Although blood donated by the general public and used for most people is thought to be very safe, some people choose to use a method called autologous blood donation. Autologous blood is blood donated by you, which you later receive if you need a transfusion during or after surgery.
- You can have blood taken from 6 weeks to 5 days before your surgery.
- Your blood is stored and is good for a few weeks from the day it is collected.
- If your blood is not used during or after surgery, it is thrown away.
If you wish to donate your own blood, you must make arrangements yourself. Your hospital may be set up to receive these donations and store the blood. Otherwise, your local blood bank may handle this process. Most of the time, you will need to pay for this process.
Problems can arise with autologous blood donation.
- Donating this blood can make you anemic, or have a lower blood count, before your surgery. As a result, it is still possible that you will need to receive a blood transfusion with blood donated by the general public.
- In rare cases, a mistake by the blood center or the hospital can result in you receiving the wrong unit of blood. If this happens, you may have a reaction to the blood you receive.
To help your body make more blood cells, your doctor may ask you to take extra vitamins and minerals, including:
- Iron tablets
- Folic acid
- Vitamin C
You may also get a shot to boost your blood count before surgery.