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Being Rhesus Negative in Korea

Being Rhesus Negative in K...

Rh negative blood is not as common in Asia as in the West. So you want to become informed of the risks and prepare before you come to Korea. It can also be difficult for foreign nationals to give blood - they cannot be from Europe or the UK, they must have lived in Korea at least one year, they must bring an interpreter with them when applying to donate blood. (For more, scroll down to the topics list below this page.)

Getting blood shipped from one's home country is sometimes possible – but can be a challenge if it takes more than 24 hours to get here.  Following is unofficial information on shipping blood and blood products from Canada from Canadian Blood Services:

Generally the blood request comes from the treating physician, who would need to get clearance from the country’s (i.e. Korea) National regulator to import product from Canada. Canadian storage containers are only "validated" for 24 hour shipping and getting these units to Korea (if Canada has enough supply to spare) would be challenging within 24 hours. Possibly doable if it’s whole blood. Platelets would be more difficult however, so probably not as doable. platelets.  It's doable but would be a challenge.  Additionally, patients probably need platelets in addition to red cells and we know we have even more difficulties shipping platelets over long distances.
Normally in these situations the CBS would expect to be contacted by the (Korean) blood operator as that agency would coordinate the import of the product.   In these circumstances, if the Korean Red Cross is unable to meet the demand, then they would contact other blood agencies, in the same way that the CBS would contact international rare donor registries if unable to meet the need of a Canadian patient. (K4E Note: this may not be as common a practice in Korea as in other countries for a number of reasons including the fact that Rhesus negative blood is still uncommon in Korea not to mention possible language issues).

Register with one of the local groups advocating for rhesus negative patients once you arrive in Korea. Among them is a a small non-official group that was was set up in 2010 following problems incurred by Rh negative expats trying to donate blood. The group is called Blood Connections and you can find them on Google Groups and  Facebook. In spring 2010, a great number of foreign national tried to donate blood for an Rh negative Korean teen, but due to lack of information and system requirements they were either rejected as donors or their donation did not reach him. 

To learn more about the requirements for donating, scroll down and click on the blood tranfusions page.

Editor's Note: The information above is based on the information K4E has available at the time of writing.  K4E would appreciate your feedback should you find out that our information is out-of-date or incomplete. Contact us at

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Last Updated on 2015-03-20

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