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Why is Blood Type Important?

By J. Beam
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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When asked, many people do not know their blood type, but it is very important in a medical emergency that might require a blood transfusion or an organ transplant. The study of blood is a particular specialty in medicine known as hematology. There are 29 different blood group systems, each represented by specific elements found on the surface of red blood cells. The most common blood group systems are ABO and Rhesus.

A person’s blood type becomes a crucial matter when a blood transfusion is necessary. If an individual is transfused with the wrong type of blood, a reaction that severely compromises the immune system can result. There are different levels at which a mismatched transfusion can occur, from minor to major incompatibility. Minor factors may lead to very minor problems, but a major incompatibility of blood type during a transfusion can be serious.

Blood type is so important during a transfusion that donors giving blood to a blood bank must meet certain requirements. A blood transfusion is closely monitored, often by a hematologist, and the ordering of blood products in the United States is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

In the case of organ transplants, the tissue of the donor organ must match the recipient’s blood type. A mismatch can cause rejection, and therefore, without a positive match, the transplant will not be conducted. Individuals placed on a transplant waiting list have their blood type thoroughly tested before being placed on the list.

Knowing one's blood type is also significant for a pregnant woman and her fetus. A woman’s blood type is usually determined during routine blood work early in her pregnancy. In cases in which the mother’s type does not match the baby’s, which are frequent, it is possible for the mother’s body to develop antibodies to defend against the red blood cells of the fetus. If these antibodies pass through the placenta, they can cause the baby to develop a blood disorder or disease. Though most complications of this situation range from mild to moderate, severe or even fatal reactions can occur.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon309721 — On Dec 18, 2012

I am B+ and my husband is also B+. What problems could my unborn baby face?

By anon103795 — On Aug 14, 2010

what is the most abundant blood type?

By anon79324 — On Apr 22, 2010

The blood type of a male and female do not affect whether they can become pregnant. For sure, a pregnancy will occur if the woman is producing eggs and the man has sufficient sperm count.

The only problem a woman will run into is if her body has built up a defense against the unborn baby's blood. In this case the woman's body will fight to destroy what it thinks is a foreign substance (the fetus). The is called the Rh factor.

But that is a whole other story, and only occurs in women who have been pregnant before; even then it is not 100 percent the woman's body will fight against the unborn baby. It all depends on the mother's blood type and the baby's blood type.

By anon68084 — On Feb 28, 2010

My blood group is B+ and my girlfriend is B-, can you tell me are they compatible? such as getting pregnant?

By anon46751 — On Sep 28, 2009

why don't you ask a doctor to solve your problem! that is the best thing you do!

By anon18960 — On Oct 03, 2008

My blood group is AB+ And my Girlfriend Blood Group is B+ can you tell me are they compatible? Such as getting pregnant?

By anon15823 — On Jul 22, 2008

Reply to coolbluepk: As far as I know, there should be no compatibility problems. Compatibility problems only arise for your off-springs only when You are +ve and your Girl Friend is -ve. I Hope This answer will clear your doubts.

By coolbluepk — On Oct 10, 2007

I want to know that,My blood group is A+ And my Girlfriend Blood Group is AB+ can you tell me are they compatible?

By anon951 — On May 09, 2007

what is the most common, rare blood type?

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