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Frequently Asked Questions about Blood Donation

Why is one not allowed to donate blood before attaining the age of 18 years?
Physiologically there is no harm if one satisfies otter conditions for blood donation. 18 being the age of consent in our county, the reason is legal.

Can one donate blood after 60 years of age if he/she is physically fit?
Yes, medically speaking, there would be nothing wrong.

Then why people above 60 years of age are not allowed to donate blood in India?
With ageing, blood vessels start constricting. Bloodletting from constricted veins may lead to unnecessary pressure on hear resulting in many physiological problems. It is not known at what age blood vessels start constricting. It varies from individual to individual. Therefore, arbitrarily the retiring age is considered as the age of cutoff for blood donation.

Can one donate blood if one’s body weight is less than 45 kg?
Not desirable. But in extreme emergency, a margial difference in weight to the tune of 1 to 2 kg is not harmful, so long as body weight x 8ml is above or equal to the volume of donation.

Why blood is not collected from a person having a haemoglobin content of less than 12.5 gm/l00ml?
The stipulated haemoglobin content of 12.5 gm/100 ml for a donor is the standard for a healthy person. Persons having lessHb content than the prescribed one cannot be treated as healthy donor having sufficient Hb for donations and hence are not allowed to donate blood. Further, blood weak in Hb content does not help the patient much in carrying oxygen to cells.

Why 3 months’ interval has been stipulated though donated blood is recuperated within 21 days?
As an additional precautionary measure for safety of donor.

What physical tests are performed before blood donation?
weighing Hb estimation (copper sulphate solution method) Measurement of blood pressure Checking heart beats, condition of liver, lung and spleen.

What laboratory tests are performed in blood bank for each bag of collected blood?
Jaundice (Hepatitis B & C) · Malaria · HIV (AIDS) test · Venereal disease (STD) · Blood Group · Before issuing blood, compatibility tests (cross matching) are done.

Why the above laboratory tests are not performed before donation?
They are time consuming tests, and if performed in camp before donation, there will be excessive delay in disposal of donors, and the disgusted donors may leave the camps and refrain from donating blood for ever. Besides, post donation tests are mandatory.

Blood is collected from a vein. Naturally, it is rich in carbon dioxide content. What purpose does it serve? Why is blood not collected from an artery to get blood rich in oxygen content?
Though the blood collected from a vein is rich in carbon dioxide, it is transfused in the vein of the recipient and is automatically oxygenate in course of normal circulation and therefore serves the required purpose. Blood is not collected from artery for the following reasons: · Veins remain in the upper surface of the body muscle and can be easily identified while arteries remain in the subsurfaces and therefore cannot be easily identified. · Blood pressure in vein is low compared to that in artery. Puncturing of artery causes bleeding at higher pressure and velocity leading to trouble in stopping the bleeding after donation which is not a problem in case of vein. It is easier to pierce a vein.

Is there any chance of contracting blood communicable disease by donating blood?
No, since sterilised disposable bleeding sets are used.

What is AIDS? Is there any chance of contracting AIDS by donating blood?
AIDS is an abbreviation for Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, which reduces the inherent power of the defence mechanism of human body. As a result, the affected person suffers from other ailments, which may be fatal. No. there is no chance of contracting AIDS by donating blood, since disposable bleeding sets are used.

Will my blood group be the same as that of either of my parents?
May or may not be exactly. But there should be a sort of relationship. We inherit our blood group from our parents by random combination of one gene from each of the parents. Dominant genes (A, B) prevails over recessive gene (O).

Does the blood group of a particular person change with time?

What is Rh factor?
Rh factor indicates the presence or absence of an organic compound in the membranes of red cells of human blood, similar to that present in the membrane of the red cells of Rhesus Macacusmonkey. Those having the compound are denoted as Rh positive and those without such compound are denoted as Rh negative.

How long can blood be preserved in a blood bank?
In India blood is normally preserved in blood bank for 35 days using CPDA or CPDA1 solution as anticoagulant.The maximum life span of RBC is 120 day.

Why is then blood is preserved in blood bank for only 35 days?
Donated blood contains cells ranging from 1 to 120 days’ life span. Naturally, cells having such varied life spans cannot be preserved for 120 days in the bag since in that case there will only be a few living cells Present. In order to get a considerable number of living cells present in the blood for transfusion, 35 days shelf life has been found to be optimum with CPDA and CPDA1 solution on the basis of various experiments. Furthermore, cells which can remain alive for 120 days within the human body cannot survive for such period in an artificial environment.

Will there be any good if blood is transfused to a patient on the 34th day after collection from the donor?
It will serve the purpose of volume expander. There will still be a considerable number of living red cells present in the bag which will be able to carry oxygen to the cells and bring back carbon dioxide.

The blood collected from the vein may contain dead cells. Will there be any good by transfusing this blood?
The blood collected will contain cells of various life spans. A considerable portion will certainly be living cells which will serve the purpose.

Often on tendering the blood donor’s card, blood is not being made available from the blood banks and then what is the use of donating blood?
Donation in the real sense of the term is unconditional and without any string. Further, the credit card is given to the donor as a recognition and to meet the donor’s own future need or the need of the donor’s near relatives, who have no other alternative but to depend only on the donor to meet his/her blood need. It is expected that 10-15% donor cards would be tendered. If all the cards are tendered, then blood banks would not be able to honour cards in view of existing gap between demand and supply, as blood banks have to issue blood to serious patients also who have no cards at all. One should remember blood donors are not depositors. If there are enough donors, everybody should get blood in time of their need.

Why commercial blood banks are not being banned by legislation?
Without organising voluntary blood donor base and the culture of voluntary blood donation in the community, mere banning of commercial blood banks will not solve the problem. Rather, the actual gap between the demand and supply will only lead to the establishment of more illegal commercial blood banks.

Is it true that the donated blood in blood bank is wasted unused?
No it is just a myth and the story is cooked up by vested interest. Question of wastage does not arise when a big gap between demand and supply exists.

Is there any corruption in blood bank?
So long as there is a gap between demand and supply and people are afraid to donate for their near and dear ones, chances of corruption may be there. The only way to combat possible corruption in this specific area is to step up voluntary blood donation in a big way.

Which are the states of India where blood donation movement can be palpably felt?
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana at present.

Which country of the world has the best blood transfusion service totally dependent on voluntary donors?
U. K., Canada and Australia.

What is the blood need of India and how is it met?
8 million units per year. Total collection is 4 million units. 2 million units by voluntary donors, 2 million units by relative and exchange donors.

What is the harm if blood donation is made compulsory?
It has been observed that common people are apathetic to compulsion. The people should be motivated and inspired to donate blood voluntarily. Compulsion may lead to hatred towards the cause, which does more harm than good to the movement. Only sustained painstaking motivational programme based on education can help the country to achieve total voluntary blood programme. Moreover, blood collected from people donating under compulsion may not be safe.

We have read in the science journals about artificial blood. What is it? Can it be used for transfusion as a substitute for human blood?
The research is still in a preliminary stage. The term ‘artificial blood’ is a misnomer as blood has various functions. The so called ‘artificial’blood can only carry oxygen to the cells and bring back carbon dioxide in a limited way but cannot perform any other function of blood at all. Further, this so called substitute is quite costly.

Why does blood coagulates when it comes outside the body but does not coagulate inside the body?
Secretion of heparin by WBC inside the body prevents blood coagulation. But when tissues are wounded resulting in bleeding, a series of reactions takes place in the bled blood which ultimately forms a fine mesh of hard fibre within which the blood cells are trapped and the blood is thus clotted.

Who can give blood?
Anyone between 18 and 60 years of age and in normal health having a body weight of 45 kg. or more and a haemoglobin content no less than 12.5 gms/hundred ml can be a donor.

Does it take long time to donate blood?
It should take up not more than 20 minutes of time including time for rest and taking refreshment.

How much blood do you take?
Blood banks take only 350 ml of blood as your gift of love.

Why is my finger pricked before donation?
To estimate “haemoglobin” content in blood. This is the component of the red cells which transport oxygen in the human body to all the organs and tissues. If the level is low, it is not wise to give blood.

What is the liquid in the bag into which the blood is taken?
It is called anti-coagulant and prevents the blood from clotting. It also helps to preserve the blood cells. It is known as CPDA (Citrate, Phosphate, Dextrose, Adenine) solution.

How often can one give blood?
Not more than once in 90 days.

Is blood donation very painful?
No. Not more than a prick of an injection needle.

Will I feel all right after donation?
Yes, you can go back to your normal work after 30 minutes.

I have heard of people fainting. Is that common?
Very occasionally a donor may faint. The most common reason is psychological and often due to rushing to get up too soon after donating. Relax and rest a little and you will be fine.

You wouldn’t want my blood, would you?I am of a common group.
We constantly need donors of all blood groups.

Nobody has ever asked me to donate blood.
Consider yourself invited!

I am too old!
If you are between 18 and 60 years and in good health you can donate blood.

But l am underweight!
Not, if you are 45 Kg. or more, and in good health you can donate blood.

Oh! but I am anaemic!
We test for anaemia before every donation.

But it will make me weak.
Blood donation has no ill effect on the body. You can resume your routine duties immediately after blood donation. The amount of blood donated is a small part of your surplus blood and is recouped by the body in twenty one days and you can donate blood again after 3 months.

I am too busy and it is too inconvenient!
Ans: The entire procedure of blood donation takes about 15-20 minutes whereas the actual Blood Donation is just 5 minutes job!

How long does it take to transfuse a unit of blood?
This depends on the condition for which transfusion is being given. If the patient is being transfused to replace blood for sudden massive blood loss, one unit of blood may be given rapidly in about 10-15 minutes. However, if the blood transfusion is being given for anaemia, it may take over 3-4 hours. Normal rate of transfusion is 28 drops per minute.

Can I develop a serious reaction to blood transfusion with blood from another person?
Not usually. People differ from each other with respect to their blood groups and blood of compatible group is only transfused. Before blood transfusion, a sample of the blood is tested, and cross-matched with a suitable donor unit. These tests reduce the risk of any serious reactions Of course, no medical procedure is absolutely hundred percent safe. Most blood transfusion reactions, if they occur, are mild.

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