It looks like a safe way to finally test the blood type of a fetus is here in order to determine whether or not a pregnant woman needs the Anti-D shot. Previously considered too risky, it seems there is an easy solution to tell the rhesus factor of an unborn child.
NICE is recommending a new test in pregnancy that could mean up to 40,000 women could avoid unnecessary medicines.
The test analyses the baby’s DNA found in its mother’s bloodstream to establish what blood group it is – if it’s different to that of its mother it can cause serious complications.
Currently all women whose blood tests show they are rhesus-D negative are given an injection of anti-D immunoglobulin to reduce the risk of potential problems in future pregnancies.
But only those whose baby is rhesus-D positive actually need it. However until now there has not been a reliable way of testing the rhesus status of the baby before it’s born.
By ensuring anti-D immunoglobulin, is only given to women who need it, the test has the potential to protect stocks of this finite resource and save the NHS more than £500,000 each year.
It could also spare around 40,000 women who currently receive anti-D when they do not need it because they are rhesus-D negative and so is their baby.