81 year old Mr James Harrison retired from plasma donation last week after six decades of selfless, life-saving contributions.
James Harrison became a donor after he underwent chest surgery and received donated blood — he felt that he needed to pay it forward. His donations were critical to the success of millions of pregnancies and the lives of millions of babies as they contained antibodies that could be purified into anti-D.
If your blood type is rhesus negative you may need to have anti-D protection during pregnancy. Anti-D is a purified antibody harvested from human blood donors like James Harrison. It may be required when there are risks of blood mixing between you and your baby. For example, as a result of abdominal trauma, bleeding in pregnancy, amniocentesis and after delivery of your baby. It may also be given as a preventative medication at 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy for further protection. There are some circumstances in which anti-D may not be recommended for a rhesus negative woman, however these exceptions are best discussed with your medical practitioner.
We are deeply grateful to donors like James Harrison, who have enabled safer pregnancies and healthy babies.
Thank you James!