Mycophenolate Mofetil (MMF)

Date: September 2021, Version 3

What is it?

Mycophenolate mofetil (‘mycophenolate’) is known as an immunosuppressant as it dampens the immune response. It is taken to prevent organ rejection in people who have received a transplant and is also used to treat autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and lupus.


What are the benefits of using mycophenolate in pregnancy?

Mycophenolate helps to stop your body rejecting a transplanted organ and improves symptoms in those with lupus and some skin conditions. It is only used in pregnancy in rare cases where a doctor believes that switching from this drug may lead to rejection of a transplanted organ.


What are the risks of using mycophenolate in pregnancy?

Mycophenolate can cause miscarriage and severe birth defects in the baby. These include ear, eye and other facial defects, heart malformations, problems with the diaphragm and oesophagus (gullet), and spinal and bone defects.

Women who are taking mycophenolate and at risk of becoming pregnant should use at least one form of reliable contraception during treatment and for six weeks after stopping.

Women who accidentally conceive while taking mycophenolate should contact their doctor or specialist urgently so that their medication can be reviewed.


Are there any alternatives to using mycophenolate in pregnancy

Yes, in most cases other medicines can be used in pregnancy to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ or to control autoimmune disease.

Women taking mycophenolate who are planning a pregnancy should talk to their specialist about other treatment options.

If your doctor has suggested that you continue to take mycophenolate during pregnancy, this is because they think that there is a high risk of transplant rejection if your medicine is changed. Your doctor will talk with you about the risks to your baby posed by continuing mycophenolate treatment during pregnancy.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to take medicines during pregnancy?

Your doctor will only prescribe medicines when necessary and will be happy to talk with you about any concerns that you might have. In women with transplants for whom mycophenolate treatment is stopped, it is very important that alternative anti-rejection drugs are taken during pregnancy. Alternative drug treatment may also be required in women who previously took mycophenolate for lupus or severe psoriasis to ensure that their condition is as well-controlled as possible and to avoid complications.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

As part of routine antenatal care, most women will be offered a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy to check the baby’s development. Women who have taken mycophenolate in early pregnancy may be offered more focussed scanning on the areas of the baby’s body that can be affected by mycophenolate exposure, and may be offered additional checks of the baby’s wellbeing.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has used mycophenolate?

There is currently no evidence that mycophenolate used by the father can harm the baby through effects on the sperm. However, as a precaution, the manufacturer recommends that where the male partner is taking mycophenolate, pregnancy should be avoided during treatment and for three months after the drug is stopped. When a pregnancy is being planned and the male partner takes mycophenolate, he should speak to his specialist about whether changing medication is the best option.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from

How can I help to improve drug safety information for pregnant women in the future?

Our online reporting system (MyBump Portal) allows women who are currently pregnant to create a secure record of their pregnancy, collected through a series of questionnaires. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, your pregnancy outcome and your child's development. You can update your details at any time during pregnancy or afterwards. This information will help us better understand how medicines affect the health of pregnant women and their babies. Please visit the MyBump Portal to register.

General information
Sadly, miscarriage and birth defects can occur in any pregnancy.

Miscarriage occurs in about 1 in every 5 pregnancies, and 1 in every 40 babies are born with a birth defect. This is called the ‘background risk’ and happens whether medication is taken or not.

Most medicines cross the placenta and reach the baby. For many medications this is not a problem. However, some medicines can affect a baby’s growth and development.

If you take regular medication and are planning to conceive, you should discuss whether your medicine is safe to continue with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant. If you have an unplanned pregnancy while taking a medicine, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please make sure that the person prescribing it knows that you are pregnant. If you have any concerns about a medicine, you can check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist.

Our Bumps information leaflets provide information about the effects of medicines in pregnancy so that you can decide, together with your healthcare provider, what is best for you and your baby.