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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Blood worth bottling

By Li Ying (Global Times)

10:27, January 10, 2012

Zhao Peng and Yu Shan were so swept up in the joy of preparing for the birth of their baby daughter that nothing prepared the couple for the result of mother Yu's routine blood examination. The test in June last year revealed Yu's blood type was rhesus (Rh)-negative. Though accounting for around 15 percent of Caucasians, at around 0.3 percent it is extremely rare among China's majority Han ethnic group, according to statistics from the Beijing Red Cross Society. Its scarcity has earned it the nickname of "panda blood" in Chinese.

An Rh-negative mother such as Yu carrying an Rh-positive baby can give rise to significant health risks if the baby's blood gets into the mother's bloodstream. Yu's immune system could react to the D antigen in her baby's blood as if it were a foreign invader and produce antibodies against it. This process, known as sensitizing, is not usually harmful in a first pregnancy, however Yu suffered a miscarriage in 2002 which increased the chance of her antibodies passing through the placenta and attacking her baby's blood cells, causing anaemia, jaundice or in severe cases, heart or liver failure.

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