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About Blood Types

Does everyone have the same blood?

No, there are 8 different blood types – A positive, A negative, B positive, B negative, AB positive, AB negative, O positive and O negative. Your parents’ blood types determine which blood type you have.

Why is your blood type important?

Because some blood types are not compatible, it is important to give the correct blood type in a transfusion. Using the wrong blood type can cause serious health problems or even death. This is why we need supplies of each blood type on hand.

Is one blood type more valuable than another?

Donations of all blood types are needed to help save lives. Sometimes a particular blood type will be in short supply and donations for that blood type will be urgently needed.

Type O negative, often called the “universal” blood type is almost always in demand because O negative red blood cells can be transfused to anyone regardless of their blood type.

People with Type AB blood are universal plasma donors because their blood plasma can be used by anyone. Blood plasma is used to help trauma and burn victims, people with clotting problems, leukemia patients and many others. This is the rarest blood type, occurring in only 4% of the population.

Your donation of red blood cells, platelets or plasma can make the lifesaving difference for someone in our community. While all blood types are needed, some are more conducive to particular types of blood donations, such as platelets or double red cell. Ask your phlebotomist what’s the best way you can save a life.

This chart shows the breakdown of blood types in the U.S. population
This chart shows the breakdown of blood types in the U.S. population.