Blood donors needed after new guidelines for AB plasma cause shortage

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Saturday, June 21, is the official start of the summer.  It’s also a time when one critical life-saving measure takes a hit:  blood donation.

This year, a new guideline is causing a shortage in one unique and important type of blood plasma.

In Madison on Friday, there were more occupied chairs than empty ones at the Lifesouth Blood Center.

It was a good day.

“I’ve got it and don’t need it, so somebody else does,” said 70-year-old Daniel Haynes of East Limestone, as he sat hooked up to an IV.  “So, give it to them.”

Haynes has been donating for 50 years, giving — literally — gallons of his blood to be used for someone else.

Lifesouth spokeswoman Tamara Watts says this is the time of year when donations slow down.

“People go on vacations, schools are out, colleges are closed, etc. and so the donations go down,” said Watts.

In April, a new guideline for donating AB plasma took affect.  It puts a restriction on who can donate the plasma, which is considered a type of plasma that’s universal and compatible with most people.  The change has resulted in a nationwide shortage of AB plasma.

“This is something that’s not going to go away anytime soon,” said Watts.  “And what we’re looking for here is men who are AB and women who have not given birth to children.”

The pregnancy restriction comes from the antibodies produced during pregnancy.  Research shows those antibodies can complicate things for blood transfusions and is the most common cause of transfusion-related deaths.  However, women who’ve been pregnant can still donate blood.

“We need 1,200 donors every single week to meet the needs in this community for the hospitals and that’s 12 hospitals in 10 counties,” she insisted.

One can donate every 8 weeks.

Blood buses are out somewhere in the community every day — seven days a week.

All types of blood and plasma are needed.

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