AS a recipient of the Anti-D vaccination when she was pregnant, Wendy Longshaw understood its importance, so when the opportunity to join the Anti D program arose, the South Perth resident did not hesitate.
Mrs Longshaw is one of 19 people in the program, which uses donated plasma to provide lifesaving Anti-D injections for pregnant women with a negative blood type.
“I joined the program in 2012. I remember hearing how they needed donors and so I went along to an information session and thought ‘yes, I want to do this’,” she said.
“I’m rhesus negative and my first child was positive so I had the injection and for each of the next births I had it again.
“When I learned that I could help other people just like I had been helped, I thought it was great.”
Mrs Longshaw said she went into the Perth CBD Donor Centre to donate every two weeks.
“I’d encourage anyone thinking about joining the program to find out if they can,” she said.
What are Anti-D injections?
PREVENTATIVE Anti-D injections are given to all pregnant women with a negative blood type in case their baby has a positive bloody type.
Babies’ blood is tested at birth, so the injections are given before birth.
Seventeen per cent of the population in Australia have negative blood types.
A difference between the mother’s blood and that of her baby can be fatal for the baby.
During the birth of the first child, some blood from the baby may enter the mother’s bloodstream via the placenta.
If antibodies develop in the mother’s blood, they can attack future babies in utero, causing miscarriage or serious brain damage to the baby.
The Anti-D Program takes the blood of 150 special plasma donors, who already have an antibody that combats foreign blood.
When Anti-D is given to a mother during pregnancy and after the baby’s birth, it does the work for her, so her blood does not have to create its own antibodies.
This Anti-D plasma eventually ‘wears off’ meaning the mother would need further injections for any future pregnancies.