Blood Donation: Autologous

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People who are thinking about donating blood often have questions (Picture 1). Here are answers to the questions most often asked about donating blood for surgery.

What Is an Autologous Transfusion?

Although most transfusions are done using volunteer donor blood, patients may sometimes use their own blood for transfusion. An autologous (aw-TAHL-uh-gus) blood donation is made by the patient, usually before a scheduled operation. Then it is given back to the patient during surgery.  One or more units of blood are drawn from the patient and stored until the operation. Receiving your own blood is the safest method of transfusion.  

Making a Blood Donation

Benefits of an autologous transfusion include:

  • Less risk of the most serious transfusion reactions
  • Less risk of transmitting infectious diseases
  • Possibly less need for blood from volunteer donors.

Who Can Make Autologous Donations?

If a child is healthy and has a normal blood count, he may donate blood for himself with his doctor's approval.  In order to donate a full pint of blood, the patient must weigh at least 110 pounds. 

Does the Blood Get Tested?

Yes. Autologous blood is tested for HIV and hepatitis. It is then labeled for the patient's use only.

Is There a Fee for the Service?

Yes. There is an added cost because autologous donations are stored and kept apart from the community blood supply. The fees will be added to your child's hospital bill for every unit of blood donated. Even if your child does not have a blood transfusion, the extra cost of processing the blood will be charged.

When Can an Autologous Blood Donation Be Made?

  • The blood may be donated 7 to 40 days before it is needed.
  • Blood may be donated every 7 days if the child is taking iron supplements and has the doctor's approval.

How Does My Child Make an Autologous Blood Donation?

  • The doctor will fill out sections A, B and C of the "Special Collections Order" form and sections A and B of the "Medical Clearance" form and FAX these forms Nationwide Children’s Hospital Transfusion Service.
  • Call the American Red Cross to schedule an appointment at (614) 251-1450 (in Columbus) or 1-800-338-8086 (outside of Columbus).
  • Blood may be donated at one of these locations:

Carriage Place Donor Center, Dublin
2674 Bethel Rd.
(614) 326-2337

Westbelt Donor Center, Hilliard
4327 Equity Drive
(614) 334-0434

StoneRidge Donor Center, Gahanna
337 StoneRidge Lane
(614) 253-2740 ext 2354

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.

Blood Donation: Autologous (PDF)

HH-II-124 12/91, Revised 7/06 Copyright 1991-2006, Nationwide Children’s Hospital