the first step

What’s your blood type?       The first step towards becoming a living organ donor for a friend or relative is to find out your blood type. It’s that easy. If you’re just thinking about maybe becoming a donor, you must know your blood type. Everyone is 1 of 4 possible blood types (O, A, B, AB). You can only donate to (or receive from) someone with a compatible blood type; just like a blood transfusion that people may receive during some operations.

If you don’t already know your blood type, you can go to the potential recipient’s transplant program or, if that’s not convenient, to any doctor’s office and tell them you need to find out your blood type and why, if you want. If the tests results show that the two of you are not compatible blood types, then you can’t be the donor. Strangely, it may feel like both a disappointment and a relief to some who are ruled out just because of incompatible blood types. Don’t be disappointed; anyone who even thinks about sharing of his or her body to save someone else’s life is a true hero.

But, if you both are compatible, then you can start considering the next steps in the process of becoming a living organ donor. But just because you are compatible blood types doesn’t mean you’re a match and will be the donor. It means you can take the next series of blood tests find out if you both are a match. And after that, if you still haven’t been ruled out, there are physical and psychological exams and evaluations. You must also start thinking about all that becoming a living organ donor entails – both the incredibly wonderful – actually saving someone’s life, and the sometimes not-so-wonderful – some post-operative pain, consequences.

It’s a complex process and purposely so. The donor’s health is the transplant team’s first priority. This is discussed in the details pages on this site. But it all starts with knowing your blood type.