Your doctor will tell you why your baby needs a blood transfusion. Sometimes babies need a blood transfusion because they have anemia (less red blood cells than normal).
Your baby will only get the part of the blood that is needed. The different parts of blood that can be transfused are:
Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. All of the organs in the body (especially the heart, brain, and kidney) need oxygen to work properly.
Platelets are small, sticky cells that make plugs on walls of vessels. This helps to prevent and/or stop bleeding.
Plasma is the clear, liquid part of the blood that has proteins in it. These proteins help the blood to clot. Plasma can be given with platelets to prevent and/or stop bleeding.
Directed Donation is when someone donates blood to be given to a specific person (e.g., a parent donating blood for a child). Directed donation is not always possible. Someone that wants to donate blood for a baby must meet the same standards as other blood donors. Your doctor can help to arrange a directed donation, if this is appropriate.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor (or whoever ordered your blood product).
Last Revised: May 6, 2016
Author: Transfusion Medicine Safety Program, Alberta Health Services