Maternal Rh D status, anti-D immune globulin exposure during pregnancy, and risk of autism spectrum disorders

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Sep;199(3):234.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.04.044. Epub 2008 Jun 13.


Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the association between maternal Rh D status, prenatal exposure to anti-D immune globulin, and the risk of autism in the offspring.

Study design: Case-control study among children born from 1995 to 1999 at Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals. Cases (n = 400) were children with an autism diagnosis; controls (n = 410) were children without autism, randomly sampled and frequency matched to cases on sex, birth year, and birth hospital. Maternal Rh D status and anti-D immune globulin exposure were ascertained from prenatal medical records.

Results: No case-control differences were observed for maternal Rh negative status (11.5% vs 10.0%, P = .5) or prenatal anti-D immune globulin exposure (10.0% vs. 9.3%, P = .7). Risk of autism remained unassociated with maternal Rh status or prenatal exposure to anti-D immune globulins after adjustment for covariates.

Conclusion: These data support previous findings that prenatal exposure to thimerosal-containing anti-D immune globulins does not increase the risk of autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical*
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / blood*
  • Rho(D) Immune Globulin
  • Risk Assessment
  • Thimerosal*


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System
  • Rho(D) Immune Globulin
  • Thimerosal