Autologous Donations

What is Autologous Donation?

Autologous blood donation is the process of donating your own blood, then having it safely stored, and given back to you during or after an anticipated surgery or procedure.

How do I know if I’m able to donate for myself?
Your physician and/or our Medical Director will determine your eligibility. If you are not eligible to donate blood for others, you may be eligible to donate for yourself. There are no age limitations with autologous blood donations. The same infectious disease testing is done on autologous blood donations as volunteer, blood donations. Being positive for some infectious disease markers may make you ineligible for an autologous donation.

How much blood can I donate, and how often?
This depends on your physician’s request and when your surgery is scheduled. Red blood cells can be refrigerated for up to 42 days. Autologous donations may be scheduled weekly, and optimally should be completed seven days prior to your surgery.

Why can I donate for myself more often than I could as a regular blood donor?
Guidelines from the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks), a national accrediting agency, allow patients with a lower than normal hematocrit level (the amount of iron in your red cells) to become autologous blood donors. Your physician and our Medical Director, have found short-term autologous donations to be safe. Before each donation, we check your hematocrit level and, if necessary, prescribe iron supplements.

What happens when I come in to donate?
We will evaluate your health, checking your pulse rate, temperature, iron level and blood pressure, to determine a safe donating schedule. After your blood is drawn, you will receive refreshments.

Is there a charge for autologous donations?
Each autologous unit is charged a special service fee plus the normal blood processing fee. These fees cover the additional staff time needed to schedule and serve you, and to handle your blood in a special manner outside normal processing procedures.

We bill these charges to the hospital where your surgery is performed, and then the hospital charges you or your insurance company. If your blood must be shipped to a hospital outside our service area, you may be responsible for all charges including processing, special handling and shipping fees. Please remember, you are financially responsible for all blood product fees in the event that your surgery is cancelled.

What if I can’t donate blood for myself?
If you are unable to make autologous donations, we will supply volunteer, donor blood for you. 

Bob Grant