this is primate related. first discovered in rhesus monkeys, thus the designator - rH factor.
my wife is negative(boy, is she ever!), so she had to have the rhogam shots as well. this is the positive or negative on the the blood type. i am o+ and she is a-. my children are all positive - an O and two A's.
without the rhogam shot, the mother could develope anibodies to the opposite factor and thus endanger subsequent children.