Rare Blood Type in China

For foreigners with uncommon blood types, China’s recent medical advances has good news!

Hospitals in Jiangxi province felt very uncomfortable dealing with uncommon blood types back in 2012. When doctors learned I had B-negative blood, they strongly recommended I deliver my baby in Hong Kong or back in my home country. Having a baby on mainland China was simply not a viable option for me at that time.

By the time I delivered my son in 2016, third-level cities in China were comfortable accepting me as a patient. They assured me it was safe to deliver in a Wenzhou private hospital since my mother (who passed on her rare blood type to me) was present at the time of the baby’s birth. In case of an emergency, she gladly volunteered to donate blood should I need it. A nearby hospital also had a machine on hand that could clean and recycle a patient’s blood to give back to her in case she lost a lot of blood.

As of November, 2019, Wenzhou hospitals offer an even safer option for mommies-to-be. Three weeks before your due date, the hospital will remind you it’s time to begin donating your own blood in event of an emergency. This is by far the best way to ensure you have blood that will match your own body’s needs! Even if you find another donor with the same blood type, there’s a strong chance your body could develop chronic and/or acute GVHD (graft versus host disease) where T-cells from the donor blood attack your own blood cells, causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

Your own blood can be stored for 21 days, whereas donor blood can be stored for 35 days. Doctors and nurses test to make sure you are not too anaemic before drawing small amounts of blood (200 cc) at a time. If your iron levels drop too low, the doctors fill out a prescription for an iron supplement to boost your blood supply so your body is ready to deliver your baby.

While perhaps a bit more complicated than mommies who have Rh-positive blood, it’s nice to know that China has expanded options for mommies that don’t fit the norm!

For more about RhoGAM, a medicine frequently administered to Rh-negative moms during pregnancy and after birth, please read https://www.havingababyinchina.com/expertblog/rhogam-in-china-its-complicated/.


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Rachel Vanstrien

Rachel is an American expat currently living in Wenzhou, China, with her husband and three children. She and her husband moved to China 2012 and have lived in Jiangxi Province and Zhejiang Province. Rachel enjoys teaching, singing, playing piano, drinking tea, reading and camping with her family. She is passionate about education. You can check out her website at www.outoftheboxpreschool.com!

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