Autologous blood donation (autologous means "related to self") is donating blood before surgery, and receiving your own blood during and after surgery. It is usually considered better and safer than receiving someone else's blood. (Blood intended for use by someone other than the donor is known as "homologous.")
The AIDS epidemic has had a great many consequences, few of them positive. But one favorable result has been increased use of a transfusion procedure in which persons facing elective surgery can donate their own blood to themselves before surgery. Many people have become concerned about being exposed to AIDS and other diseases through blood transfusions. Even though the risk of transfusion-transmitted AIDS appears to be very small, some people may feel any risk is too great.
All volunteer homolgous donations are now tested for the presence of many infectious disease markers such as the antibody to the human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B surface antigen, antibody to HCV (non-A, non-B) and syphilis. Homologous blood units testing positive for these markers must be discarded. This makes the risk of transmitting a virus through a homologous blood transfusion almost nonexistent.
How will I know if blood will be needed for my surgery?
If I donate blood to be used by me, how long can it be stored?
Are there any medications that would prevent me from being able to autologously donate blood?
Is there an age limit for autologous blood donation?
Are there any down-side risks to autologous blood donation?