antenatal screening programme

Blood group & RhD status and red cell alloantibodies

Haemolytic disease of the newborn, or rhesus disease, is a disease that affects babies. It occurs when antibodies in a mother's blood attack her baby's blood cells. It may cause jaundice, severe anaemia, heart failure and death.

Read more about rhesus disease on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in July 2006.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

Screening for blood group, RhD status and red cell alloantibodies is not currently recommended by the UK NSC. This is because:

  • there have been no clinical trials to compare screening to current practice
  • it is not known if the benefits of screening outweigh the harms

Although screening is not recommended, clinical practice guidelines are covered by NICE. All pregnant women should be offered blood tests as part of their antenatal care. Their blood group and RhD status will be tested for as part of this.

Supporting documents from the 2006 review

Evidence summary Blood group RhD status and red cell alloantibodies (2013)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2006

Next review estimated to be completed: 2021 to 2022.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Blood group & RhD status and red cell alloantibodies

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for organisation can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.