Birth defects are defined as abnormalities of structure, function, or body metabolism that are present at birth. According to the March of Dimes, about 150,000 babies are born with birth defects each year in the United States. These abnormalities lead to mental or physical disabilities or are fatal. Birth defects have brought many areas of law together, such as medical malpractice, products liability, and employment law.
Drugs causing birth defects may give rise to a class action suit against the manufacturer. Thalidomide is a drug notorious for the birth defects it caused decades ago but that in recent years has proved effective against another blood cancer, multiple myeloma. Fetal protection laws exist in some areas to prevent pregnant female employees from harming the fetus.