Blood Donation


Why Donate? I am a Sri Lanks Red Cross blood donor that won’t give up.  I tried to give blood when I was 18, but was declined in both my junior and senior high school years. Once I got to college, I was deferred again. I was finally able to give blood and have given twice. I love donating blood. The thought of being able to help save three people’s lives every time I go makes me feel like a better person. Blood Donation Blood is the only organ that can be donated without having any permanent loss. This is because the donated blood will be recovered completely in maximum 4 months time.  In single blood donation about 450 mL of “whole blood” is taken out of the body. This amount is called a blood “unit”. It is called whole blood because it contains all the “components” as it is in the body. This whole blood is later separated into components in blood bank laboratories and stored in optimal conditions for each component. Components of Blood Blood consists of several components.

  • Cells – Red blood cells, White blood cells, Platelets.
  • Liquids – Plasma, Proteins

A donated whole blood unit is usually processed to following components.

  • Red Cell Concentrate. – used to treat patients with low red cell counts.

Eg: bleeding patients, Thalassaemia patients.

  • Platelets. � used to treat patients with low platelet counts.

Eg: Dengue patients.

  • Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP).
  • Cryopresipitate – used to arrest bleeding in patients with some bleeding disorders.

Who can donate blood? The person must fulfill several criteria to be accepted as a blood donor. These criteria are set forth to ensure the safety of the donor as well as the quality of donated blood.  Donor Selection Criteria

  • Age above 18 years and below 60 years.
  • If previously donated, at least 4 months should be elapsed since the date of previous donation.
  • Hemoglobin level should be more than 12g/dL. (this blood test is done prior to each blood donation)
  • Free from any serious disease condition or pregnancy.
  • Should have a valid identity card or any other document to prove the identity.
  • Free from “Risk Behaviours”.
  Risk Behaviours
  • Homosexuals.
  • Sex workers and their clients.
  • Drug addicts.
  • Engaging in sex with any of the above.
  • Having more than one sexual partner

 Type of Donors

  • Voluntory non remunerated donors. (donate for the sake of others and do not expect any benifit. their blood is considered safe and healthy)
  • Replacement donors. (donate to replace the units used for their friends or family members)
  • Paid donors. (receive payment for donation
  • Directed donors. (donate only for a specific patient’s requirement)

 Paid donors are no longer accepted by NBTS. Although still practiced in certain blood banks, replacement donation is to be discontinued soon. Replacement donation is still carried out in some blood banks due to the shortage of blood stocks. Asking patients for replacement donors will lead to more pressure on the relatives, who are already in stress and this inturn results in illegal paid donations. Directed donations are used in certain conditions such as in rare blood groups. NBTS is actively working to be perfect with 100% voluntory non-remunerated donations. At the moment the figure is around 97%. Blood Types The ABO Blood Group System  There are four major blood groups determined by the presence or absence of two antigens – A and B – on the surface of red blood cells:

  • Group A – has only the A antigen on red cells (and B antibody in the plasma)
  • Group B – has only the B antigen on red cells (and A antibody in the plasma)
  • Group AB – has both A and B antigens on red cells (but neither A nor B antibody in the plasma)
  • Group O – has neither A nor B antigens on red cells (but both A and B antibody are in the plasma).

Blood Types and the Population  O positive is the most common blood type. Not all ethnic groups have the same mix of these blood types. Hispanic people, for example, have a relatively high number of O’s, while Asian people have a relatively high number of B’s. The mix of the different blood types in the U.S. population is:

  Caucasians African American Hispanic Asian
O + 37% 47% 53% 39%
O – 8% 4% 4% 1%
A + 33% 24% 29% 27%
A – 7% 2% 2% 0.5%
B + 9% 18% 9% 25%
B – 2% 1% 1% 0.4%
AB + 3% 4% 2% 7%
AB – 1% 0.3% 0.2% 0.1%

  Some patients require a closer blood match than that provided by the ABO positive/negative blood typing. For example, sometimes if the donor and recipient are from the same ethnic background the chance of a reaction can be reduced. That’s why an African-American blood donation may be the best hope for the needs of patients with sickle cell disease, 98 percent of whom are of African-American descent.   How Is My Blood Type Determined?   It’s inherited. Like eye color, blood type is passed genetically from your parents. Whether your blood group is type A, B, AB or O is based on the blood types of your mother and father. This chart shows the potential blood types you may inherit. 

  Parent 1 AB AB AB AB B A A O O O
Parent 2 AB B A O B B A B A O
Possible blood type of child                        
O         X X X X X X
A X X X X   X X   X  
B X X X X X X   X    
AB X X X     X        

  * Note: If you have questions about paternity testing or about blood group inheritance, your primary care physician should be able to provide you with an appropriate referral. Testing difficulties can cause exceptions to the above patterns. ABO blood typing is not sufficient to prove or disprove paternity or maternity.   What Happens to Donated Blood?
Step 1: The Donation

  • Donor registers
  • Health history and mini physical are completed
  • About 1 pint of blood and several small test tubes are collected from each donor
  • The bag, test tubes and the donor record are labeled with an identical bar code label to keep track of the donation
  • The donation is stored in iced coolers until it is transported to a Red Cross center

Step 2: Processing

  • Donated blood is scanned into a computer database
  • Most blood is spun in centrifuges to separate the transfusable components – red cells, platelets, and plasma
  • The primary components like plasma, can be further manufactured into components such as cryoprecipitate
  • Red cells are then leuko-reduced
  • Single donor platelets are leukoreduced and bacterially tested.
  • Test tubes are sent for testing.

Step 3: Testing

  • Steps 2 and 3 take place in parallel
  • The test tubes are received in one of five Red Cross National Testing Laboratories
  • A dozen tests are performed on each unit of donated blood – to establish the blood type and test for infectious diseases
  • Test results are transferred electronically to the manufacturing facility within 24 hours
  • If a test result is positive, the unit is discarded and the donor is notified. Test results are confidential and are only shared with the donor, except as may be required by law

Step 4: Storage

  • When test results are received, units suitable for transfusion are labeled and stored
  • Red Cells are stored in refrigerators at 6ºC for up to 42 days
  • Platelets are stored at room temperature in agitators for up to five days
  • Plasma and cryo are frozen and stored in freezers for up to one year

Step 5: Distribution
Blood is available to be shipped to hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  _____________________________________________________________________

Did You Know?


3 Responses

  1. FOMS21USJP says:

    Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura has organized a blood donation Campaign.

    Date: 3/4/2012
    Venue: First Floor, Sri Sumangala Hall, of University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

    If You Are A Healthy Individual Over 18 Years Of Age, Weighing Over 50 Kg, then You Can Donate Blood.

    21st Batch
    Faculty of Medical Sciences

  2. Sadini says:

    Im 16,and my weight is can I donate blood?

  3. yes, please contact to SLRCS any division.

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