Autologous blood transfusion, i.e. "storing my own blood to be used by later time", is considered a kind of doping. Why is this practice banned like taking drugs when there is clearly no external substance used?

  • The same argument could be made for steroids. Conceivably, you could extract out your own testosterone, bank it up, have your body restore to its natural level, and then start adding the extra back in.
    – Alexander
    Jul 26 '19 at 22:43

Because it is a way to enhance performance, in an unnatural way. It basically has a similar effect as EPO: increasing your red blood cells. It can be very dangerous if done incorrectly, which is probably one of the reasons to ban it as a form of discouragement.

One of the most dangerous things that can happen is when the blood is if not stored correctly you can get severe infections which can make you very ill, in extreme cases if could end up being lethal. You can look up Riccardo Ricco for example, an Italian pro cyclist who tried using blood doping in 2011 which caused sepsis and kidney failure.

Increasing your red blood cells in a natural way, for example training at altitude, is allowed.

  • 2
    This could be improved by providing examples of what the dangers are: is it the red-cell count itself, the increased blood volume, dangers of the transfusion process, etc?
    – chepner
    Jul 26 '19 at 18:19
  • @chepner I think that it can slow the heart rate down to extremely low rates. Endurance athletes tend to have low heart rates as it is. Lowering it even further has killed a few cyclists.
    – Frank
    Jul 27 '19 at 4:32
  • @chepner I've added one of the dangers that recently actually happend in pro cycling.
    – MJB
    Jul 29 '19 at 12:55
  • That sounds more like the result of a non-sterile needle than an overabundance of red blood cells.
    – chepner
    Jul 29 '19 at 13:09
  • 1
    One of the biggest dangers is clots and blockage. The slow heart rate can't effectively move all the rbcs and they end up clotting and stroke occurs.
    – JohnP
    Jul 29 '19 at 13:10

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