Safest blood is from voluntary, unpaid donations

On World Blood Donor Day 2011, WHO calls on more people all over the world to save lives by volunteering to donate blood regularly.

Voluntary blood donation is the most important step in advancing blood safety in the last 50 years. The criteria used to select donors have become increasingly standardized and stringent. Also, testing technologies have evolved so much that the risks associated with receiving donated blood are negligible, although the cost of testing has increased greatly.

Voluntary donation involves donors’ being selected and disclosing details of their lifestyles in interviews, as well as testing. It is therefore far safer than paid donation. Black markets in blood have developed in some countries, and these carry great risks.

At present, 27 European countries have reached 100% voluntary non-remunerated donation, while other Member States are at different stages of progress towards this goal.

More people must sign up to give blood and be included in national blood-donor databases. This will support stable, safe blood supplies, and improve the provision of blood for transfusion in special circumstances.

World Blood Donor Day

The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2011 is “More blood, more life”, emphasizing the urgent need for more people to save lives by volunteering to give blood regularly. World Blood Donor Day is an international event celebrated on 14 June every year:

  • to thank regular blood donors;
  • to raise awareness of the need for safe blood donations; and
  • to encourage more people to give blood regularly.