The earliest documentation of blood transfusion is found in the religious text of many civilizations.

Karl Landsteener discovered the ABO blood grouping system in 1901, which is one of the most important landmark discoveries in the transfusion medicine. In the 1970s voluntary donors were accepted as blood donors. Blood transfusion lead to the discovery of Hepatitis B transmitted by donated blood. Since then testing for the hepatitis B antigen was implemented. Further studies since then have included tests for Malaria, Syphilis, AIDS, and Hepatitis C to make donated blood as safe as possible to the recipient.

Eligibility criteria for blood donors

  • Both men and women can donate blood.
  • Should be between 18-60 years of age with a weight of 50 kg or above with normal pulse rate, body temperature and blood pressure.
  • Donors with history of epilepsy, psychotic disorders, abnormal bleeding tendencies, severe asthma, cardiovascular disorders, and malignancy are permanently unfit for blood donation.
  • Donors suffering from disease like hepatitis, malaria, measles, mumps, and syphilis may donate blood after full recovery with 3-6 months gap.
  • People who have undergone surgery may safely donate blood after 6-12 months.
  • Women donors who are pregnant or lactating cannot donate as their iron reserves are already on the lower side.

How much blood can be taken during blood donation?

Our body has 5.5 litres of blood of which only 350 ml – 450 ml (one unit) of blood is taken depending upon weight of donor. Majority of healthy adults can tolerate withdrawal of one unit of blood. The withdrawn blood volume is restored within 24 hours and the hemoglobin and cell components are restored in 2 months. Therefore it is safe to donate blood every three months.

What is done with the blood collected?

The blood is collected in sterile, pyrogen free containers with anticoagulants like CPDA (an anticoagulant used in blood collection bags) or CPDA with SAGM (a solution that gives the red blood cells optimum viability). This prevents clotting and provides nutrition for the cells. This blood is stored at 2-6 C or -20 C depending on the component to be prepared. Donated blood undergoes various tests like blood grouping, antibody detection, testing of infections like hepatitis, AIDS, Malaria, syphilis and before it reaches the recipient it undergoes compatibility testing with the recipient blood.

One unit of whole blood is separated into components making it available to different patients according to their requirement. Thus one unit of blood is converted into packed cell volume, fresh frozen plasma, platelet concentrate, cryoprecipitate and granulocytes concentrate.


Requirement of safe blood is increasing and regular voluntary blood donations are vital for blood transfusion services.  At AAR we have a blood donors club that was launched last year and has tremendously grown with over 200 registered members. From the clubs membership, we were able to save lives of two patients who critically needed blood.

Membership is free and open to all men and women between the ages of 18 to 60.  Once someone joins they will be grouped according to their blood type and will be issued with a membership card.  Incase of a request for a certain blood group, members with that blood type will be requested to go to the hospital the patient is admitted in and donate blood.

Blood transfusions save lives and this can only be possible if we all volunteer to donate blood. And as said by an unknown author, “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something” we should all endeavor to give blood.

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