An HPLC method for the separation of seven cephalosporins [Cefepime (CEP), ceftazidime (CTA), ceftizaxime (CTI), ceftriaxone (CTR), cefotaxime (COT), cefixime (CIX) and cefoperazone (COP)l in human plasma and amniotic fluid has been developed. Optimization of the chromatographic method was performed in three steps: a series of initial experiments followed by two sets of experiments based on different experimental designs. The initial experiments were performed to decide the basic analytical requirements of the method. Then screening experiment fractional factorial design was used in order to decrease the number of parameters by eliminating parameters which having insignificant effect on responses. The parameters having significant effect were further optimized through a full factorial design. Having studied two responses (retention times and resolutions), a desirability function that assess the responses together. was used to find experimental conditions where the system generated desirable results. The desirable results were obtained with XTerra C18 (250 mm x 4.6 mm, 5 mu m i.d.) column, 40 mM phosphate buffer, pH 3.2, 18% MeOH, 0.85 mL min(-1) flow rate and 32 degrees C column temperature. Gradient elution with MeOH was applied. A simple and efficient solid-phase extraction was applied for the preparation of plasma and amniotic fluid samples. The validation parameters of the method were evaluated in accordance with ICH guideline. The method validated was applied to the analysis of CEP and COP in maternal venous. fetal venous and fetal arterial plasma. and to the analysis of CIX in maternal venous plasma and amniotic fluid. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.