I’m O negative, what type of blood can I be transfused with?
Do you have O negative blood? If so, you may have discovered that your blood is needed by hospitals and emergency services to help save lives, but you may be wondering what type of blood you can be given if you need a transfusion. While those with O negative are universal blood donors, the blood they can receive when it comes to transfusions is far from universal. If you have O negative blood, the only blood type you can receive is O negative.
Let’s look at how this works.
The existence of the antigens that determine if your blood is O, A, B or AB was discovered about 100 years ago. That led to safer blood transfusions because doctors transfuse the right type of blood for people needed to survive. Your blood group is determined by whether you have the A antigen, the B antigen, both A and B antigens or neither A or B antigen. Your Rh factor is determined by whether or not your blood contains a specific protein. You are positive if you have the protein and negative if you don’t. This gives us the common blood types of A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+ and of course O-.
O negative blood is missing both the A antigen and the B antigen and does not contain the protein for Rh positive blood. This means that it’s missing those things that could cause a bad reaction during a blood transfusion and can be given to any blood type. But this also means that people with O negative blood can only receive O negative blood.
What does this mean for you if you have O negative blood?
Become a blood donor! If you have O negative blood, you can only receive O negative blood, so you want to help ensure that there’s always a good supply on the shelves. If you’re scheduled for a surgical procedure, you can always donate your own blood in advance and be given that during the procedure. But what about an unexpected medical emergency? That’s when O negative donors save lives!
Interested in finding out what blood type you are?
If you don’t know you’re blood type, the blood center will test your blood when you donate and let you know your blood type.