Are You a “Thalidomide Baby”?

by | Jun 17, 2019

US Thalidomide Survivors, a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is looking for people born between December 1956 and December 1967 with defects possibly caused by their mother taking thalidomide in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Thalidomide was a popular sleeping pill approved for use in Europe, Canada and many other countries. Although it has since been characterized as a “morning sickness drug,” thalidomide was originally prescribed for insomnia, nausea, tension and other conditions caused by anxiety.

In an age of accidental overdose deaths from barbiturate sleeping pills, thalidomide was found to induce sleep with no risk of overdose.

When news of the drug’s devastating effect on unborn babies broke in Germany in November of 1961, thalidomide had not yet been approved for use in the United States. However, in July 1962, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that more than 1,200 American doctors had been “testing” the drug distributed as samples under the brand name Kevadon, since 1958. Still later, the FDA learned that another American drug company had distributed thalidomide to doctors for testing beginning in 1956.

When the FDA concluded its investigation on Sept. 22, 1964, they had received reports of 17 babies born in America with deformities caused by thalidomide. Eight of the 17 mothers had gotten the drug from sources outside the United States.

Unfortunately, most of the children with birth defects caused by thalidomide were never found by the FDA. Many mothers were shamed into silence. Others were unaware that the sample medication had caused their child’s injuries. Many U.S. thalidomide survivors have only learned in the past decade the true cause of their birth defects.

U.S. Thalidomide Survivors began as a private Facebook group in June 2016. Today, it provides information and peer support for thalidomide survivors born or currently living in the United States. An annual gathering is held in rotating regions of the United States. Members may also participate in groups and events with thalidomide survivors from around the world.

If you believe you or someone you know was born with defects caused by thalidomide, please email or call 612-440-1920.

For more information, please visit

John Marshall

Most of us participated in a guided tour of the US Capitol Building. Most impressive, in my opinion, was the Rotunda, the infamous domed circular room in the center of the Capitol. The historical paintings i.e., the Declaration of Independence along with the statues and busts of former presidents were impressive. BUT no one could resist looking up!

The conference was a jam-packed three days ending with a “roaming” dinner in the hotel. The term is used lightly, as it turns out, we have a party animal in our midst. Our fearless leader, JoJo Calora, had quite the set-up in his room. He had karaoke goin’ on. He also cranked up the tunes and blasted out heavy metal! Did you know there’s a song about thalidomide? It’s called “Prescribing Horror” by Exodus. You shouldn’t listen to it before you go to sleep. LOL! Fortunately, no neighbors complained, and fun was had by all. Although there was food, snacks, and drinks in three other rooms, people didn’t roam much. JoJo had the fun room! Can’t wait for next year!

Robert Gamble, JoJo and Elizabeth


We consider this conference successful! We are moving forward with our campaign and we can’t do it alone. We need YOUR help! Write your senators and representatives! Tell your friends what we have learned. One person could be the link we need to be heard. Be a part of our success story!

Need assistance with this process? Please call our info line (612-440-1920) and we’ll connect you with our legislative committee!