Rare blood donors: a personal approach

Immunohematology. 2006;22(2):64-8.


The National Blood Group Reference Laboratory (NBGRL) in Israel was established in Jerusalem in 1971 and transferred to Magen David Adom (MDA), National Blood Services in 1995. This laboratory was the inspiration of the first author of this article for over 30 years. The realization of this vision was made possible by the cooperation of colleagues and laboratory workers in blood transfusion services throughout the country. The aim of the service was to provide diagnostic help in resolving immunohematologic problems found in the blood banks and clinics in Israel. In the beginning, only a part-time technician performed the work and testing was done using very limited reagents. The service was expanded by personal visits to all of the 22 blood banks in Israel to explain the aim of this new service and to educate them about the importance of resolving each and every case. One major issue was the cost involved in referring problems but it was decided at the outset that these would be covered by the government to ensure that a workup would be performed for all referred cases. The expansion of the service could not have been achieved without the help of the SCARF program. This voluntary service enabled us to identify the first rare donors in Israel, resolve complex cases, and find compatible blood for our patients. To illustrate the importance of the NBGRL in Israel and the rapid resolution of cases referred, several individual stories are described. The purpose of this review is to show the importance of the NBGRL in identifying rare blood groups and in providing and coordinating services and the importance of keeping in close contact with the rare donors to encourage and promote their donations, which may save lives.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Banks* / history
  • Blood Donors* / education
  • Blood Donors* / history
  • Blood Group Antigens* / history
  • Blood Grouping and Crossmatching* / history
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male


  • Blood Group Antigens