This makes the most of every blood donation, as the components in one unit of blood (or one donation) can be used to treat different patients.
After being donated, blood or components of blood are given to patients through a blood transfusion. This is done through an intravenous line which enters directly into a blood vessel. Around two thirds of the blood donated in England is used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders.
Sometimes, blood may not be suitable for transfusion. This blood can still benefit patients in areas like the development of treatments and therapies. Blood can also be very useful for research and training, and to help develop tests.
There are four main blood groups – A, B, AB and O – which is determined by the genes an individual inherits from their parents. The groups are defined by the antigens and antibodies that make up an individual’s blood. Blood group O is the most common blood group with almost half of the UK population (48 percent) has blood group O.