Rare Blood Types
People come in all different shapes, sizes and blood types. The vast majority of blood types fall into one of the three major groups (A, B and O). However, for a small percentage of the population, finding someone else with the same blood type can be as difficult as searching for a needle in a haystack.
Red blood cells carry markers called antigens on their surface that determine one’s blood type. There are more than 600 known antigens besides A and B. Certain blood types are unique to specific racial and ethnic groups. Therefore it is essential that the donor diversity match the patient diversity. For example, U-negative and Duffy-negative blood types are unique to the African-American community. So sickle cell patients with these blood types must rely on donors with matching blood types in the African-American community.
By using a close blood type match, patients are at a lower risk of developing complications from transfusion therapy. For this reason, it is extremely important to increase the number of available blood donors from all ethnic groups.
Source: The American Red Cross