There are certain blood types that are rare or unique on Earth. People who have a unique blood type can be found in all corners of the world. But, what are the rare blood groups exactly? To answer this question, we must first understand that a blood type is classified as ‘rare’ if a very small number of people have it. There are currently 33 recognized blood group systems and many are still undiscovered.
Blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a liquid called plasma. Your blood group is identified by antibodies and antigens in the blood.
Antibodies are proteins found in plasma. They’re part of your body’s natural defences. They recognize foreign substances, such as germs, and alert your immune system, which destroys them. Antigens are protein molecules found on the surface of red blood cells.
Red blood cells sometimes have another antigen, a protein known as the RhD antigen. If this is present, your blood group is RhD positive. If it’s absent, your blood group is RhD negative.
Learn about the rare blood groups
Rh-Null – Golden blood
Fewer than 50 people worldwide have golden blood or Rh-null.
The RhD protein as mentioned previously, only refers to one of 61 potential proteins in the Rh system. Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system. This not only makes it rare, but this also means it can be accepted by anyone with a rare blood group type within the Rh system.
This is why it is considered “golden blood.” Rh-Null blood group is considered incredibly important to medicine, but also very dangerous to live with. If an Rh-null carrier needs a blood transfusion, they can find it difficult to locate a donor, and blood is notoriously difficult to transport internationally.
Golden blood was first described in 1961, in an Aboriginal Australian woman. Until then it was believed that an embryo that didn’t possess all Rh blood-cell antigens would not survive.
Now, close to 43 people with Rhnull blood have been reported worldwide.
Also because Rhnull blood can be considered universal blood for anyone with rare blood group types within the Rh system, its life-saving capability is enormous. Because of which it is also highly prized by doctors and is given to patients only in extreme circumstances.
Bombay Blood group
The H antigen deficiency is known as the “Bombay phenotype”, written as Hh or h/h (also known as Oh’) and is found in 1 of 10,000 individuals in India and 1 in a million people in Europe. This blood phenotype was first discovered by Doctor YM Bhende in 1952, in Bombay (currently Mumbai), which is where it got its name from.
There is no ill effect with being H deficient, but if a blood transfusion is ever needed, people with this rare blood group can receive blood only from other donors who are also H deficient because a transfusion of regular group ‘O’ blood can trigger a severe transfusion reaction.
A person with a Bombay blood group can give blood to an ABO blood group person. However, they can’t receive blood from them. An Hh person can take blood only from its own blood type, that is Hh blood type. Bombay negative is rarer than Bombay positive.
The Lu(a-b-) phenotype or Lunull
The Lutheran blood group was initially described in 1945. It got its name because of a misinterpretation of the patient’s name, ‘Luteran’.
The Lu(a−b−) phenotype is extremely uncommon and is known to have three genetic backgrounds. Tests on 250000 blood donors show the frequency of Lu(a-b-) to be approximately 1 in 3000. So, this is a rare blood group!
AB negative is only found in 1 of every 167 people, making it one of the rarest blood type there
Is. What makes it a rare blood group are its genetic components that must come together to create a person with this blood type. A person with AB negative blood possesses both A and B antigens.
Additionally, people with AB negative blood are considered Rh negative. Children with this blood type must be born to parents who are both Rh negative, which is a recessive gene. Considering that, only less than 20 percent of the population has Rh-negative blood, and even fewer are AB negative. Therefore, a person with AB negative blood type is rare.
Are you one of those people who has one of the rare blood groups mentioned above or know someone who does? Given the rarity of each blood group, it can be extremely difficult to find the needed blood group in a medical emergency.
You can say bye-bye to such difficulty by downloading the iRelief app, that will provide you with the rarest of the blood group or connect you to a donor who carries it.
You can also sign up to be a blood donor on the iRelief app, and perhaps someday be able to help a fellow rare-blood carrier.
Download the iRelief app here: bit.ly/iReliefApps