, this crisis affected more than 12,000 families worldwide. Obviously, this was a big deal. From a child growing up with a birth defect's perspective, you would notice that you are treated unfairly. As Sukeshi Takkar tells a BBC interviewer, "I was different from other children. Fingers were pointed at my arms by other children and adults, and comments were made which made me upset." Kids growing up with serious deformities are often ignored by other people, teased, and left out and forgotten about while doing physical activities. In addition to all of that, teens with weaker or shorter limbs can't make plans with friends to do something such as watching a movie. They wouldn't be able to because they would need to plan out the times when they would need to use the bathroom, since they can't do it without help.[3]