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Antenatal fetal rhesus D testing

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A non-invasive test to determine the blood group of the unborn fetus could spare women who have the rhesus D (RhD) negative blood group from unnecessary treatment, a health technology assessment has concluded.1

Around 6 in 10 women with the RhD-negative blood type who become pregnant will have babies with the more common RhD-positive blood type.1 If the woman’s immune system becomes sensitised to the baby’s blood (e.g. through entry of fetal red blood cells into the maternal circulation during pregnancy or childbirth), it can have life-threatening medical consequences in a subsequent pregnancy with a RhD-positive fetus. To avoid this, pregnant women who are RhD-negative are offered an injection of anti-D immunoglobulin to neutralise RhD-positive fetal red blood cells. Anti-D immunoglobulin is derived from donor plasma, which carries …

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