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This application is a service of the Singapore Government.

Health Sciences Authority

Donating Blood for Myself

In event that you are scheduled for surgery and might require a blood transfusion during the procedure, you can choose to donate blood for your own use beforehand.

Such a blood donation is known as Autologous Blood Transfusion (ABT).

Let's find out more about donating blood, from you to you.

Benefits of ABT

Patients may prefer to receive their own blood, rather than blood from a blood donor, for a number of reasons.

If you have an uncommon blood type, making a donation for yourself ensures that there will be blood that is suitable for you if required.

The risk of an allergic reaction will also be minimal as the blood is your own.

You will also avoid the additional risk of getting certain Transfusion Transmitted Infections such as blood borne viral infections (HIV, Viral Hepatitis). However improvements in donor blood testing has also markedly reduced blood-borne viral infection risks for HIV and viral hepatitis in donated blood, making donated blood a safe option too.

Risks Involved

The procedure for donating blood for yourself is safe and well-tested.

Are There Disadvantages To ABT?

Although ABT reduces the incidence of receiving donor (allogeneic) blood in adult patients undergoing surgery, surgical patients who opt for ABT may still have to be transfused with donated (allogenic) blood.

Patients who underwent pre-surgical ABT may also have significantly lower haemoglobin concentration prior to surgery, compared to patients who did not pre-donate blood. These patients may have a higher risk of anaemia and iron deficiency on the day of surgery.

In view of this, there are now fewer strong indications for autologous blood donation, but ABT remains a recommended option for the following groups of patients:

(a) Elective Surgery patients with a rare blood group or require transfusion with rare blood type red cells due to antibodies.

(b) Children with scoliosis requiring spinal surgery

Other patients are welcome to discuss the option of ABT with their surgeon to decide if this is a suitable option for them.

Eligibility

In order to make an autologous donation, you should:

  • Weigh at least 35kg;
  • Be less than 60 years old (if you are under 18, parental consent is required);
  • Not have any serious medical conditions such as heart/lung diseases or epilepsy;
  • Have a haemoglobin level of at least 12.5 g/dL before the donation.
    • For pregnant patients, the minimum haemoglobin for obstetric patients who opt for autologous donation has to be at least 11 g/dL. Their suitability and indication for autologous donation also needs to be first assessed by their attending obstetrician.
    • Autologous donation also should be performed in the 35th – 37th week of pregnancy, with close monitoring of fetal well-being during the procedure. This would usually need to be carried out in the labour suite of a hospital.
  • Have surface arm veins big enough to accommodate venous access.

When to Do It

You can make your donation as early as a few weeks, or as late as 3 working days before surgery, after which your blood can be stored for up to five weeks.

Should you require surgery urgently, you can still make a donation for yourself. Your blood will be collected by the hospital medical team in the operating theatre itself, just before your surgery, after which it can be stored for up to 24 hours.

How It Works

If you are scheduled to undergo surgery, you can consult your surgeon about making a blood donation for yourself. Please note that a fee is chargeable for such donations.

If you decide to make a donation, you will be given oral iron supplements to replenish the iron lost through the donation. These should be taken before, during, and for at least two weeks after your autologous donation.

On the appointed date, simply go to the Bloodbank@HSA or your hospital's Autologous Blood Clinic and make your donation. If more blood is needed, you can make further donations. Depending on how much blood you will need, your blood can be collected once every three days, but we recommend a rest period of 5 – 7 days between collections if possible.

As your surgery date approaches, the blood will be sent to the hospital for your own use.

If you need more information about ABT, please call us at 6213 0626.