Blood Type Properties

Updated on May 26, 2012

Red Blood Cell:


Every person has a blood type. Blood types are classifications of the properties of a person's blood concerning how the blood reacts to new blood via a blood transfusion, and are often organized into a system of ABO blood types. Knowing the differences in blood types helps doctors prevent patients from having dangerous allergic reactions during blood transfusions.

ABO Blood Types:

Blood types are determined and named by the existence of two different antigens present on the surface of red blood cells; A antigens and B antigens. These antigens, which can be sugars or proteins, are essentialy markers attached to red blood cell membranes that let the body's immune system know which type of blood is natural to the body and which should be destroyed. For example, someone with A antigens would not be able to receive B antigen blood, as the immune system would attack what it sees as "incompatible" blood. The immune system responds to blood types through the use of antibodies produced by the blood. These antibodies are made to counter antigens of the opposite type - ie: anti-A antibodies attack B antigens and anti-B antibodies attack A antigens. The main blood types are:

Type A: This type contains A antigens and produces anti-B antibodies.

Type B: This type contains B antigens and produces anti-A antibodies.

Type AB: This type contains both A and B antigens. As such, type AB blood will attack neither type A nor type B blood because it accepts both antigens as being natural to the body. This means AB blood is able to accept any type of blood during transfusions, making it a universal acceptor.

Type O: This type contains no antigens. This means that O blood will not react with antibodies produced by other blood types, making it a universally accepted blood type for transfusions, also called a universal donor.

Blood Type
Antigens on Surface
Antibodies made
A antigens
B antigens
A and B antigens
Anti-A and Anti-B

The Rh Factor:

Among the four basic blood types, further organization is made, splitting each type into a positive and negative branch. This is derived from a third antigen present in red blood cells, called the D antigen. The presence of this antigen, or lack thereof, coordinates blood types into the two branches by their Rhesus (Rh) factor. The existence of D antigens on red blood cells classifies blood types as Rh positive, such as O+ or A+. The lack of D antigens on red blood cells classifies blood types as Rh negative, such as O- or A-. The Rh factor of an individual can help determine which blood types he/she can receive or donate to in a blood transfusion, as seen in the next section.

Blood Type Compatibility:


Because of the A and B antigens and antibodies, certain blood types can interact with each other without causing a problem in transfusions, while other may be incompatible and even kill the recipient of the transfusion. When an incompatible blood type is introduced to a body, the antibodies produced by red blood cells quickly attach to the antigen they are specified for (ex. anti-A attaches to A antigens). This causes the blood to clot while the antibodies destroy the incompatible blood cells, causing an allergic reaction that can be quite severe, even fatal. Take a look at the picture above to see which blood types are compatible with each other.

Type A: A can receive from A types and O types, but will react to B antigens. It can donate to both A types and AB types, since AB has A antigens naturally.

Type B: B can receive from B types and O types, but will react to A antigens. It can donate to both B types and AB types, since AB has B antigens naturally.

Type AB: AB is a universal acceptor since it can receive blood from any type. This is due to the presence of both A and B antigens, meaning AB does not producing anti-A or anti-B antibodies. However, because AB has both types of antigens, it can only donate to other AB types.

Type O: O can only accept blood from other O types since it contains both anti-A and anti-B antibodies that will react to any other blood type. However, type O's lack of antigens means that it will not react when donated to other blood types, making it a universal donor.

It is important to note that because of the Rh factor, negative blood types can donate to both negative and positive blood types, but positive blood types can only donate to other positive types.


In general, Rh negative blood types are less common then their positive counterparts, and the main groups increase in rarity from O --> A --> B --> AB. Take a look at the table below from to see a more complete analysis of blood type ratios. For more information about blood types and to see the original version of the table, visit

1 in 3 people
1 in 15 people
1 in 3 people
1 in 16 people
1 in 12 people
1 in 67 people
1 in 29 people
1 in 167 people

Blood Type Poll:

What is your blood type?

See results

Questions & Answers


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      • Btryon86 profile imageAUTHOR


        7 years ago

        Jean Pierre,

        The basic properties are the same for everyone. They way each sex is affected may be different; for example, a pregnant woman may develop antibodies that attack the fetus' red blood cells if the parent and child have differing blood types, which obviously could not happen to a male. However, the actual function and characterisics of each blood type won't vary from one sex to another.

      • profile image

        jean pierre 

        7 years ago

        It should be better if you include the properties of each group for both female and male

      • baygirl33 profile image


        7 years ago from Hamilton On.

        great information .I love this kind of stuff!

        And congrats on winning the hub of the day.

        Way to go!!

      • Btryon86 profile imageAUTHOR


        7 years ago

        Thank you all for your great comments! And thanks to anyone who voted for me!

      • HolyMosses20 profile image


        7 years ago from Hammond, Louisiana

        It is so rewarding to be recognized, I'm jealous -lol

        Great job of sharing, helpful info for everyone!

      • RichieGils profile image


        7 years ago

        Congrats on winning the Hubnugget Btryon86! Excellent work!

      • Sustainable Sue profile image

        Sustainable Sue 

        8 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

        Here's another factor to blood type that I find interesting. It isn't just the blood that's different. There's something about the blood type that slightly changes the entire chemistry in a person's body, such that they respond to food differently as well. There are lists compiled of foods compatible with and antagonistic to different blood types. I've tried the diet and it works for me (Blood Type A+), but some scientists have discredited the theory.

      • mwilliams66 profile image


        8 years ago from Left Coast, USA

        Congratulations on winning the Hubnugget award. Very well deserved! (you had my vote)

        Looking forward to reading your next hub.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        8 years ago from Sunny Florida

        This is a well written hub about blood, and you covered the topic very thoroughly. Congrats on your Hubnugget nomination.

      • mwilliams66 profile image


        8 years ago from Left Coast, USA

        Congratulations on the well earned Hubnugget nomination btryon86.

      • christin53 profile image


        8 years ago from UK

        Excellent hub. I'm O- and do remember having to be injected with something when my kids were born.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Congrats on the ripple I am A+ and I found this hub very well done. This answered the question on the +...cheers and thanks

      • ripplemaker profile image

        Michelle Simtoco 

        8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

        Awesome hub and very helpful too. It is good to know what blood type we have. I am type A+. By the way speaking of blood type, I do remember that when a Type A person and Type O have a baby, there is the tendency that when the baby comes out, they are yellowish. My two sister-in-law experienced this. Hmmmm...

        Congratulations on another accomplishment -this hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets! Way to go, this way to read and vote

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Very well written blog. Now I understand blood types. I am O+ like my father.

      • coffeegginmyrice profile image

        Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 

        8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

        Great information and useful too. I still don't know my blood type or perhaps forgotten what it was. I don't know about my kids' blood types either. I have to remind myself for a next family doctor's appointment, to be sure to ask about it. Voted up and sharing. Well deserved Hub of the Day! Congratulations Brandon!

      • anam hasib profile image

        anam hasib 

        8 years ago from lucknow

        that was a useful hub..thanx...:)

      • msorensson profile image


        8 years ago

        You did a great job.

      • Btryon86 profile imageAUTHOR


        8 years ago


        I think it would probably depend on what the focus of the class is. My biology course really hasn't discussed blood types, it has more to do with cell functions and replication proceses.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        8 years ago from Beautiful South

        We typed our own blood in my freshman biology class in college. Do they not do that anymore?

      • rahul0324 profile image

        Jessee R 

        8 years ago from Gurgaon, India

        A very well written and well detailed hub! Brilliant on the information

        Award well deserved!

      • Dardia profile image

        Darlene Yager 

        8 years ago from Michigan

        Congratulations on HOTD! Voting up. This is very useful and helpful especially for first time mom's as a couple of people mentioned in their comments above. I have 6 sisters and we are all B-. My mother was B- and my father was O+ but somehow he managed to pass on negative Rh. This is another amazing thing about my family, that somehow they managed to have 11 children and not lose a single one. This was before RhoGam. Since then only one of my sisters fought with sensitisation. She lost two children and managed to carry 3 to full-term 2 of which needed blood transfusions. RhoGam was not enough for her. Maybe you should do a follow up hub on RhoGam and how it works!?

        Great hub, keep up the good work.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        I think I'm a B, but it has been ages since I checked.

      • MelChi profile image

        Melanie Chisnall 

        8 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

        Biology was never my favourite subject in school. If only we'd had teachers who kept everything as simple and as interesting as your hub! Great work! Voted up and interesting, useful and awesome :)

      • NZUNG SERAPHINE profile image


        8 years ago

        Thanks for sharing.i am fast becoming a science student.

      • My Minds Eye53 profile image

        Maude Keating 

        8 years ago from Tennessee

        I found this very interesting and useful. I know I am an "O" but not whether I am positive or negative.

        Voted up and congratulations on Hub of the Day!

      • yougotme profile image

        Renz Kristofer Cheng 

        8 years ago from Manila

        Great write up on Blood Types! And congratulations for the Hub of the Day award, you earned it well!

      • MarleneB profile image

        Marlene Bertrand 

        8 years ago from USA

        Very informative hub. I learned a lot. I like the chart with the ratios. It's interesting to see how many people have the same type of blood as I do.

        By the way, congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day.

      • sammimills profile image


        8 years ago from California, USA

        Congrats on Being HOTD! Very helpful information you have there. Thanks for sharing.

      • iefox5 profile image


        8 years ago

        Helpful introduction for blood dummies like me, thanks !

      • pinkhawk profile image


        8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

        Thank you very much for the ideas! ^_^ Worth reading...

      • Golfgal profile image


        8 years ago from McKinney, Texas

        Great explanation of the blood types. I never really knew the exact differences were actually from an antigen attachment. Very interesting. Congrats on the Hub of certainly deserved it.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Good information and well-presented. I have a better understanding of the different types of blood now. I am an O positive, making me a universal donor. okay, so 1 in 3 people not too common. Maybe that's what makes me unique. Congrats on hub of the day!

      • RichieGils profile image


        8 years ago

        Congrats on Hub of the Day, Btryon86! I'm a little embarrassed to admit I don't know my blood type. Perhaps it's time I found out. Excellent presentation of an interesting subject!

      • jdavis88 profile image

        Joseph Davis 

        8 years ago from Florida

        (O+) Excellent Hub! Few people know exactly how great it is to see a bag of O neg hanging in an ER when it is really needed, sadly it is scarce in some places!

        Also, in many cases, Rh factor does not developed until a child is well out of the womb. For this reason, in the rare case that a mother that is Rh neg is pregnant with a child that is already Rh positive there are special risks for the child that is seen as a foreign antigen.

        Voted up, good reading

      • melbel profile image


        8 years ago from Midwest, USA

        Really awesome and uber informative hub! I don't know what blood type I am, but I am thinking of figuring it out when I get into biology in the fall. It would definitely be interesting to find out. Most people in my family are O negative, so I wouldn't be surprised if I am too.

      • melpor profile image

        Melvin Porter 

        8 years ago from New Jersey, USA

        Very well written hub and very informative. The information was explained very thorough.

      • Btryon86 profile imageAUTHOR


        8 years ago

        Ciel Clark,

        Thanks for your comment! The poll is just to get a general idea of blood type distribution without the Rh factor. You're welcome to participate whether you're positive or negative :) I myself am O-!

      • Ciel Clark profile image

        Ciel Clark 

        8 years ago from USA

        Btryon86, very clear, well- researched and important topic. I am amazed that most people don't know their blood type. I didn't until I was thirty and pregnant! Why isn't this a common part of medical history?? Great hub, thanks. (And much more scientific than my wacky one on blood :)

        I didn't vote on your poll though... no space for us RH Negs! Congrats and voted, cheers, CC

      • gabgirl12 profile image


        8 years ago

        I'm very happy to see a hub of the 'day' that is scientific. And it deals with something that we rarely think about. Some of us don't even know what our blood type is. I found out when I was pregnant with my second child what my blood type was. I would also LOVE to give blood. I have severe anemia though. Thanks for writing it. Knowledge is power! Congrats on being Hub of the Day!

      • Dawnrichard profile image


        8 years ago

        Keep it up @Btryon. We always with you.


      • Btryon86 profile imageAUTHOR


        8 years ago

        Thanks to everyone who has commented. it's quite humbling to receive such wonderful feeback, and It's great motivation to keep hubbing!

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        8 years ago from Houston, Texas

        You explained the different blood types beautifully to where people can easily understand. Congrats on HOTD award. Well deserved!

      • livingpah2004 profile image


        8 years ago from USA

        Awesome hub about blood type. I love to learn these things. Thanks for writing on this subject.

        Congrats on HOTD!

      • DzyMsLizzy profile image

        Liz Elias 

        8 years ago from Oakley, CA

        Very interesting--I remember learning all of this in Human Physiology in high school. The medical field fascinates me, but I could never work as a doctor or nurse, as I don't have it in me to stab anyone with a needle! (I hate needles, and I believe in the 'golden rule.') ;-)

        My dad was AB+; my mom was O+; I came out as B+.

        A friend of mine in high school was a middle child of 6. Her mom was RH-. When she was carrying her last child, was about the time they discovered this potential problem, and the docs told her that she shouldn't have any more kids because of it. She laughed and said, "This is my 6th!" She wasn't planning anymore anyway, but it struck her funny. So, I guess the operative word is, it CAN cause harm to the fetus, but it is not necessarily guaranteed to do so.

        There is a presentation -- I think it's on YouTube -- that explores the RH factor from a totally different perspective, claiming that since the naming of it comes from the Rhesus Monkey, in which population it was first discovered, they refer to it as "monkey blood," and those who are RH- lack this factor--and therefore are actually aliens. It's either funny or makes you stop and think, depending on your position on the matter of ET's.

        Great article--congrats on HOTD! Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

      • urmilashukla23 profile image


        8 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

        Useful and interesting article. Thanks for posting it. Congratulations on Hub of the day award!

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

        Nice informative hub. Thanks for sharing such useful info.

        Voted up & useful.

      • savvydating profile image


        8 years ago

        Also, a doctor will always check a pregnant woman's RH factor, particularly if she is RH negative and the partner is RH positive. She will be given a shot of RH immune globulin (I believe)to prevent her immune system from making antibodies that may harm the fetus. But, no cause for alarm. Doctor's are aware of this and routinely follow matters to a proper conclusion.

        Thanks for a very interesting hub and congratulations!

      • Teresa Coppens profile image

        Teresa Coppens 

        8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Congratulations on getting Hub of the Day! Very well written hub. Interesting and informative!

      • mwilliams66 profile image


        8 years ago from Left Coast, USA

        Conngrats on HOTD. Your hubs were the first that I read on hubpages. I have been addicted ever since. Thanks for pulling me in with your excellent writing and informative articles.

      • profile image

        Lila Daley 

        8 years ago

        Congrates on HOTD! Great hub! So easy to understand and very informative.

        I am A+ and my daughter is O-. It is nice to know what that means as they told me that she can donate to anyone but can only receive O-.

      • MickiS profile image


        8 years ago from San Francisco

        Congratulations on getting Hub of the Day! Very well deserved for a very well written article.

      • moonlake profile image


        8 years ago from America

        Congrats on Hub of the day. Very interesting hub. Voted Up.

      • divacratus profile image

        Kalpana Iyer 

        8 years ago from India

        I had studied this at school but now seems to have forgotten it all. Thanks for refreshing my memory :) Congrats on getting hub of the day. Well deserved!

      • Btryon86 profile imageAUTHOR


        8 years ago

        Yes, this is true, which is why I pointed out in the article that only Rh negative types can donate to other negatives.

      • Haballa profile image

        Andrew Aballa 

        8 years ago from Kisumu, Kenya

        People who are rhesus negative can only get blood from rhesus negative individuals, that's why you get those calls. If a hospital has an A- accident victim, the person can only get blood from a fellow A- or a person who is o-. The only problem is that rhesus positive individuals are not many. That is why hospitals and blood transfussion centres treasure rhesus negative individuals.

      • Shanna11 profile image


        8 years ago from Utah

        I'm fascinated with blood types, so this was an interesting read. I'm A-, and I get calls to donate a lot-- not sure why, but I can donate to a fair amount of blood types, I suppose.

        My mom, sister and I are A-, but my all my brothers and dad are A+. Kind of strange how that worked out.

      • Haballa profile image

        Andrew Aballa 

        8 years ago from Kisumu, Kenya

        Although many people consider blood group o as the universal donor, it is strictly blood group o- that is the universal donor. Those who are blood group o+ should not donate to individuals who are o- they can only get blood from other o-ves. Although rhesus negative blood group is very rare from where I come from, it is a challenge especially when o-ves require a transfusion. Rhesus is a vital factor that should be put into consideration. For example, a rhesus negative mother who carries a rhesus positive foetus may seriously injure the unborn. That is if they do not take measures to mitigate this sensitisation.

        Overal, great hub, quite informative


      • brsmom68 profile image

        Diane Ziomek 

        8 years ago from Alberta, Canada

        Congratulations on Hub of the Day! You have laid out the classifications in an easy to understand format. Voted up and interesting.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        8 years ago from Beautiful South

        Congratulations on the HOTD award. You did an extremely well organized presentation of this subject. I studied this in college zoology, but they never called the RH factor "antigen D". This will help me to remember and understand what the RH factor is.

        I had a friend in high school who was AB negative, and he was occasionally called in to donate to the blood bank. I was under the impression that there was an age limit of 18 to be a blood donor, but maybe I'm wrong. He was donating at 16 and 17 because his type was so difficult to obtain. Voted up++

      • Btryon86 profile imageAUTHOR


        8 years ago

        Thank you all so much for the support! I certainly didn't expect to wake up to 15 new comments and a hub of the day award! I'm glad this hub has helped you understand blood types and convinced a few of you to donate, it's much needed. I wish I could donate since I'm O- and a universal donor myself, but unfortunately I have autoimmune diseases that prevent me from doing so. Neverthelesss, thanks so much!

      • leahlefler profile image

        Leah Lefler 

        8 years ago from Western New York

        Congratulations on hub of the day - great article on blood types! My aunt is a universal donor (O-) so she makes frequent trips to the blood bank, as they are always in need.

      • mary615 profile image

        Mary Hyatt 

        8 years ago from Florida

        Congrats on HOTD. I'm an old retired Lab. Tech. so I'm very familiar with blood types. You did a lot of research for this Hub, and it shows.

      • ktrapp profile image

        Kristin Trapp 

        8 years ago from Illinois

        This was very interesting. I always felt so ordinary with my O+ blood, but hey, I guess I'm a universal donor! Congratulation on hub of the day.

      • Dawnrichard profile image


        8 years ago

        Very good info @btryon86. I don't know my blood group till now and after seeing your hub now i want to do it. Wish it would be O- .

        And congratulations for being hub of the day. Cheers.


      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Congratulations on your Hub of the Day award for this resource that explains blood types.

      • internetgeek profile image

        Nizam Khan 

        8 years ago from Hyderabad, India.

        This is really very interesting and informative Hub regarding this topic. You have explained is a simple yet very useful way. Thanks for sharing and congrats on "Hub of the Day".

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 

        8 years ago from UK

        Very interesting hub, and I learned a lot from it as I’ve never read a full explanation like this before.

        Congrats on Hub of the Day.

      • mottiandbander profile image


        8 years ago from Chd

        Thanks for sharing such a nice hub. I have 0- blood group.I wish i can donate my blood but afraid to do this.

        After reading this i want to do it now.

        Motti and bander

      • learner365 profile image

        Saadia A 

        8 years ago

        Very useful information which you have shared. I was unaware about the exact properties of blood groups but after reading your Hub,things have become clearer.

        Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your Hub of the Day as well!!!

      • jpcmc profile image

        JP Carlos 

        8 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

        Thisis very interesting. I'm an A+ but did not have an idea what it meant until now. Excellent explanation. Congrtualation on the HOTD.

      • harinarayan profile image


        8 years ago from Kerala, India

        Thanks for sharing the useful hub. congrats for hub of the day award as a newbie. voted in the pole,voted up and useful

      • unknown spy profile image

        Life Under Construction 

        8 years ago from Neverland

        Very informative hub! I like it,


      • indieswebs profile image


        8 years ago from Bhavnagar, India

        Indeed a useful HUB. Just donated blood yesterday. I really liked "Rarity".

      • Jennifer Stone profile image

        Jennifer Stone 

        8 years ago from the Riverbank, England

        Congrats on HOTD award! Very interesting and informative hub, thanks!

      • brightforyou profile image

        Helen Lewis 

        8 years ago from Florida

        Ver useful information - thank you!

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Excellent !!!

      • Just About It profile image

        Just About It 

        8 years ago from southern CA

        Great Hub about blood typing. It shows how important blood donation can be for some individuals.

      • mwilliams66 profile image


        8 years ago from Left Coast, USA

        Very informative. Blood type is so often misunderstood. You have articulated this article in such a way that it should lay to rest most misconceptions.


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