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Donate Blood for Special Needs

People suffering from various chronic illnesses and disorders often require frequent blood transfusions. Over time, however, patients can develop reactions to certain antigens when they receive transfusions from multiple donors. These patients may develop antibodies that destroy foreign blood and, as a result, can no longer receive blood from certain donors, even if their blood types match. 

At Memorial Blood Centers, we take extraordinary steps to serve the unique needs of these special patients. Through our advanced scientific laboratories, we perform sophisticated tests to determine which antigens are absent or present in blood. Donors who have been typed are then matched to specific patients. And when the need arises, the right blood is there to match the patient who needs it most.

Consider the many ways you can help:

Cancer patients, who often undergo multiple treatments for years, may develop antibodies to foreign antigens and require platelets specifically matched to their unique set of Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA)—critical components in the immune system’s defense against bacteria, viruses and parasites. When your HLA-type proves to be the best match for a patient with a similar HLA profile, you may be called upon to make a special donation to meet a specific patient’s time-sensitive need for platelets.

Learn more about platelet donation.

1 in 365 African-American newborns has sickle cell disease, and 1 in 13 are born with sickle cell trait. Multiple blood transfusions can be the only relief from frequent episodes of pain and complications, but only certain blood donors can give blood to patients with sickle cell disease.

Visit our Sickle Cell Donor Program to find out whether you may be the right donor to help sickle cell patients.

Stem cells are immature cells found in the bone marrow and blood stream that later develop into blood cells. Memorial Blood Centers provides collection, processing, cryopreservation (freezing), storage, and infusion support services as part of a community autologous bone marrow transplant program involving several area hospitals. If you are signed up to donate hematopoietic (blood) stem cells with Be the Match (National Marrow Donor Program) and you are found to be a HLA match to a patient with leukemia or a blood disease, you may be asked to donate stem cells at Memorial Blood Centers as part of the patient’s treatment plan. Your blood stem cells will be transfused to repopulate the patient’s bone marrow after the patient undergoes high dose chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Hereditary Hemochromatosis (HH) is a genetic condition that may result in the body absorbing too much iron from food. To prevent complications, these patients often benefit from regular blood donation. For physicians needing to request therapeutic blood collections for their HH patients, please complete the downloadable form, attach evidence of genetic testing, and fax the documents to Memorial Blood Centers using the fax number provided on the order form.

A directed donation is a blood donation for a specific recipient collected in advance of an intended transfusion. Innovative Blood Resources (Memorial Blood Centers and Nebraska Community Blood Bank) provides this service for our client hospitals in rare situations for patients with a medically justifiable need. This may mean they require highly specific or matched blood attributes that are exceedingly rare or can’t be found in the standard blood bank inventory. 

1. Directed blood donations are indicated when a safe, compatible unit is not easily identified in the general donor population.  Examples include:

  • Patient is alloimmunized against high frequency antigens
  • Patient is at high risk of alloimmunization due to a rare blood abnormality (e.g. Bombay phenotype, MacLeod’s syndrome).
  • Patient has a rare blood type which is difficult to match.
  • Patient has IgA deficiency with antibodies against IgA.

2. Directed donations are not indicated for religious beliefs or concerns regarding the race, vaccination status, or ethnicity of donors.

In order to request a directed donation, a physician must initiate the order for their patient and sign it after the relevant sections are completed. Then, the hospital transfusion service medical director or designee must approve the request, and finally the form is sent to our Blood Center for determination of appropriateness before collections can be scheduled. Access the directed donation physician order form

The U.S. blood supply is among the safest in the world, and each unit of donated blood undergoes more than a dozen tests. As previously stated, blood cannot be directed to a particular recipient without a medically justifiable need and extensive testing, documentation, and approval.

Other special donations available:

Product Ordering:

  • Schedule a platelet, plasma, or double red cell donation online, or call 888.448.3253 for more information. 
  • To learn about making an autologous or therapeutic donation, or to schedule an appointment, call 888.448.3253.
  • To learn about becoming a reagent donor or to speak directly to a member of our Reagent Donor Program call 651.332.7340.