Other Blood Services
Autologous blood is blood that you donate for yourself. This service is provided at a fee. Before you come to the hospital for any elective surgery that may require a blood transfusion, you may donate your own blood and store it for use during your surgery. Although this procedure decreases the extremely small risk of contracting a disease from a blood transfusion or experiencing a reaction due to a transfusion, it must be weighed against the potential consequences of donating.
There are certain medical conditions that may prevent you from donating your own blood. If you are anemic, have unstable heart disease, or an infection, regulations prohibit the collection of your blood. Talk with your doctor or the Blood Center medical director to decide if autologous donation is appropriate for you and how many units should be collected. If medically appropriate, ask your doctor to write an order for autologous donation.
Your final unit of blood should be donated at least five working days before your surgery so your body can restore normal blood volume and allow time to complete all the necessary testing. Your autologous blood can be stored 35 days.
If you cannot donate your own blood, you may choose to have friends or family members donate for you. This service is provided at a fee.
Many people feel that this blood involves fewer risks than blood collected from volunteer donors. This perception is not supported by statistics, which indicate that directed donor blood carries a potentially higher risk for disease transmission or transfusion reaction than volunteer blood. The reason is the chance that someone known to the patient may not wish to disclose medical history or high-risk lifestyle practices that would ordinarily disqualify him or her from giving blood. Because of these statistics, directed donor units are not released to the regular volunteer pool and are destroyed if unused.
Husbands are not allowed to donate for wives who are capable of future pregnancies. Such transfusions can initiate serious incompatibilities between the mother and her future baby's blood (hemolytic disease of the newborn).
Also, transfusions of blood from blood relatives (fathers, mothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, sons, and daughters) may initiate graft-versus-host disease, which is potentially fatal. This condition is prevented by irradiating the blood before transfusion.
If you choose to receive blood from a directed donor, your doctor must order the procedure. You must also sign a patient consent for directed donation stating the names of those you wish to donate for you. Directed donors must meet all the regulations of a volunteer donor. Directed donation appointments must be arranged with the Blood Center at least five working days before the transfusion date to allow time for all routine testing.
The Blood Center provides therapeutic phlebotomy, the removal of whole blood from a patient. This procedure is normally done to lower the blood count. Hemochromatosis and polycythemia vera are the most common conditions treated with therapeutic phlebotomy. A therapeutic draw removes about one pint of whole blood for each treatment. The number of treatments is determined by your doctor and he or she must write an order for this procedure.