Haemolytic disease of the newborn

Other Names:
Foetal rhesus incompatibility
Rh factor incompatibility transfusion reaction

Haemolytic disease can be fatal to a newborn child. It is caused by the incompatibility of the mothers' blood with that of the foetus with respect to the rhesus factor. The most severe form of haemolytic disease, the edematous form, generally causes stillbirth, or death a few hours after birth (which is often premature). The icteric form, if not adequately treated, may cause brain damage and anaemia and retard the child's development. The mildest form, congenital anaemia, is curable if the necessary medicine and expertise is available. The risk of haemolytic disease increases with succeeding pregnancies, and also in pregnancies following abortion.


10 to 15% of the Irish population is rhesus negative.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST