ImpactLife does not broadly encourage autologous donation. We facilitate its use among individuals who are having an elective operation that is very likely to require transfusion, despite use of other blood conservation measures, and for certain patients with very rare blood types for whom blood from the community supply may be very hard to find. 


  • There is no transmission of infectious diseases. 
  • It ensures blood type compatibility, which may be of special importance for some people with rare blood types. 
  • The risk of some kinds of transfusion reactions is reduced.


  • Just obtaining autologous blood increases the probability that you will need a blood transfusion compared to other patients, because you can develop anemia because of the autologous donation itself. 
  • Severe transfusion reactions, like fluid overload causing heart failure, are not prevented by autologous donation. 
  • Reactions and injuries can occur from the donation process itself, like those among regular donors. 
  • Some patients find the requirement for donation appointments to be inconvenient. 
  • If autologous blood is transfused properly, at least half of it is not required for transfusion and is wasted, since few autologous donors meet the stringent criteria for giving blood for other patients' use. 
  • Autologous donation is much more expensive than using the routine blood supply, at a time when the risks it is supposed to prevent have become very rare.

Under what conditions is autologous blood donation appropriate? 
It should be restricted to surgeries where the likelihood of needing blood is high, despite use of other reasonable blood conservation measures. Not all individuals will qualify for autologous blood donation. For example, it may not be safe for persons with certain heart, lung, or kidney problems to donate their own blood. ImpactLife has established guidelines to determine who may be an autologous donor.  

What arrangement must I make for autologous blood donation? 
First, speak with your doctor about autologous blood donation. If your doctor is not familiar with this procedure, ask them to contact the hospital transfusion service or blood bank. An order must be placed through the blood banking system after approval by the Transfusion medical director or designee. Impactlife will coordinate collection of units once order has been placed. Your doctor must complete an ImpactLife autologous form and fax (563-823-8941) or email it to the Patient Services Department at ImpactLife. You will be contacted by Patient Services after your order is received. A brief medical history will be obtained over the phone, and your appointment(s) will be scheduled. 

How long does the procedure take? 
The entire procedure take up to 90 minutes for each donation. After you are registered, a mini-physical and medical history will be taken. If screening confirms autologous donation is likely to be safe for you, the actual blood drawing takes around 10 minutes. Following a brief rest period and refreshments, you will be able to return to your normal activities.

Will I become anemic if I donate blood before my surgery? 
Your body's ability to replace the red blood cells lost during an autologous donation is very important. If your pre-donation red cell count is below a pre-established level, your blood may not be collected. The mild anemia that develops in many autologous blood donors actually makes it more likely such patients will require transfusion than those who do not donate their own blood. To reduce this risk, your doctor may choose to prescribe iron and/or other supplements before your autologous donation(s). 

How many units of blood can I donate before my surgery? 
The number of units you should donate is determined by your doctor. The number of units collected will depend upon your physical condition, type of surgery, and date of the scheduled surgery. Autologous donations must be given no more than six weeks before-and no less than two weeks-before the anticipated surgery.


  • For questions about the possible need for blood during surgery or your ability to donate for yourself, please contact your doctor. 
  • For questions concerning the actual donation or scheduling, please contact our Patient Services Department at 563-823-4132 or email