Routine testing of fetal Rhesus D status in Rhesus D negative women using cell-free fetal DNA: an investigation into the preferences and information needs of women

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The goal of this study is to investigate women's preferences and information needs for routine implementation of fetal Rhesus D (RhD) typing using cell-free fetal DNA.


A questionnaire was developed following focus groups and interviews with both health professionals and RhD negative (RhD−) women offered fetal RhD genotyping within a research study and distributed to RhD− women attending routine antenatal appointments in four National Health Service hospitals. Current knowledge of blood types, anti-D administration, fetal RhD genotyping and future practices were explored.


A total of 19 respondents participated in interviews and focus groups, and 270 respondents completed the questionnaires. Questionnaire respondents overwhelmingly felt that the test should be offered to all RhD− women (92.1%), and 75.9% said that they would accept this test. Most were happy to have the test even if it involved extra blood tests (89.3%) or appointments (79%). The knowledge of blood groups was poor. Although 90.7% knew that the baby could have a different blood group from themselves, only 34% knew that blood groups are inherited from both parents. More than 40% were not aware that anti-D would not be required if their baby was RhD−.


Women would welcome the introduction of routine fetal RhD genotyping. Information leaflets and training of midwives will be essential for implementation to ensure good understanding regarding testing. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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