Autologous and Directed Donation

What is autologous blood transfusion?
Autologous (au-tol-o-gous) blood transfusion is a procedure in which you are transfused with blood that you have donated only for yourself.

What is directed blood transfusion?
Directed blood transfusion is a procedure in which the patient is transfused with blood specifically donate for him or her by a friend or family member, with a doctor's orders.

How can I become an autologous or directed blood donor?
A written order must be faxed to The Blood Center's Autologous and Directed Program. Your physician can obtain a "Request for Autologous/Directed Donation" form by calling (713) 791-6608 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or you may download it here.

It is the responsibility of the donor to make sure the written order is sent to The Blood Center by the physician. The following information is mandatory to properly process the request.

  • Patient's full legal name and date of birth;
  • Social Security Number (If SSN is not available, then the patient's hospital medical records number);
  • Hospital name and city in which it is located;
  • Intended date of usage;
  • Blood components needed (i.e. plasma, red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate); and
  • Physician's name and office phone number.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CMV?
A common viral pathogen found in all population groups. Nearly all CMV-infected people are asymtomatic. It causes few problems for healthy individuals. But in newborns and immunocompromised individuals, it may produce a variety of disease processes.

Will I be charged for direct donations if the donors are not compatible?
No, if your donors are not compatible there is no charge. But if we are not provided with the patient's blood type, then we send every donation to the hospital. After the hospital cross-match is done and it is concluded that the donation is incompatible, then there is only the direct fee of $26.

Why does my blood expire sooner if I am a blood relative?
If you are a blood relative, your donation will have to be irradiated to avoid graft versus host disease. In this instance, the 42-day expiration is reduced to 28 days.

Why do I have to pay for my own blood?
The charges assessed with an autologous donation are for testing and processing, and service fees.

Do you ship blood internationally?
No, clearing the blood units through customs is very difficult. We cannot regulate the blood temperature once it leaves the center.

Why do I need doctor's orders before donating autologous or direct units?
We must have a doctor's request in order to make sure we have all the proper information for the patient and to make sure the doctor has authorized the patient to give an autologous donation.

If I'm having surgery out of town, can I donate here and have it shipped? And at what cost?
Yes, you may donate with a physician's request at any of our Neighborhood Donor Centers. But all units must be prepaid before any donations are made. This fee varies depending on how many units your physician wants. It includes testing and processing fees, autologous and/or direct fees, and shipping and handling.

Why can't I know the names of or other information about my direct donors?
All information is kept strictly confidential in accordance with HIPAA regulations.

What is HBsAG?
It is the hepatitis B surface antigen. This test identifies hepatitis B antigens and antibodies, which help determine if a person is or once was infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV).

If I don't use my autologous donation, why can't it be released for someone else?
Autologous donations are not drawn under the same criteria as a regular whole blood unit. Some physicians will allow autologous donors to donate who otherwise would not qualify to donate for the general public. Therefore, these units cannot be released for someone else.

Where can I make my blood donations?
Donations can be made at any Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center facility. You must call The Blood Center location of your choice to schedule an appointment for your donation. The Blood Center recommends appointments as a means to serve you better. Autologous blood donations are not accepted at mobile blood drives. An additional fee is charged for each pint drawn to cover extra processing and administrative costs. These fees are charged to the hospital and will be included in your hospital bill.

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