For certain procedures, you might consider designated donations. This is when friends or family members from the same blood group donate blood for your use.

Designated donations can be used as an alternative to volunteer donor blood, but is only permitted for elective procedures.

Designated donations requires quite a bit of planning. Before the transfusion takes place, we’ll first need to obtain, test and process the required number of units. The request for designated donations has to come from the patient and not the donor (the patient has to select the donors and advise us of who they have selected).

Donations can only be scheduled once the following has been received:

  • request form from the clinician indicating number and type of products required
  • consent form from the patient
  • copies of blood group and blood group antibody results for the patient and potential donors

Designated donors must be in good health and meet all WCBS routine donor acceptance criteria.

As a designated donor, you’ll be required to complete our standard donor questionnaire. Recipients will also have to supply a donation request form completed by their doctor.

Donations are scheduled at the premises in Ndabeni.


  • Recipients can choose which donor’s blood they receive.
  • Designated donation gives the recipient peace of mind when facing stressful medical conditions.
  • Donors have the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped a friend or family member.


  • Studies have shown that designated donation may not actually be any safer than using blood from the general supply.
  • There are risks involved when using blood from a relative, such as the possibility of contracting graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a rare bone marrow compatibility disease.

If you’re a woman of childbearing age, designated donation from your husband and his relatives is not advised. There’s a lot of science involved, but in short it boils down to the fact that it could affect the safety of future pregnancies.

A friend or family member may also not donate if they have:

  • Visited a malaria area recently
  • Had diarrhoea or vomiting in the past 30 days
  • Had dental work three days or less before donation
  • A current minor infection (with or without antibiotic therapy)
  • A history of sexually transmitted disease
  • Changed sexual partners in the last three months
  • A serious medical condition

There are additional costs to the routine cost of each blood product so the option of designated donations will be more costly than ordering blood from the regular supply:

  • Irradiation: per product donated by a first or second degree relatives (plasma does not require irradiation)
  • Designated procedure surcharge per designated donor

The patient is billed for all designated units whether or not they are utilised.

Blood from designated donations may only be transferred to the general blood supply if donated by a registered donor, with permission from the Head of the Medical Division at WCBS.

Good To Go?

The patient must please contact Specialised Donations for further information/to arrange the designated donations.

Contact the Specialised Donation Department at the Western Cape Blood Service on 021 507 6393/6320 for an appointment.