What is the point of anyone being an organ donor if their blood type is AB Negative?

What are the chances someone is going to need your organs at that specific time frame after you die?

Or am I mistaken on how all this works? If my blood type is AB Negative, The only person that can take my organs is a person with AB Negative. Correct?

If I was O negative, basically anyone could take my organs. Correct?

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  • 1% Is still 77 million people. Feb 27, 2020 at 13:56
  • 1
    @ToonKrijthe, AB+ can accept too, so it's actually 4%. Feb 27, 2020 at 14:11
  • One in 25 people can accept your donation. Most waiting lists are a lot longer than that, so the odds are that there is someone that will be grateful for your donation. Feb 27, 2020 at 14:13
  • It's not even close to 1%. Taking the entire population of the earth and doing simple division is not how you calculate the chances. There are So many factors in a person getting a viable organ from someone else, that reduce those numbers dramatically. Lastly it's only 1% amongst white people. i.imgur.com/K0KeTC8.png Feb 27, 2020 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


According to the standard blood compatibility chart:

blood compatibility

(image from Owlcation: The Basics of Blood and Blood Typing - Wikipedia file)

AB blood types can only donate to other AB blood types, but AB blood types can receive from other blood types, so what is the point of being an AB donor.

Well, the chart says that they are the only blood type that can do a full blood transfusion to other AB types.

Also, organs aren't that easy to find - there are more people waiting for an organ than there are organs.

Also, the Wikipedia article on blood donation says that this chart is only applicable to red blood cells. For plasma and platelets, the situation is reversed.

Type O negative is often cited as the "universal donor" but this only refers to red cell and whole blood transfusions. For plasma and platelet transfusions the system is reversed: AB positive is the universal platelet donor type while both AB positive and AB negative are universal plasma donor types.

As for what happens between an organ donor dying and their organs being transplanted, organDdonor.gov has this lowdown:

While the search for matching recipients is under way, the deceased donor's organs are maintained on artificial support. Machines keep blood containing oxygen flowing to the organs. The condition of each organ is carefully monitored by the hospital medical staff and the OPO procurement coordinator.

A transplant surgical team replaces the medical team that treated the patient before death. (The medical team trying to save the patient’s life and the transplant team are never the same team.)

The surgical team removes the organs and tissues from the donor's body in an operating room. First, organs are recovered, and then additional authorized tissues such as bone, cornea, and skin. All incisions are surgically closed. Organ donation does not interfere with open-casket funerals.

Organs remain healthy only for a short period of time after removal from the donor, so minutes count. The OPO representative arranges the transportation of the organs to the hospitals of the intended recipients. Transportation depends on the distance involved, and can include ambulances, helicopters, and commercial airplanes.

  • You're assuming that blood type compatibility is required for organ donation. Is that actually true?
    – Carey Gregory
    Feb 27, 2020 at 16:34
  • @CareyGregory; it is definitely true for the heart transplant. If it wasn't, you could just replace someone's blood with a different type, as it would make no difference to any critical organ.
    – JMP
    Feb 27, 2020 at 16:55
  • I'm sorry, not to nit pick. But you didn't really answer the question. You don't have a conclusion. Next, many people have mentioned that 1 out of X number of people could use your organs. How true is that? Have they factored in children don't count? Elderly don't count. IF you live in the middle of no where, you can't donate. If you're infected with HIV, Hepatitis, or any virus that can transfer to the recipient. forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/12/14/… Feb 27, 2020 at 20:46
  • It's a wonderful answer, just would have expected a bit more data to be involved. Example: donated organs have a very short shelf life. A heart or lung can be kept viable for transplantation for only six hours, a pancreas or liver for 12 hours and a kidney for less than 30 hours. So if someone lives in China, getting their heart in the USA is impossible. So that dramatically reduces your chances. Compound that with the fact you have a rare blood type. Should be somewhat discussed. Feb 27, 2020 at 20:51

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