Could someone explain to me the difference between universal donor and universal recipient blood?I think I understand that one has no antibodies and the other has no antigens. Is this correct? ...

Could someone explain to me the difference between universal donor and universal recipient blood?

I think I understand that one has no antibodies and the other has no antigens. Is this correct?  It is still confusing to me.

Expert Answers
trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A universal donor is someone who can donate their blood to any other blood type. The universal donor is Type O. A person with type O blood lacks  antigen A and antigen B on their red blood cells. Because this type of blood contains no antigens, it may be safely donated to all other blood types. However, if someone is type A, they contain the A antigen. If type A blood was donated to someone with Type B antigens, an immune response would occur because the A antigen is a protein foreign to their body. The person would have antibodies to attack this foreign protein and a clumping reaction would occur. The wrong transfusion could kill someone.  A universal recipient is someone who can safely receive any blood type as a donation. That person would have type AB blood. Because both types of antigens are present on their red blood cells, they lack antibodies against  A and B. Any blood type can be transfused into their system, as they will not have an immune response against antigen A or antigen B. There is also the Rh factor to consider. If blood is Rh positive, the antigen for the Rh factor is present. If blood is Rh negative, the antigen is not present, however, that person will have antibodies for the Rh factor. So, technically the universal donor must be O negative.

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