Determination of fetal RHD type in plasma of RhD negative pregnant women

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Alloimmunization against the RhD antigen is the most common cause of hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn. Antenatal anti-D prophylaxis in addition to postnatal anti-D prophylaxis reduces the number of RhD-immunizations compared to only postnatal administration. Cell-free fetal DNA released from the apoptotic trophoblastic placental cells into the maternal circulation can be used to determine the fetal RHD type in a blood sample from an RhD negative mother. Based on this typing, antenatal anti-D prophylaxis can be recommended only to RhD negative women carrying an RhD positive fetus, since only these women are at risk of developing anti-D. The objective was to establish and validate a method for non-invasive fetal RHD typing. The fetal RHD genotype was studied in 373 samples from RhD negative pregnant women (median gestational week 24). DNA extracted from plasma was analyzed for the presence/absence of RHD exon 7 and 10 in a real-time PCR. The RHD genotype of the fetus was compared with the serological RhD type of the newborn. In 234 samples, the fetal RHD test was positive and in 127 samples negative. There was one false positive and no false negative results. In 12 samples, the fetal RHD type could not be determined, in all of them due to a maternal RHD gene. This method gives a reliable detection of fetal RHD positivity in plasma from RhD negative pregnant women. Antenatal anti-D prophylaxis based on the predicted fetal RhD type will avoid unnecessary treatment of pregnant women carrying an RhD negative fetus.


  • Kirsten Sørensen
  • Jens Kjeldsen-Kragh
  • Henrik Husby
  • Çiğdem Akalın Akkök
External organisations
  • Oslo university hospital
  • Regional Laboratories Region Skåne
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


  • blood typing, DNA, fetus, genotyping, immunization, newborn, pregnancy, prenatal diagnosis/methods, real-time polymerase chain reaction, RHO(D) antibody, Rho(D) Immune Globulin
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-416
JournalScandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation
Issue number5
Early online date2018 Jun 4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch