“You know, you’re a universal donor” back then I had little to no knowledge of what it meant but I’d brag around my friends & tell them how special my blood was.
One fine day in grade 10 we had a chapter in Biology that included a small portion about blood types. It sparked enough interest in me to finally get the hang of the term ‘Universal Donor’.
My blood type is O negative and so is my dad’s. But my mother has blood type O positive. Almost all my family members on my father’s side have O negative blood type. Hence, it wasn’t difficult for me to figure out why I have it.
Now, why are there different blood groups?
The three blood types namely, A B & O were discovered by an Austrian Physician, Karl Landsteiner which earned him a Nobel prize in 1930.
Later others discovered the AB blood type.
The underlying factor that separates blood groups from one another are ‘Antigens’.
It’s the coating around Red Blood Cells (RBCs). There are 2 main antigens found around RBCs; A & B.
While AB blood group has both of them, O blood type has neither.
Another common term that we come across quite often is RH positive and RH negative. What exactly is RH and what do we mean by + & -?
In our blood there is a collection of 45 antigens called Rhesus. The name has come from the Rhesus monkey which led to the theory of evolution of mankind from monkeys.
To be more specific :
, if you’re RH + : you’ll have all 45 antigens but if you’re RH – : you’ve none. This is the simple meaning behind RH and + & – .
This blood type comes with its own set of pros and cons. I’ve seen my aunts having problems during pregnancy because of their blood type.
However with every problem there’s a solution now thanks to the advancedments in medicine and technology. A woman with O negative blood type can get RhGAM or RH Immune Globulin injections to prevent their immune systems from producing antibodies when they’re pregnant with a child that has RH positive blood type.
Well, now comes the fun part! Myths pertaining to RH negative blood type always fascinate me even though some of them are as absurd as linking our lineage to aliens. Yes.
The one population with high density of the gene for RH – blood type are the Basques from northeastern Spain. Considering them RH – dates all the way back to Cro-Magnon ancestry going back to upper Paleolithic period.
While other possible sources of RH- blood line could be the aliens. Some people believe that they genetically engineered or even mated with humans and hence here we are, RH negative blood types!
But the fact that our DNA make-up is very much like any other human being who has originated on planet earth contradicts the myth about aliens.
At the end of the day it’s just a blood type, positive or negative, A B O or AB with pros & cons just as every other blood type. Yes, we can donate blood to all types but only receive the same blood makes us unique and may even be termed as a setback. But I think being human has its own pros and cons. While there’s study that suggests that each blood type should follow a particular diet I believe that eating healthy & drinking lots of water should suffice whether you’re RH+ or RH-.
As a child most universal donors probably feel proud due to the fact that they’re different than the rest.
But there’s greater satisfaction in doing something good with what you have rather than boasting about it. So, donate and help others in need.
It doesn’t matter what your blood type is, universal or non-universal, someone out there is definitely your type.
Links to the sources I used:
The picture with the quote is from one of my favorite songs called ‘Monster’ by Paramore.
Here’s a link to it : Paramore-Monster