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Autologous Blood transfusion is the collection and re-infusion of the patient's own Blood or Blood components. Long term or frozen storage is an option for autologous donors if the scheduled surgery is postponed, or if you desire to avail yourself of the assurances provided by this procedure. Under normal conditions, the procedure requires a physician's order.

Despite the obvious advantages, the technology of frozen blood banking programs has not been adequately utilized for over 35 years. Utilizing ultra freezing technology and cryopreservation agents, it is possible to store blood for over 20 years.

There are approximately 20 million transfusions given annually to about four million individuals. Yet despite screening precautions to keep the blood supply safe, transfusions cause an estimated 50,000 cases of hepatitis and an unknown number of AIDS cases every year.

The so-called AIDS and hepatitis tests used for screening blood donors are really tests for antibodies which may not appear for months after an infection. An infected donor may have active HIV or hepatitis virus for as long as six months before antibodies are detectable. If during that period that person were to donate blood, these viruses could be transmitted to the recipient of that donated blood. By freezing the donated blood, and re-testing the donor six months later, these infected donations could be detected.

The cryo-freezing process is expensive and research is ongoing. Normally a frozen autologous storage fee is prepaid per pint when you decide to freeze your Blood. The Red Cross operates on a cost-recovery basis only.

Your Blood, once donated, may be stored in a frozen state for decades, and up to 20 years, for a fee. The fee varies depending on the Blood center accepting the Blood, and storing the Blood. The amount allowed to be stored may also vary.

When you need the donated and stored Blood, upon notification from the hospital, the storing Blood center immediately begins to thaw your Blood. Because of time required to thaw frozen Blood and deliver it to a where you are, frozen autologous Blood is not practical for emergency use. Thawing takes 60 to 90 minutes. Once your Blood has been thawed, it must be used within 24 hours.

If you are in another city when you need the stored Blood, you depend on others to make every effort to coordinate incoming Blood from from out of town or out of state. There is always an additional fee for this service.


How safe are gamma globulin shots? Although gamma globulin (immune globulin) is made from pooled plasma of many donors, infectious risks are virtually eliminated by use of manufacturing methods that destroy any viruses that may have escaped the initial screening of individual donations.  The Red Cross preparation uses plasma derived only from volunteer donors.   There have been no reported cases of HIV infection from intramuscular gamma globulin. A few cases of hepatitis C have been reported recently from a special intravenous preparation of gamma globulin (not the intramuscular type given to travelers). With newer viral inactivation (sterilization) techniques now in place there have been no further reports of infection to date (April, 1999).  ARCNOCAL

We recommend that you read the Autologous Blood Pages on this web site.

Military Frozen Blood Depots - The Navy operates one frozen Blood depot in Sigonella, Sicily, and one in Okinawa. These depots have the capability to store 40,000 units and 10,000 units of frozen Blood each, respectively. Each depot has one Medical Service Corps officer, one enlisted technician, and four civilian technicians. These depots provide frozen Blood products to appropriate medical platforms. The Army is also planning to establish frozen Blood depots to store a total of 75,000 units of frozen Blood products. The Air Force is planning to store 50,000 units of frozen Blood in the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratories.



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Links to Long Term Autologous Blood Storage Blood Centers

Link - Daxor Corporation - Daxor, in 1985, opened the world's first frozen Blood bank for autologous (self) storage. This is the oldest of the finest. Founder/President Joseph Feldschuh, M.D. is the author of an excellent book on the subject.

Link - CryoBanks International - Full service facility in Orlando Florida.

Link - Florida Blood Services - Old line Blood collection service now entering the long term frozen Blood storage business.

Link - New York Blood Center - They do not like it, but they do it well.

Link - American Red Cross of South Florida - A complete array of alternative Blood services, including an exemplary rare Blood service program.

Link - Rare Blood Type Page here on 
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   last updated 11/10/2004