Blood Transfusions and Donation


Millions of people all over the world donate blood to save the people`s lives and to help the ill people to overcome their diseases. However, the representatives of certain religious groups may refuse from the blood donation and blood transfusion operation due to their beliefs. This paper investigates the opinion of the world religions of the blood donation.


The History of Blood Transfusions

Even at the ancient times, blood was considered to be the source of life and was used as healing and rejuvenating means. The mythic hero Odyssey gave blood to the ghosts of the underground to return their ability to speak and to recover their consciousness.

In the middle of the XVII century, there were discovered the principles of work of the blood circulation system, which gave the beginning to the attempts of blood transfusion from one animal to another. In 1667, Professor J. Dennis made an attempt to carry out a blood transfusion operation from a lamb to a young man. However, the further unsuccessful attempts caused the prohibition of this method.

The Modern Era of the Blood Transfusions

The modern era in the blood donation began at the beginning of the XX century. In 1900, the Viennese bacteriologist C. Landsteiner discovered that the human blood may be divided into three different groups. Later, the Landsteiner’s birthday, the 14th of June was chosen as the International day of the blood donor.

In 1907, J. Janski discovered the fourth group of blood. In 1907, with the help of agglutination in the process of transfusion Hektoen discovered the incompatibility of the blood groups as the reason for the complications. In 1918, the English physiologist Blandel made the first blood transfusion from one person to another.

Blood Donation and Christianity

In Christianity, the operations of blood transfusion and donation are considered to be permissible and even recommended to be carried out to save a life of a human. The blood donation is thought to be the action of mercifulness and the manifestation of the Christian love. The blood donation in the Christian faith should be totally altruistic. A donor should not demand any benefit from the process.

Christianity allows the transfusion both of the whole blood and the blood products that consist of the smaller fractions.

Blood Donation and Jehovah`s Witness

The representatives of Jehovah’s Witness famous all over the world due to their refusal from blood transfusions even if there exists a risk of death in the case if these measures are not implemented. They base their opinion on the expanded subjective interpretation of the Bible rule to withhold from the blood.

According to the doctrine of Jehovah`s Witness, the Bible states that the blood is sacral for the God as it contains the soul. Every member of the organization is recommended to have a document with a refusal from the blood transfusion operations. The religion allows to use smaller fractions of blood, which can be obtained from plasma, erythrocytes, leucocytes and thrombocytes. This position is based on the development of a human embryo that receives immunoglobulins from the mother’s organism and returns bilirubin (the remaining parts of erythrocytes). As the smaller fractions of blood can be transmitted from one body to another in a natural way, they may be also used in medicine.

Blood Donation and Islam

In Islam, the blood donation is permissible is it is used to save the life of a human being. It is the reason why the transplantation of a liver is considered to be affordable. In the case when a part of a healthy liver is transplanted, it may regenerate as well as the blood. M. Sikander Khan Pathan in the article “Every Illness Has a Cure: The Islamic Perspective” states that according to Abu Hurayah “there is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its remedy.” It means that there exists a treatment for every illness. If it is necessary to use blood transfusions to cure another person, it is permissible is the qualified physicians state that it will save the patient and will not cause harm to the health and the life of a donor.

Blood Donation and Judaism

In the Jewish law there does not exist a prohibition for the blood donation. Thus, the blood transfusions are considered to be permissible in Judaism. Moreover, according to the Jewish beliefs, the life of a person is one of the highest values. Saving a life of a person is the primary mitzvot (obligatory action). That is the reason why the blood transfusions if recommended by physicians, are not only admissible but also compulsory. The article “Blood Donations According to Halacha” states that the representatives of Judaism may use all measures to save a human life except such steps as idolatry, licentiousness and murder. All the other prohibitions of Torah may be violated.

Blood Donation and Hinduism and Buddhism

In Buddism, the blood donation and transfusion are considered to be permissible if the blood is donated by a live donor, who does not receive any benefit from the process. The process of donation is a highly evaluated action from the religious point of view.

The representatives of Hinduism consider that the blood donation does not influence the physical integrity of the body after death. This principle caused a positive attitude to the process of blood donation. The representatives of Hinduism highly evaluate the idea of doing good actions.


Almost all the religions consider the blood transfusion and donation to be permissible and even recommended. The blood donation is considered to be the action of mercifulness. In most cases, the donor should not obtain any benefit from the process.

However, the Jehovah’s Witness prohibits the representatives to use the whole blood products. Nevertheless, the religion allows to use the products that consist of the smaller fractions of blood obtained from plasma, erythrocytes, leucocytes and thrombocytes.

In general, all the religions consider the life of a person to be the highest value. Both blood and the blood components may save the people`s lives. The process of blood donation is recommended for everyone who wants to save a live, not depending on his or her religion.

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