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- Why donate blood
- Who can give
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- Australia has one of the safest blood supply systems in the world.
- You can donate whole blood every 12 weeks.
- O negative blood is universal and can be given to anyone.
- Plasma and platelet donations can be made every 2 weeks.
- Every whole blood donation can save 3 lives.
- 1 in 3 people will need blood. Only 1 in 30 gives blood.
- Australia needs over 27,000 blood donations every week.
- 470mL of blood is collected when you give whole blood.
- Within 24-48 hours of giving blood, your blood volume is completely restored.
- Giving blood only takes about an hour.
- Plasma donations can be used to make 18 different products.
- Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days.
- 34% of donated blood goes towards helping cancer patients.
- You can start giving blood at 16.
- The blood service has been collecting blood for over 80 years.
- You can donate double platelets – helping twice as many people.
- Platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days.
What is bone marrow donation?
Bone marrow tissue is found in the hollow centre of our bones and is responsible for the production of blood cells. Without bone marrow our bodies are unable to produce platelets and white and red blood cells.
Leukaemia and other fatal blood disorders can lead to damage of an individual’s bone marrow, preventing the stem cells from producing the required platelets and blood cells. Blood transfusion can help in these cases in the short term but in many cases bone marrow transplantation is the only possibility of a cure.
Just as blood transfusion needs to be matched by blood group, bone marrow donors must be matched by tissue type (white blood cell groups).
Sometimes an appropriate donor can be found in a patient’s immediate family as it is more likely their ‘tissue type’ will match. However, only one donor in three is found this way. To find the other two in three donors, patients rely on bone marrow from international registries such as the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR).
Bone marrow tissue type is determined by a person’s genes. Some types are more common than others, particularly in respect of ethnicity. It is, therefore, essential that the ABMDR receives donations from the diverse communities living within Australia.
Register as a bone marrow donor
The ABMDR is always seeking new donors to help save the lives of people that so desperately need a transplant. To become a new donor you need to have given or be prepared to give blood and have a small blood sample taken to allow tissue typing.
Your tissue type and details are registered on their database and you simply have to wait until your tissue type can help save someone.
For more information on this simple procedure that can help save lives visit the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.