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Type O Blood - The Most Common Blood Type in the U.S.

You don't need a gadget or colorful costume to be a hero.

The special powers contained within your type O blood could save the life of a cancer patient, a frightened child undergoing critical surgery, or someone involved in a horrific car accident. You are extraordinary. You are incredibly important to our lifesaving mission. And you are the first and last line of defense for the nearly five million Americans who depend on blood donations each year. Thank you for being an everyday hero by helping trauma patients in need!

O blood type is needed




O Blood Types Are Universally Important

We’re not exaggerating when we say blood type O has special powers. Blood type O-negative’s status as the universal donor is nothing to sneeze at – it means a patient with any blood type can receive your blood. This is especially important when a patient arrives at a hospital with severe blood loss and there isn’t time to check their blood type. Excessive bleeding is the most common cause of death within the first hour of a patient’s arrival at a trauma center, so doctors depend on blood type O-negative to save lives in such situations.

Blood type O-positive is the most common: Almost 40 percent of the U.S. blood donor population has this blood type. Blood type O-positive can be transfused into any patient who has a positive blood type – and that is a lot of people. About 85% of the population has a positive blood type, meaning your O-positive blood also is in demand. Your blood type has another special power - it is the safest for newborns who have immune deficiencies and need transfusions!

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Why Blood Types Are Important

When 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 O blood type facts such as compatibility:

  • 7% of the population, or 1 in 11 people, has type O-negative blood.
  • Type O-negative blood can be transfused to ALL blood types.
  • Patients with an O-negative blood type can only receive O-negative blood transfusions.
  • The ideal donation types for O-negative are whole blood and Power Red.
  • 40% of the population, or 1 in 2.5 people, has type O-positive blood.
  • Type O-positive blood can be transfused to any positive blood type: A-positive, B-positive, AB-positive, and of course other O-positives.
  • Patients with O-positive blood can receive blood transfusions from other O-positives or O-negative donors.
  • The ideal donation types for O+ donors are whole blood or Power Red.


Learn more about the importance of type O blood donors from one of our top medical experts.

Interested in maximizing your donation? Your type O blood makes you an ideal candidate for a Power Red donation. Learn more about Power Red and how you can double your impact for patients.

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