Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G is a class Ib molecule with restricted tissue distribution expressed on trophoblast cells and has been proposed to have immunomodulatory functions during pregnancy. Soluble HLA-G1 (sHLA-G1) can be generated by the shedding of membrane-bound HLA-G molecules; however, three soluble isoforms also exist (HLA-G5 to -G6). During pregnancy, it is unknown whether there is a correlation between sHLA-G levels in maternal and fetal blood. In 246 pregnancies, we have measured the levels of sHLA-G1/-G5 in maternal blood plasma samples from gestational week 20 (GW20) and at term, as well as in umbilical cord blood samples. Soluble HLA-G levels declined by 38.4% in maternal blood from GW20 to term, and sHLA-G levels were significantly lower in maternal blood at term than in GW20 (P < 0.001). At term, the sHLA-G levels were significantly higher in maternal blood than in umbilical blood (P < 0.001). HLA-G levels in maternal blood in GW20 and at term, and in maternal blood at term and umbilical cord blood, were correlated (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01, respectively). This is the first large study simultaneously measuring sHLA-G in both maternal and umbilical cord blood. The finding that sHLA-G levels are significantly lower in fetal compared with maternal blood at term documents for the first time that sHLA-G is not freely transferred over the placental barrier. Soluble HLA-G levels in maternal and fetal blood were found to be correlated, which may be due to shared genetic factors of importance for production of sHLA-G in the mother and child, or it may support the theory that sHLA-G in the pregnant woman and the fetus is partly derived from a "shared organ", the placenta.