In 1969 I was born in Mannheim, Germany without any complication other than the doctor needing to use the forceps as I didn’t want to leave the womb. My mom’s blood type is A negative as is mine, so it was a smooth pregnancy without any issues. Throughout my childhood my mother would tell me about the many miscarriages that she has had before me and how she considered me a miracle until she switched the tone towards the rh negative blood factor which became an issue that almost killed her during her pregnancy with my sister. In Germany the standard procedure was that an rh negative woman receives the Anti-D shot after the first pregnancy with an rh positive child and since I was rh negative like her, there was nothing given to her and no antibody screening was performed to see whether or not she might carry the antibodies already for whatever reason. They simply decided she cannot have them, even though the 5 miscarriages before becoming pregnant with me should have been reason for alarm that something wasn’t right. Standard procedures can be quite harmful as they often are created within the beginning of a new discovering when the knowledge of those coming up with them is not complete as it will usually take a few years to become. Scientists are often quite adventureous, but I have found medical professionals to often be very unflexible and defiant when it comes to listening to common sense concerns from their patients. All of this of course has happened over 40 years ago, but a similar attitude is persistent to this day as for example I am now going to issue you the likeliest cause to what changed my family’s life for the worst after consulting several scientists and medical professionals willing to have a real discussion about it:
My mother is rhesus negative, but her mother is rhesus positive and it is possible that the same way blood mixing between the fetus and the mother can cause rhesus incompatibility resulting in erythroblastosis fetalis, an rh negative fetus can begin building the antibodies against the rh positive blood of the mother. 9 months in the womb is not long enough to do damage, but by the time the baby girl is grown up to have children on her own, she already has the antibodies meaning she needs to get the Anti-D shot before the pregnancy which was not done.
Long story short:
My mother almost died during her pregnancy and my sister was born with a severe learning disability.
While others have had the attitude that the doctors are always right, I sensed back then that they screwed something up and that there was far too little attempt to understand what and why it actually has happened.
My whole life I was bored with learning in school but always fascinated with subject matters I couldn’t get easy answers to, so when the internet came along, a part of me woke up of which’s existance I was previously unaware.
I have started a Facebook page called “People with Rhesus Negative Bloodtype” 7 years ago and the purpose was to share what I was learning, learn more through the comments of the members and connect rh negative people worldwide, so whenever someone needed a donor that is rh negative, we had the power to put it out there knowing the chance was high someone from that region or close to it would at least share it until the closest compatible person reads it and contacts us back.
Since then rh negative support groups have been born all over the world, especially in Indonesia where now we are more or less functioning in that regard just in cases of emergencies.
What I have learned from my friends in Indonesia was that before they started their organization, you were more or less at the mercy of doctors who often didn’t take the need of rh negative women that seriously considering that only 0.5% of the country is rh negative while for example in Europe the percentage reaches around 16%.
“Sorry, your baby won’t make it” was often the quick answer before consulting with someone who knew more about in situations of rh factor incompatible pregnancies and even when rh negative individuals needed a transfusion, they were often given rh positive blood and died as a result of that.
“Let’s try it, maybe it goes well” seems to have been a common attitude.
The medical industry never put the right effort into educating and fixing this, but Rhesus Negatif Indonesia (RNI) was born and the members are doing it for themselves when even the Red Crescent Indonesia did nothing to help or assist.
This is the spirit it takes to get things done when they need to get done and hoping and waiting for others to do it for you will always result in endless delays often with casualties that could have been avoided.
Blood types in general are quite interesting to me as I believe they point towards common ancestry. Most, if not all native American tribes were blood type O positive indicating it would have been that there once was a society of only rh negative people.
Southeast Asia was likely 100% rh positive as well originally with the rh negative blood factor moving in at a later time through westerners.
Aside from connecting rh negative individuals worldwide, I have also had the priviledge to assist award-winning bacteriologist Professor Jaroslav Flegr from the Charles University of Prague in a study resulting in our paper called
“Worse Health Status and Higher Incidence of Health Disorders in Rhesus Negative Subjects” which can be seen here:
I do not have a medical degree but spend every day researching and am absolutely disgusted with the indifference of such a high percentage of those considered qualified by training to make decisions that can mean life or death.
So what has to happen next?
On my page “Rhesus Negative Friends and Organizations Worldwide” at http://www.rhesusnegative.net/staynegative/rhesus-negative-friends-and-organizations-worldwide/ you can find a few organizations in low-rh-negative countries dedicated to ensuring blood supply for everyone with a rare blood type.
The rarest blood type called the Bombay Blood Group, or Oh (blood type O, but missing the H antigen), which can only receive blood from other Bombay Blood Group carriers, has such a low frequency of occurance that there are literally but 5 individuals known worldwide who are Oh- or Bombay negative.
These people can only receive blood from either of the 4 others. But guess what: My friend at Bombay Blood Group on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/bombaybloodgroup/ ) are always ready to assist with that and they are in touch with one of those 5 individuals.
It is important that awareness is being raised and travellers can help with that. So can foreign consulated which from time to time are being called by local hospitals in hope that they have a database of rh negative expats from their countries available for an emergeny donation.
Again: Waiting for someone to do it for you is not wise, but forcing them to act by spreading the news of necessity and leading an example can work wonders.
If you are a traveller to any of those countries I have listed, then why not contact those guys. Let them know you appreciate them and feel free to donate blood for them.
This is now an international movement and it leads to so much more than just life and good health.
Rh negative people are a minority especially in those countries and I am sure you will be welcomed with nothing but affection.
We cannot live with the regrets of the actions others before us have affected us with. But we can learn from it and steer the world into a better future.
And knowing that blood is life and some of us require more care than others will help teach us humility, our own limits and the difference that we can make when we do something for the right reason simply because we cannot stand seeing other people suffer the way we did.