American Rare Donor Program

While most people’s blood types fall into one of the eight major groups, some patients have rare blood types and require blood from donors with matching rare blood types.

The American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) was established in 1998 as a collaboration of American Red Cross and AABB Immunohematology Reference Laboratories. ARDP tracks and organizes rare donor information in an effort to better meet the needs of patients with rare blood types. Currently over 80 organizations participate in ARDP and over 45,000 active rare donors are in the database.

When a rare blood type is requested for a patient, the database can be searched to locate donors negative for a high-prevalence antigen or negative for multiple common antigens to ensure the patient receives compatible blood. Thanks to the American Red Cross and other participating blood centers, over 94% of the patients get the blood they need.

There are important things that everyone can do

  If you are... If you work at a donor center...
  • A rare donor, please donate as often as you are able.
  • A sibling of someone with a rare blood type, make this known to the blood collecting facility – your blood may be rare too.
  • And your facility has known rare donors, actively encourage these donors to donate.
  • Test the siblings of patients who require rare blood as they have a 1 in 4 chance of being rare also.


Additional Reference Material

download pdf Review: American Rare Donor Program
download pdf In search of red blood cells for alloimmunized patients with sickle cell disease