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Let’s Talk About AB Blood Type

You’re an AB blood type — either AB-positive (AB+) or AB-negative (AB-). But what exactly does that mean for you and the patients who can receive your blood? Let’s explore some AB blood type facts.

Type AB Blood Donors

The AB-negative blood type is the rarest one in the United States. Only 1%, or 1 in every 100, Americans have this blood type. AB-positive is also one of the rarer blood types, coursing through the veins of only 4% of the U.S. blood donor population, or 1 in every 25 people.

Blood type AB is spread pretty evenly among all races and ethnicities. Asian Americans are slightly more likely to have AB blood type than other ethnicities, according to the ADRP.





Both AB Blood Types Are Always Needed

Because AB blood types are rare, it’s important that donors with this blood type donate on a regular basis. People with AB blood types are universal plasma donors, meaning any blood type can receive their plasma. You can double your impact by Powering Up to a plasma donation.

Blood type AB-positive donors have the distinction of being universal recipients, meaning they can receive a transfusion from any blood type.

Of course, the rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf when a patient needs it. Schedule your donation today, and encourage your friends of all blood types to join you!

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Why Blood Types Are Important

When a patients need a blood transfusion, it’s important they receive a blood type compatible with their own. Otherwise, the transfusion may do more harm than good.

Thankfully, in the many centuries since blood transfusions were first attempted, doctors and researchers discovered our different blood types and determined each type’s compatibility with other types.

How Blood Types Are Determined

Two antigens on your red blood cells determine type: A and B. When only the A antigen is present, you are blood type A. Same is true for the B antigen and blood type B. When both are present, that is called blood type AB, and when neither are present, it’s called blood type O. Visit our blood types blog if you want to read more.

There is also a protein called the Rh factor which, if present, makes your blood positive (+) and if not, your blood type is negative (-). The eight most common blood types are a result of the different combinations of A, B, O and the Rh factor — A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-, AB+, AB-.

Read on for more AB blood type facts such as compatibility:

  • This is the rarest blood type — only 1% of the U.S. blood donor population has type AB-negative blood.
  • Type AB-negative blood is considered a universal plasma donor, meaning anyone can receive type AB-negative plasma.
  • A patient with type AB-negative blood may receive any Rh-negative blood type.
  • The ideal donation types for type AB-negative are platelets or plasma.
  • This blood type is rare — only 4% of the U.S. blood donor population has type AB-positive blood.
  • Patients with type AB-positive blood are universal recipients, meaning they can receive a red cell transfusion from any blood type.
  • Type AB-positive red cells may only be transfused to type AB-positive patients.
  • It is considered a universal plasma donor type, meaning anyone with any blood type can receive type AB-positive plasma.
  • The ideal donation types for type AB-positive are platelets or plasma.