FAQ on ‘Blood Donation’ on the occasion of ‘World’s Blood Donor Day’

By ZRG | Last Updated: Jun 14, 2013, 12:46 PM IST

Team ZRG

I. Blood & its components

1. What is blood?

Blood is a constantly circulating fluid providing the body with nutrition, oxygen, and waste removal. Blood is mostly liquid, with numerous cells and proteins suspended in it, making blood "thicker" than pure water. The average person has about 5 liters (more than a gallon) of blood.

A liquid called plasma makes up about half of the content of blood. Plasma contains proteins that help blood to clot, transport substances through the blood, and perform other functions. Blood plasma also contains glucose and other dissolved nutrients.

2. What are the different components of blood?

About half of blood volume is composed of blood cells:

• Red blood cells (RBC), which carry oxygen to the tissues.• White blood cells (WBC), which fight infections.• Platelets, smaller cells that help blood to clot.

3. What are the common blood conditions?

Blood Conditions

Blood leaking out of blood vessels may be obvious, as from a wound penetrating the skin. Internal bleeding (such as into the intestines or after a car accident) may not be immediately apparent.

Hematoma: A collection of blood inside the body tissues. Internal bleeding often causes a hematoma.

Leukemia: A form of blood cancer, in which white blood cells multiply abnormally and circulate through the blood. The excessive large numbers of white cells deposit in the body`s tissues, causing damage.

Multiple myeloma: A form of blood cancer of plasma cells similar to leukemia. Anemia, kidney failure and high blood calcium levels are common in multiple myeloma.

Lymphoma: A form of blood cancer, in which white blood cells multiply abnormally inside lymph nodes
and other tissues. The enlarging tissues, and disruption of blood`s functions, can eventually cause organ failure.

Anemia: An abnormally low number of red blood cells in the blood. Fatigue and breathlessness can result, although anemia often causes no noticeable symptoms.

Hemolytic anemia: Anemia caused by rapid bursting of large numbers of red blood cells (hemolysis). An immune system malfunction is one cause.

Hemochromatosis: A disorder causing excessive levels of iron in the blood. The iron deposits in the liver, pancreas and other organs, causing liver problems and diabetes.

Sickle cell disease: A genetic condition in which red blood cells periodically lose their proper shape (appearing like sickles, rather than discs). The deformed blood cells deposit in tissues, causing pain and organ damage.

Bacteremia: Bacterial infection of the blood. Blood infections are serious, and often require hospitalization and continuous antibiotic infusion into the veins.

Malaria: Infection of red blood cells by Plasmodium, a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria causes episodic fevers, chills, and potentially organ damage.

4. What is the normal Hemoglobin count?

Normal results vary, but in general are:

Male: 13.8 to 17.2 gm/dL

Female: 12.1 to 15.1 gm/dL

*Note: gm/dL = grams per deciliter

5. Blood donor selection and compatibility

Blood Group Compatibility Chart
Blood group
Can Accept Blood from:
Red Cells Whole Blood Plasma
O +ve O +ve
O -ve
O +ve
O -ve
Any O, A, B or AB
O -ve O -ve O -ve Any O, A, B or AB
A +ve A +ve, A -ve, 
O +ve or O -ve
A +ve or A -ve Any A or AB
A -ve A -ve or O -ve A -ve Any A or AB
B +ve B +ve, B -ve, 
O +ve or O -ve
B +ve or B -ve Any B or AB
B -ve B -ve or O -ve B -ve Any B or AB
AB +ve AB +ve, AB -ve
A +ve, A -ve 
B +ve, B -ve
O +ve or O-ve
AB +ve or AB -ve Any AB
AB -ve AB -ve, 
A -ve,
B -ve or 
O -ve
AB -ve A

6. Which blood group is the rarest of all?

AB-ve is the rarest blood type.

      O +ve
1 person in 3
      O -ve
1 person in 15
      A +ve
1 person in 3
A -ve
1 person in 16
B +ve
1 person in 12
B -ve
1 person in 67
AB +ve
1 person in 29
AB -ve
1 person in 167

II. Blood donation scenario in India

7. How much blood does India require?

India faces a whopping blood deficit of approximately 30-35 per cent annually. The country needs around eight to ten million units of blood every year but manages a measly 5.5 million units.

8. What is the standard mandated by World Health Organisation (WHO) for donation of blood?

As per WHO standards, India’s demand for blood and blood components should be one percent of the total population.

9. How many private and government blood banks are there in India?

According to the information furnished by health ministry, as on November 2012, there are 1,564 private blood banks in India. The figure of government blood banks stands at 981. There are 2,545 licensed blood banks in India.

10. State wise details of blood banks in India?

Maharashtra (289) followed by Andhra Pradesh (286) and Tamil Nadu (277) have maximum number of licensed blood banks.

S .No Name of the State/Union Territory No of Govt Blood banks No of Private Blood Banks Total No  of Licensed Blood Banks
1 Andaman and Nicobar islands 2 1 3
2 Andhra Pradesh 55 231 286
3 Arunachal Pradesh 6 1 7
4 Assam 39 27 66
5 Bihar 38 29 67
6 Chandigarh 3 1 4
7 Chhattishgarh 20 25 45
8 Dadra and Nagar Haveli 1 Nil 1
9 Daman and Diu 1 Nil 1
10 Delhi 25 38 63
11 Goa 2 2 4
12 Gujarat 31 121 152
13 Haryana 21 44 65
14 Himachal Pradesh 19 1 20
15 Jammu & Kashmir 24 2 26
16 Jharkhand 25 20 45
17 Karnataka 39 131 170
18 Kerala 34 137 170
19 Lakshadweep Nil Nil Nil
20 Madhya Pradesh 51 81 132
21 Maharashtra 90 199 289
22 Manipur 3 1 4
23 Meghalaya 4 2 6
24 Mizoram 8 2 10
25 Nagaland 5 Nil 5
26 Orissa 67 16 83
27 Puducherry 3 10 13
28 Punjab 48 51 99
29 Rajasthan 48 40 88
30 Sikkim 3 Nil 3
31 Tamil Nadu 96 181 277
32 Tripura 7 Nil 7
33 Uttara khand 13 10 23
34 Uttar Pradesh 76 125 201
35 West Bengal 74 35 109
  Total 981 1564 2545

11. How does donated blood get utilized?

• After your blood has been collected for donation, it is sent for testing in a laboratory. Here, it is screened for viruses and infections such as HIV and hepatitis.

• If the blood passes this screening, it will usually be separated into different components( namely Red blood Corpuscles, White Blood Corpuscles and Platelets). This means your blood donation can be used to help several different patients.

• Once the blood has been separated, it is distributed to hospitals all over the country. It is usually then stored in a blood bank until needed.

• When the blood is needed, a process known as blood transfusion is used to give it to a recipient.

12. What is the gender classification of blood donation in India?

94 per cent of blood donations in the county are made by men while women contribute only six per cent.

13. What is the figure of voluntary non-remunerated blood donations in India?

The figure of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation in 2011 in India stood at 50-89.9 percent.

III. Legal framework governing blood donation scenario in India

14. What are the policies governing human blood in India?

• Government of India published in the year 2002 ‘the National Blood Policy’. The objective of the policy is to provide safe, adequate quantity of blood, blood components and products. The main aim of the policy is to procure non remunerated regular blood donors by the blood banks. The policy also addresses various issues with regard to technical personnel, research, and development and to eliminate profiteering by the blood banks by selling blood. The policy also envisages that fresh licenses to stand alone blood banks in private sector shall not be granted and renewal of such blood banks shall be subjected to thorough scrutiny

• Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and the state licensing authorities issue various licenses for import, manufacture, sale and testing of drugs and cosmetics. Besides, CDSCO issues some certifications eg. GMP Certification as per WHO norms.

• Human blood is covered under the definition of ‘Drug’ under Sec. 3(b) of Drugs & Cosmetics Act. Hence, it is imperative that Blood Banks need to be regulated under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act and rules there under.

• In the year 1967, Central Govt. (Ministry of Health) enacted a separate provision in Schedule F Part XII B of Drugs & Cosmetics Rules. Various requirements such as accommodation, technical staff, equipments etc. for operation of blood bank were included in this Part. State Drugs Controllers were authorized to issue the licenses for blood banks. The standards for ‘Whole Human Blood’ were prescribed in Indian Pharmacopoeia.

15. Expert’s opinion on blood donation in India?

Dr. Sabhya Sachi Ball, pulmothorasic surgeon at Fortis, Vasant Kunj

One can donate blood every three-six months

A voluntary donation is the best thing that one can do because it will help the medical community in treating the patients who are in need. One of the myth which acts as a hindrance in blood donation is that ‘blood donation weakens either the health or is harmful for the health’, this is not true at all ; if people donate blood , their blood is made up within seven -14 days. One can donate blood every three-six months.

Dr. Anju Verma, Chief Medical Officer at Rotary Blood Bank, Delhi

30 percent of blood in our body remains unutilized.

The percentage of Indian women donating blood is low as they are deferred due to physiological problems. Most of them have low hemoglobin count and fail to meet the minimum requirements to donate blood and hence the percent count is low.

70 percent of blood in our body gets utilized for various bodily functions, rest 30 percent is unutilized, if we take out 350or450 ml of blood, it will not hamper any bodily functions. Pre –donation counseling is very important to check the problem of low blood donation in India.