When You Need a Transfusion

Can I store and receive my own blood?

For some elective surgeries, your medical provider may recommend that you store your own blood in advance – a process called “autologous donation.” While the use of autologous blood reduces the risk of some adverse events, it does not eliminate all risks.

Autologous collection usually occurs about four weeks before a scheduled surgery – since red blood cells can be stored only for 42 days. Collections should begin at least 10 to 14 days prior to your surgery. One unit (pint) is taken at each collection. Your physician will determine how many units are collected and stored. In certain cases, children may make autologous blood donations. Your medical provider can tell you if this procedure is suitable for you and your child.

To arrange for autologous collection, your medical provider will contact PSBC to request the procedure for you; your physician will need to complete this form. A PSBC representative will then contact you to schedule the collection. If your medical provider later decides that your stored blood is not needed, it will be discarded – and this happens frequently. PSBC charges a fee for collecting, testing and processing your blood, regardless of whether or not it is used. This fee is payable by you as the patient, or may be payable by your insurance provider. You should consult with your insurance carrier in advance to determine if the cost of autologous units is covered.


When You Need a Transfusion (PDF)

If you have questions contact your physician, or call the Puget Sound Blood Center Transfusion Information Line, at 206-292-1840.