R.V. Doon

Rare Blood: Rh null

If you opened this post hoping to read something new about Rh negative blood, you’re in the wrong place. This article is about incredibly rare blood that doesn’t have the Rh system or its antigens. Null means “nothing” and is vastly different from Rhd blood. Rh null blood means the gene for the entire Rh system is missing. Didn’t think that was possible for someone to have and live? Think again.

In writing the historical articles on Rh negative blood posted on my website here, here, here, here, and here . I went back to the lab when blood type was first discovered. In 2015, some writers and bloggers are still getting the terms mixed. I hoped to bust some myths because I’d noticed wrong terms, wrong knowledge base, and wrong conclusions all over the internet on the subject of Rh negative blood. With this article, I hope to add to the database of information that layman can use.

Rh null blood fascinated me from the get go after learning it existed. If anything, its presence reveals how capricious our DNA really is. Think about this. People with Rh negative blood can donate to people with RhD (positive blood within their blood type, but they  can’t take, the same RhD blood. However, Rh null blood donors can donate to anyone with any Rh negative blood type (A-, B-, O-, AB-). Unfortunately, Rh null can only receive blood from people who are also Rh null.

There are many blood systems that are null besides Rh, and these people are why there is a place called the American Rare Blood Donor program. There are one or two European sites as well. The null blood is used in research and they serve as a contact site that doctors can contact when they have a patient in need of a blood donation. Yes, the null blood is shipped world wide if needed.

 Remember null is rare; neg isn’t. Rh negative blood isn’t being tracked from the cradle to the grave, but Rh null is.

Rh nullL Rare blood

How were the people with Rh null blood discovered?

The effort to purposefully find them would be futile and expensive. For the most part they got sick, and their blood was cross matched. Or they were traced by researchers because another relative was diagnosed.

 What happens to the red blood cells for Rh null to occur?

Antigens in the Rh blood group system is expressed by two proteins: RhD and RhCE. For them to work properly, they need another glycoprotein called RhAG. RhD, RhCE, and RhAG together with LW glycoprotein, IAP, C47, glycophorin B, and maybe Duffy protein to form a core complex in the red cell membrane. This core group then transports NH4/NH3 and CO2/O2 across the membrane. This means they support the normal spherical structure of the RBC so it can deliver energy to the body. In Rh null blood, the integrity of the red blood cell forms into stomacytes. Normal red cells are disc shaped and cells with Rh null blood look like a stoma or ‘open mouth.’ People with Rh null are often anemic because their red blood cells are fragile. Read this great article on Rh null blood in The Atlantic. Notice how the writer correctly identifies the Rh system formerly known as “Rhesus.” That was great to see. I’ll celebrate when the Rhesus tag is eliminated from the vocabulary. Please share on your social networks and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please leave a remark in the comment section.

16 thoughts on “Rare Blood: Rh null

  1. wnettles

    Thanks so much for this informative post, as well as, the comments and replies. My daughter had surgery a number of years ago and I did not understand why she could not receive blood from others at that time. She may be Rh null. She is definitely O negative. I need to find out for her and let her know. I will be checking on that in the coming days.

    Again, thanks for the good work. Your efforts are well worthwhile and needed!



  2. Linda Henderson

    I was scheduled for surgery on May 8, 2017 and it had to be postponed because of all the complications and red tape to get my frozen blood from Douglasville, Georgia to Gulf Breeze, Florida. It may be months before it all gets worked out. In the meantime I am very uncomfortable without the necessary surgery. Nothing is easy when you have Rh Null blood. Does anyone know how many Rh Null Type A there are in the world? Linda Mackall-Henderson.

  3. Linda L. Mackall-Henderson

    I am the second known Rh Null. I am Linda Mackall Henderson. I was discovered by Carol English who worked for the Oscar B. Hunter Lab in Washington, DC when I was 20 and giving birth to my first child in 1963. Since then I have tried desperately to educate doctors who have just blown me off–if they never heard of this then it couldn’t be true. I appreciate all the work you have done to bring enlightment and truth to the internet and various web sites. My blood has been used for heart and liver transplants as well as for other reasons. I believe there might be a cure for blood disorders too it will take someone with resolve and vision to even explore this possibility. God bless you.

    1. marshala

      Hi there,..Ms. Linda…My name is Marshala,…I had recently discovered that I was rh_null, after my third child,….that was only because I accidently brushed it off the table,..before signing,..I really didn’t know what that little rh_null,..meant,…something told me to look it up,…..interesting subject,..who would have thought?!? How are you feeling these days,..I hope that you are doing good…..if you want to look me up on Facebook,….I’m Marshala Walters,…..Nice to meet you,……take care and take it easy,……ok.

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  5. Andrew Rooney

    Thanks for the personal info on Rh null. How has it been for you with that blood type? Do you worry? What about for operations. My character is going into a heart transplant. AR

    1. MM


      I know very little about the RH Null, and am grateful to see R.V. Doon’s website. I’ve learned quite a bit on this website already.

      The information below I had just copied and pasted from the Rh-Null report. It’s some of the genetic markers, Chromosomes, SNP’s etc.

      In regards to your question, I was also told that I would have to do autologous donations before having a surgery, and should consider banking my own blood. My doctor told me that the chances of blood being available for me were almost “null”. 🙂

      I try to be positive and proactive, rather than fear based, although it is challenging at times. I live a very conservative life, have only been married once, (never divorced but my husband passed away years ago) and we had 1 child. I have lived in my current home since 1999, and the one prior to this home for 12 years. I have always had full coverage medical, dental and vision (although it’s extremely expensive). Having most everything consistent is helpful.

      The few times in my life I’ve had extreme difficulties is after physical trauma, such as car accidents, someone t-boning or rear ending me 🙂 Luckily those things don’t happen often.

      I thought I was being proactive, when I recently purchased a 2014 Toyota RAV4, making sure to get the side curtain airbags, AWD, and all the other safety features. That was slightly problematic now that I know the airbags are defective. I still don’t know if I’m better off to have them on or off. So I do think about those types of things more than most people perhaps.

      I eat very healthy, and take wholefood supplements a 3-5 days a week. I made a conscious decision not to participate in down hill snow skiing & water skiing (high risk sports), but instead to do gentle exercise, swimming, yoga, brisk walking etc.

      Since both of you are writers, I should re-read what I wrote, but I’m going to eat instead! I hope that helps.

      Have A Great Day!

      Thank You

  6. R.V. Doon Post author

    Everyone thanks for your comments. The whole reason I started writing articles on Rh negative blood was because there are so many errors on the web. I admit I’ve gotten behind on the updates.

    AR-If you have a character who is really Rh null (hopefully you hit the link to the Atlantic article) then your character is in a world of hurt if he/she needs a blood transfusion:)) For planned surgeries your character would be asked to donate their blood ahead of time in case of need during the procedure. Your character couldn’t deep freeze their blood (for day to day in case something happens) either since there is an expiration date on stored blood. See State Blood donation standards.

    MM-You can email me under the contact me tab on my website. Please be advised I’m not an MD:))

    Note for all readers” Rh negative blood is often confused on the internet with Rh null blood. The two are not the same; hence the reason for the article.

    Thanks for adding to the conversation with your comments.

    1. MM

      I’m still reading everything I can find learning the terminology, working on consolidating the information, formatting etc..
      I am not a geneticist, and have not double checked these, please let me know if you see any errors! 🙂
      I am Type O, RH Null & also Lutheran Null”.

      RhCE – Rh-Null Chr1: 25,688,740-25,756,683 C>G

      RhAG – RH-Null Chr6:
      49,612,534 C>T
      (Regulator Type – Hemolytic Anemia)

      BCAM – Lutheran Null
      Chr19: 45,316,804 C>A

      DARC – Duffy Blood Group Chr1: 159,205,704 G>G

      SPTA1 (Rhesus Unlinked) Elliptocytosis, Pyropoikilocytosis & spherocytosis anemia) Chr1: 158,654,735 C>C

      SPTB – Hereditary Spherocytosis, elliptocytosis, anemia Chro:14 65,213,002 – 65,346,601

      FUT2 – Glycoprotein often associated with Bombay phenotype Chr19: 49,199,232 – 49,209,207

      Do any of mine match yours? I look forward to your reply!

      Have A GREAT DAY!

      1. R.V. Doon Post author

        MM, I sent you an email. I’m not sure what all your numbers meant, so I added some comments specifically for Rhag, Lutheran, and Bombay. Diving into the science is a long swim:))

  7. MM


    I was told years ago I was RH Null. I had no idea till last night how rare it was!

    I am also Lutheran Null, and stomocytes, etc. I have all of the markers, SNP’s etc.

    Your article on RH Null is awesome, thank you!

    I would love to be able to talk to you sometime. Please email me, when possible.

    Thank You!

  8. AR

    Sandra – I’m interested in knowing more about Rh null. I have a character in a story who has it. Who can you give blood to and who can give it to you? What do you have to worry about when you go to the hospital for an operation or just day to day? I have other questions but let’s start there. Thanks. AR

    1. MM

      So a person with both RH Null and Lutheran Null is going to have a more difficult time finding blood (unless maybe I’m missing something)?

      Is there a single website, that you know of, that I can search using my city and state, etc. to see if or what, “anonymized information” about my blood might be published?

      When people first have a basic ABO blood type done, how does it usually show? Does it just show “B” or just “O”, or does it have a “false positive” or “false negative”? It seems like I remember mine showing with a “false positive” or “false negative” at least once, then after they did the genetic testing, they found the null and the other markers. Of course they tested and re-tested & retested, etc. I also remember for many tests they incubated my blood at 37 degrees Celcius to get accurate results, they said.

      I look forward to your thoughts!

      Thank You – Have A Great Day!

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