Directed Donation of Blood

Blood donation is a critical process that helps to save millions of lives worldwide. Blood transfusions are required by patients undergoing medical treatment, surgeries, and other medical procedures. Directed blood donation is a type of blood donation where a donor gives blood for a specific individual, usually a friend or family member, who needs a transfusion. In this article, we'll discuss what directed blood donation is, how it works, and why it's important.

Is directed donation worth it?

What is Directed Blood Donation?

Directed blood donation is a process where a donor gives blood that is reserved for a specific recipient. The blood is collected and tested in the same way as regular blood donations, but it is designated for the specific recipient. The donor and recipient must have compatible blood types, and the donor's blood must meet the requirements for transfusion to ensure that the recipient receives the correct blood type.

How Does Directed Blood Donation Work?

Directed blood donation is a process that involves several steps. First, the donor must be identified and screened to ensure that they are eligible to donate blood. They must also have a compatible blood type with the recipient. Once the donor is identified and screened, the blood is collected and tested for infections and other health conditions.

The collected blood is then labeled and stored specifically for the recipient. The recipient must also undergo screening to ensure that they are healthy enough to receive the transfusion. Once the blood and the recipient are deemed suitable, the transfusion can take place.

Why is Directed Blood Donation Important?

Directed blood donation can be crucial for individuals who require regular transfusions or have rare blood types. In some cases, regular blood donations may not meet the specific requirements of the recipient, and directed donation may be necessary. It can also be essential for patients who have developed antibodies that react to most donated blood, making it difficult to find a suitable match.

Moreover, directed blood donation can offer emotional support to the recipient and their family, as it allows them to have a sense of control over their treatment process. It can also give the donor a sense of satisfaction, as they can see the direct impact of their donation on someone they know and care about.

Is Directed Donation Recommended?

Directed donation is not advised in most cases because it may not provide any additional benefit compared to regular blood donations. Regular blood donations go through extensive testing and processing to ensure they are safe for transfusion to anyone who needs them, regardless of whether they are directed donations or not.

In addition, directed donation can be problematic if the donor's blood is not a good match for the recipient, or if the donor is unable to donate for any reason. This can lead to delays in transfusion and can potentially cause harm to the recipient if they are in urgent need of blood.

Furthermore, some experts argue that directed donation may create a false sense of security among recipients and their families, leading them to believe that directed donation is safer or more effective than regular blood donations. In reality, regular blood donations are the safest and most effective way to ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need.

How do I start the process of Directed Donation?

Contact the Blood Bank at the hospital in which the recipient patient will be receiving the possible transfusion. A Blood Bank / Transfusion Medicine Pathologist (A medical doctor) will initiate the beginning stages of the Directed Donation consult and get the ball rolling on the entire process.  Where you donate will be up to what the Blood Bank allows and has set up. Some hospital Blood Banks have their own donation center. Others will allow donors to donate at a local Blood Center and have them ship the blood to the hospital after donation.

What happens to the donated blood if the recipient doesn't need it? 

It will expire on shelf. Directed Donation blood cannot be given to anyone else except for the intended recipient.