Testing of maternal blood to determine fetal RHD genotype

The updated Guideline for the prophylactic use of Rh D immunoglobulin in pregnancy care was released in March 2024.   

The guideline includes a recommendation for non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for fetal RHD in all Rh D negative pregnant women to enable targeted antenatal Rh D immunoprophylaxis (Recommendation 9).

This recommendation is based on scientific evidence and consensus among clinical experts and is not a policy statement on funding and supply arrangements for the national provisions of NIPT.  NIPT is also known as non-invasive prenatal analysis or NIPA.

NIPT for blood group genotyping to determine the Rh D status of the fetus is provided by the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood) and publicly funded for high-risk pregnancies in the following categories: 

  1. High-risk Rh D negative pregnant women who are anti-D alloimmunised; 

  2. High-risk Rh D negative pregnant women with obstetric indications such as severe fetal maternal haemorrhage during pregnancy; or 

  3. Other unusual but rare scenarios such as allergy to the anti-D immunoglobulin. 

Requests to Lifeblood, for testing in these high-risk women must be from an obstetrician or other treating clinician. For more information on the test from Lifeblood go to Red cell reference| Lifeblood.

Lifeblood is approved to continue providing this test under the national blood arrangements for high-risk pregnancies until alternative services become available as part of the normal provision of pathology services. 

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, with support from Lifeblood, successfully applied to the Commonwealth Government for funding of a test in two settings under the usual Medicare arrangements. 

Further details are provided at  MBS online - MBS Online.

Further questions about availability of the test should be directed to your local pathology provider from your treating clinician.