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About blood types

Your blood type, also known as your blood group, helps determine what kind of blood donation might be best for you to give.

Want to know 'What blood type am I?' Request an appointment for a whole blood donation first, and we will tell you!

Donations by blood type

Even if you can’t give a particular kind of blood donation for health or other reasons, keep donating what you can. Your donation will still save lives!

Type % of population Please donate Why?



AB is the rarest blood type. Your AB plasma can be given to any patient regardless of their blood type, so it's always in high demand.

A type blood


Whole blood, plasma or platelets

Type A whole blood is always needed. You could give whole blood every three months or plasma or platelets more frequently.

B type blood



Your type B plasma donations could make a huge difference to trauma victims, people with severe burns, or patients with blood diseases.

O negative blood


Whole blood or platelets

O negative is the universal blood type. Your blood can be given to any patient.
You'll make a huge difference by donating whole blood. Your platelets are also vital to help cancer patients, so please give platelets in between whole blood donations.

O positive blood


Whole blood, plasma or platelets

As O positive is the most common blood type, all donations are valuable. We encourage you to give whole blood every three months, and if you have time, plasma or platelets in between. 

How do blood types work?

You inherit your blood type from a mix of your parents’ genes. There are eight main blood types, organised through two combined systems. These systems are ABO (blood types A, B, AB or O) and Rhesus type or group (positive or negative).

Your blood type is a combination of these two systems. For example, by percentage of population, the most common blood type in Australia is O positive and the least common is AB negative.

Why are blood types important?

When someone is given a blood transfusion, it’s best to give them blood that’s the same type as their own. If that isn’t available, they can be given certain other compatible blood types depending on their own blood type.

Some blood types are ‘universal’, which means they can be given to anyone. O negative red cells can be given to anyone, and are often used in emergencies. AB plasma, positive or negative, can be also given to anyone.

Blood type compatibility