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When the patient expecting transfusion chooses his or her own blood donors.

 The Program

This program allows patients, with the approval of their physician, to designate their own blood donors for a planned, non-emergency transfusion. Before deciding on this, the following should be understood:

Generally accepted medical opinion is that blood from directed donors (family and friends) is no safer than blood from volunteer donors.

The risk of getting a disease from any blood transfusion is low. The Red Cross is fully committed to ensuring that donated blood is safe and takes precautions which include asking specific medical questions of donors as well as testing each blood donation for the markers of syphilis, hepatitis, and certain other viruses including AIDS. The chance of developing AIDS after receiving blood is extremely small since routine testing for the antibody to HIV (the virus causing AIDS) was begun in 1985.

Neither the Red Cross nor the Hospital can guarantee that blood collected from directed donors will be suitable or available for transfusion or available in adequate quantity for the patient’s needs. On occasion, blood collected for transfusion cannot be used due to abnormal test results, bag breakage, contamination or other unanticipated problems.

The Red Cross and the Transfusion Service at each hospital are ultimately responsible for deciding which blood is suitable for use. The Transfusion Service at each hospital will determine which donor units match the patient for transfusion. Blood donated for a specific person and not used by that person will be made available to other patients.

In the event of an emergency situation, it may be necessary to transfuse directed donor blood to other patients.

Talking with Your Physician

The patient must discuss directed donations with his or her own physician who must approve the procedure and advise the patient on the:

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Need for transfusion.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Risks associated with receiving a blood transfusion.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Number of units of blood required.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Date of planned transfusion.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Hospital at which the transfusion will be given.

If the patient wishes to know his or her blood type, the physician should request testing from the appropriate hospital according to the procedure established by that hospital, or from a private clinical laboratory.



All of the risks associated with receiving directed donations from relatives are not currently known and cannot be anticipated. It should be understood that precise medical or scientific information is not available for the complications of receiving blood from a relative. This lack of medical information should be considered in evaluating the risk.




Known risks associated with directed donations include, but may not be limited to the following:

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Blood should not be given to a female of childbearing age by her husband or mate. It may endanger future pregnancies or cause serious transfusion complications.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Blood given by one blood relative to another, especially between brothers and sisters, may jeopardize future tissue transplants within the family.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)There have been published reports of adverse reactions, including the death of the recipient, to transfusions from close relatives or from donors that are ethnically similar to the recipient.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)The risk of transmitting hepatitis, AIDS, and other infectious diseases is present. Careful donor selection and available laboratory tests reduce but do not eliminate this hazard in directed donations.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Patients should fully discuss these possible problems with their physician.

The Procedure

NOTICE: Directed donations must be made at least 4 working days before the intended transfusion. This is required to allow for proper processing of blood from directed donors. Blood cannot be processed for surgery scheduled for the same or the next day following donation.

The patient’s physician must place an order for a directed donation with the Red Cross or with the Transfusion Service of the Hospital where the transfusion will take place. The order must state the patient’s name, the number of units of Red Blood Cells needed, and the expected date of transfusion.

Donations cannot be made more than 4 weeks before the planned transfusion.

To avoid confusion, the patient should coordinate the donations and communications with the Red Cross in Farmington, or designate a friend or relative to do so.

In order to arrange for directed donations, the patient or his or her representative should call the Special Collections Department at (860) 678-5432 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday - Friday (excluding legal holidays). The following information is required when registering the patient in the Directed Donation Program:

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Patient’s name.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Name of patient’s representative (if any).

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Number of units of blood needed.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Name of patient’s physician.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Date of planned transfusion.

sbldrop.gif (980 bytes)Hospital where transfusion will occur.

The Red Cross Special Collections staff will explain the procedure and ask the patient to complete the Directed Donor Request Forms (one for each donor) available from the Red Cross in Farmington.

The patient must pay a non-refundable registration fee at this time (cash, check, Visa or MasterCard is accepted). This fee will cover the collection of up to 10 directed donor units within a 12 month period for a single diagnosis and is necessary to defray the cost of special handling and for coordinating the collection of blood from selected donors. The Red Cross will charge hospitals the usual processing fee for testing and distributing blood components. The hospital will pass this fee on to the patient as well as any additional fees for laboratory compatibility testing and the transfusion procedure.


Blood donations can be made at the Red Cross in Farmington or at specific other locations. Please call the Red Cross at (860) 678-5432 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday (excluding legal holidays) for blood drive information and an appointment. All Directed Donors must have a scheduled appointment before donating.

Directed Donors must meet all the donor eligibility requirements established by the Red Cross, the State of Connecticut, and the federal government.

The Red Cross will not do blood typing on donors before they give blood. All laboratory testing and screening is performed on blood samples after the donations are made.

If a directed donor is found to be positive for any of the tests performed, the donor will be notified in a timely fashion. This information is confidential and will not be released to anyone but the donor.

The Red Cross cannot release information regarding donor eligibility, test results, or donor compatibility without written permission from the donor. 

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Updated:    10/08/99