Hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN) is a condition characterized by a decreased lifespan of fetal red blood cells caused by maternally produced allospecific antibodies transferred to the fetus during pregnancy. The antibodies bind to the corresponding blood group antigens on fetal red blood cells and induce hemolysis. Cell-free DNA derived from the conceptus circulates in maternal blood. Using next-generation sequencing (NGS), it can be determined if this cell-free fetal DNA encodes the corresponding blood group antigen that is the target of the maternal allospecific antibodies. This determination carries no risk to the fetus. It is important to determine if the fetus is at risk of hemolysis to enable timely intervention. Many tests for blood groups are based solely on the presence or absence of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Antenatal determination of fetal blood group by NGS analysis holds advantages over polymerase chain reaction (PCR) determination based on allele specific amplification.
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