Self Blood Donation

Healthcare provider preparing to take blood from woman's arm.

Blood lost during surgery may need to be replaced. Donating your own blood ahead of time is sometimes best. Depositing your own blood before surgery is called autologous blood donation. Talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should donate your own blood for surgery.

Deciding what’s right for you

  • There is less risk of a reaction and infection because it is your own blood.

  • Using your own blood is usually recommended for people planning elective surgery. In elective surgery, there is a good chance that blood will be needed. Many surgeries often don’t require blood transfusions.

  • There are no set age restrictions.

  • You should usually weigh at least 90 pounds.

  • Some conditions would keep you from donating blood for your own surgery. They are anemia (low red blood cell count), upper respiratory conditions, and abnormal blood pressure.

  • A sample of your blood will be taken for testing.

  • People taking antibiotics for infections usually can’t donate.

Planning ahead

  • Plan ahead carefully so you will be able to donate enough blood before your surgery.

  • You will probably need to make more than one deposit.

  • It is common to wait a week between visits.

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe a daily iron pill.