Having a blood supply that reflects the diversity of our population is absolutely imperative to meeting the blood transfusion needs of all patients. Each blood type uniquely matches with certain other blood types, meaning all blood types are always needed.
Rare blood types are often found in similar ethnic populations and are a matter of life and death for people with chronic diseases like sickle cell and beta thalassemia. These diseases are inherited, and people afflicted with them often needed frequent and ongoing blood transfusions. Since blood type also is inherited, the best blood donor match is usually someone from the same race. That’s why we need to increase the number of blood donors, especially from minority populations.
Donors of all ages are important, as well. Younger donors and first-time donors are continually needed to replace those who can no longer donate. Thanks to recent changes in FDA criteria, people previously deferred due to their sexual orientation or European residency are now able to donate if they meet other eligibility requirements.