Every year, the Blood Service collects thousands of plasma donations, which are used in the manufacture of a number of plasma products, including RhD immunoglobulin (also known as anti-D). RhD Immunoglobulin can only be manufactured from the plasma of a select group of donors. These donors are RhD negative and have the anti-D antibody. Very few people, and even fewer donors, have anti-D, so we rely on them for this important product.
Anti-D immunoprophylaxis prevents haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn in RhD negative pregnancies. On average, approximately 17 per cent of mothers in Australia will need anti-D injections during each of their pregnancies and after the birth of an RhD positive baby. Around 10,000 doses of anti-D are issued each month across Australia.
Over the last few years, the pool of anti-D donors has been shrinking in numbers due to natural attrition. The success of RhD Immunoglobulin prophylaxis and improved access to RhD negative blood, has resulted in a significant reduction in the development of anti-D in patients through pregnancy or following transfusion. This reduction has contributed to the decline in the numbers of donors with pre-existing anti-D. To ensure we have adequate supplies of RhD Immunoglobulin the Blood Service is searching for new plasma donors who have pre-existing anti-D.
If you have a patient who is RhD negative, and has the anti-D antibody, consider talking to them about becoming a plasma donor when they return to good health.
For more information, please download the information sheet 'Invitation to become an anti-D plasma donor' on: http://www.transfusion.com.au/fact_sheets under the Donors and Donation section.