What is Rh factor?, Definition, Importance
What is Rh factor?
The Rh (rhesus) factor is a protein of about 417 amino acids that was discovered in a monkey named Macaca rhesus.
This protein is also found on the surface of human blood cells.
There are five types of Rh factors found in humans –
- Rh. D
- Rh. E
- Rh. e
- Rh. C
- Rh. c
About 85% of the human population in the world is Rh positive and 15% Rh negative. All Rh factors have Rh. D is most important because it is the most immunogenic.
At the time of donating blood, it is necessary to match not only the blood group but also the Rh factor.
Due to Rh incompatibility, there is a fear of blood clotting at the time of donating blood. This is also the cause of abortectomy.
Blood typing is determined by the molecules on the surface of the red blood cells (RBCs). In general, we can classify someone’s blood type by the absence or presence of A or B antigens and Rh factor on the surface of blood cells. The most commonly recognized blood groups are A positive, A negative, B positive, B negative, AB positive, AB negative, O positive, and O negative.
“The positive or negative sign next to the blood groups is known as the Rhesus (Rh) factor.” The Rh factor is an inherited protein that can be found on the surface of the red blood cell.
- If your blood type is positive, then your blood cells have the Rh protein.
- If your blood type is negative, then your blood cells lack the Rh protein.
Although Rh positive is the most common blood type, having a Rh-negative typing does not indicate illness and usually doesn’t affect your health.
Why Is Rh Factor Important?
The Rh factor is one of the proteins on RBCs used to indicate whether the blood of two different people is compatible when mixed – such as blood of a mother and her baby at birth.
It is routine and important that the Rh factor for a mother and unborn child be determined during pregnancy. If an expecting mother is Rh negative and her baby is RH is negative, there aren’t usually any concerns. Conversely if the expecting mother is RH negative and her baby is Rh positive, the mother’s blood might produce the anti-D antibodies. The effect of these antibodies on the development of the unborn child, who is Rh positive, are determined by many factors. There are medical interventions that can be taken under the supervision of a physician to protect the baby in utero.
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