What is the blood type of a universal donor?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What is the blood type of a universal donor?” and provide information on how blood type is determined, how Type O can be considered a universal donor as well as how transfusion works.

What is the blood type of a universal donor?

The blood type of a universal donor is type O. Type O can be used for blood transfusions of any blood type. They are in high demand in hospitals and as a result, they can get quickly depleted.

Type O-negative blood is required for emergency transfusions or supplied to immunodeficient patients.

O-type blood is quite rare. This makes it more difficult to procure them. This is because only 37 percent of the world’s population is O-positive. O negative type is rare because it is present in only 7 percent of the world’s population.

How is a blood type determined?

Blood type is passed down to children genetically from parents. The blood type of the father and mother can determine the blood type of children.

Blood type of Parent 1Blood type of Parent 2Possible blood type of children
Blood type ABlood type BBlood type A, B, AB, or O.
Blood type ABlood type ABlood type A or O.
Blood type BBlood type BBlood type B or O
Blood type OBlood type OBlood type O
Blood type ABBlood type ABBlood type AB, A, or B
Blood type ABlood type OBlood type A or O
Blood type BBlood type OBlood type B or O
Blood type ABBlood type OBlood type A or O
Blood type ABBlood type ABlood type A, B, or AB
Blood type ABBlood type BBlood type A, B, or AB

What are antigens?

Antigens are a substance that can trigger your body’s immune system. Antigens are present on the surface of blood cells. If an immune system does not recognize these antigens, it can react to them.

The presence or absence of an antigen can help individuals determine their blood type. The absence of Rh factor (protein) can make your blood type negative. The presence of the Rh factor can make your blood type positive.

For instance, if there is antigen A on the RBC surface but no Rh factor, your blood type would be A negative. If there is antigen A on the RBC surface and Rh factor is present too, your blood type would be A positive. If there is no antigen present, your blood type would be O.

If you have Type B blood, you have type B antigen. If you have Type AB blood, you have both A and B antigens. 

Why is Type O considered a universal donor?

Type O is considered a universal donor. O negative is mainly considered a universal donor. This is because they do not contain an antigen and individuals with this blood type can donate blood to people with other blood groups.

However, individuals who have O-positive blood cannot donate blood to Rh-negative individuals.

As blood type O does not have any antigens, it is not attacked by antibodies. This makes them the universal donor. 

How does transfusion work in different blood types?

Blood Type A: Individuals with Type A can obtain blood from Type A and O. They can donate blood to individuals with Type A and Type AB.

Blood Type B: Individuals with Type B can obtain blood from Type B and O. They can donate blood to individuals with Type B and Type AB.

Blood Type AB: Individuals with this blood type can receive blood from all blood types. However, they can donate blood to individuals with Type AB only.

Blood Type O: Individuals with this blood type can donate blood to everyone. However, they can receive blood from Type O patients only. Blood transfusions are required during accidents, trauma, and organ donations.

How to check your blood group?

A lab technician can check your blood group. The technician would mix blood groups to see whether antibodies react. They can also check for clumping of blood cells.

The blood type is mixed with an anti-Rh serum. If your blood cells clump in reaction to anti-Rh serum, it indicates that it is Rh-positive blood. If the blood type does not react to Anti-A or Anti-B antibodies, your blood type can be O.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What is the blood type of a universal donor?” and provided information on how blood type is determined, how Type O can be considered a universal donor as well as how transfusion works.

Reference

https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-types.html

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