Automated Donor Grouping (ADG)

Automated Donor Grouping (ADG)

Our Role

We test Irish Blood Donors to determine their Blood Group Blood group systems are comprised of specific antigens located on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs).  Many people are familiar with ABO & Rhesus Blood Group Systems although there are many more. There are 44 blood group systems consisting of over 300 antigens.

Who do we screen?

  • The IBTS collects approximately 140,000 donations per year, approximately 10% of which are first time donors.
  • Additional testing is performed in a targeted manner to screen for Sickle Cell trait, and to identify abnormal red cell antibodies.
  • If a red cell antibody is of a certain strength the donor may be excluded from donation. All donations must be tested for the presence of red cell antibodies. Furthermore, to prevent rare acute haemolytic transfusion reaction (AHTR), high titre A/B screening is performed to detect those donors who have high levels of antibodies to group A or B red cells.
  • Certain donations are further typed for extended antigens within the Duffy, Kidd, Kell and MNS blood group systems. Specific antigen negative donations are provided to patients with clinically significant red cell antibodies.

Our Technology

  • The Automated Donor Grouping (ADG) is an Immunohaematology laboratory, similar to hospital Transfusion Laboratories. 
  • Our testing is performed on EDTA whole blood samples using Beckman Coulter PK7400 as the primary typing analyser, and the Ortho Vision as the secondary typing analyser.
  • We have developed high-throughput processes which enables the IBTS to better serve our patients and their health.

Beckman Coulter PK7400

  • The PK7400 is a fully automated blood grouping instrument which is capable of testing 300 samples per hour.
  • It performs serological analysis of anti-coagulated blood samples employing a specialised microtitre plate system - this allows us to review up to 10 donor results on 1 plate. 
  • Dilutions of donor red cells are made and dispensed together with known antisera into a microtitre plate.
  • Donor plasma is tested against reagent red cells for the presence of red cell antibodies and high-titre A/B
  • Blood groups are determined by the presence or absence of agglutination when donor red cells are reacted against specific antisera (direct/forward grouping).
  • The donor plasma may also be tested against red cells carrying known blood group antigens (indirect/reverse grouping).
  • The reactions occur in a controlled closed environment at 30°C and take 1 hour. After 1 hour the plates are scanned by a video camera and the reaction pattern measured.
  • Results are monitored and reviewed by a Medical Scientist and after verfication, results are transmitted to the Laboratory Information System.
PK7400 preparation to test first-time donors

Ortho Vision by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics

  • To accommodate the needs of our recipients and to support the IBTS vision of providing a safer, world-class blood supply, extended antigen typing & antibody screening is performed on our donors using the Ortho Vision Analyser. Selected donations are additionally typed for antigens within the Duffy, Kidd, Kell and MNS blood group systems.  
  • Ortho Vision analyser is automated blood typing testing system used in many hospitals which has been adapted to allow for use in the IBTS.
  • Tests performed on this instrument include ABO, Rh, MNS, Fya/b, Jka/b and k typing, as well as a more sensitive antibody screen and antibody ID panel
Booking tests on the Ortho Vision platform.

Sickle Cell Disease Screening

  • Mandatory Sickle cell screening is performed on neonatal donors and donors who were born outside of Ireland and the UK. We also select certain donors whose Rh type makes them more likely to be transfused into a patient with sickle cell disease
  • Sickle cell trait is tested for using a manual sodium dithionate haemoglobin solubility test method.

    Research & Publications

    We encourage our team to contribute to many different research projects and events throughout their career.  Most recently, we published our findings on our donor antigen profiles, and presented at our customer information day on the frequency of blood groups in our donors, and our urgent need to diversify our donor base.

    Our Team


    Chief Medical Scientist: Moira Keogh | Moira graduated from CIT with a BSc in Biomedical Science in 2005, and started her career at the IBTS the same year. She worked in the Red Cell Immunohematology Reference Laboratory for 13 years, during which time she was awarded her MSc in Biomedical Science from the University of Ulster. Moira assumed the role of Chief Medical Scientist in Automated Donor Grouping in 2019, and was involved in the project to merge the donor testing laboratories into the National Donor Screening Laboratory. She has a special interest in rare red cell donors, and diversifying the Irish donor population.


    • Contact the lab on: 01 4322981
    • Contact email for Lab:
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