This man's blood has saved 2.4 million babies

Australian blood donor James Harrison has made his last blood donation having helped save the babies of more than two million Australian women

He is estimated to have saved the lives of 2.4 million babies in Australia.

Harrison's naturally produced Rh+ antibodies can be used to intercept the baby's Rh+ blood cells from ever coming into contact with the mother's blood. His blood has special disease-fighting antibodies which medical professionals have used to develop an injection called AntiD, which combats against rhesus disease.

'Women were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage.

The illness develops when the pregnant women having Rh negative blood type carries baby having Rh positive blood, which the baby inherits from the father.

According to CNN, doctors are unsure why Mr Harrison has this rare blood type, but they concluded that it might have been triggered from the transfusions he received while a teenager, after his operation, which saved his life.

Blood donations saved his life, so he pledged to become a blood donor.

Harrison has donated blood more than 1,100 times.

The blood becomes sensitized when the positive RHD blood is exposed to the negative blood and causes the mother's immune system to produce molecules that will fight the infection, called antibodies, that will destroy the cells.

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The antibodies can continue attacking the baby's red blood cells for a few months after birth.

After a few years of donating, doctors were shocked to find that his blood contained an antibody that directly neutralizes rhesus disease: a unsafe condition in which a pregnant woman's blood attacks her unborn child. "The end of a long run", Harrison says as his blood flows from the crook of his right arm to the plasmapheresis machine at the Town Hall Donor Centre.

"I'd keep on going if they'd let me", he told the Herald. His blood has been used to create anti-D in Australia since 1967.

But he has already surpassed the donor age limit and the Blood Service made decision to protect his health. However, an extraordinary Australian man deserves a lot more than that.

Sensitisation happens when a woman with RhD negative blood is exposed to RhD positive blood, usually during a pregnancy with an RhD positive baby. Roughly 17 per cent of pregnant women receive Anti-D, including Harrison's own daughter. "I didn't think about it any further, and then looking into it a bit more, I found out about James and how unbelievable he is and how many donations he's made, and that it was all because of him".

The discovery of Harrison's antibodies was an absolute game changer, Australian officials said.

"All we can do is hope there will be people out there generous enough to do it, and selflessly in the way he's done", she said.

When most of the people retire, they are presented with a gold watch. Australia was one of the first countries to discover a blood donor with this antibody, so it was quite revolutionary at the time'. "I can't stand the sight of blood, and I can't stand pain".

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