Blood donors are vital for patients

Blood donors only accounted for just over 3% of all people in the donating age range in Finland last year. Over the past ten years, the proportion has decreased by approximately a percentage point. It's important for preparedness to increase the number of new blood donors.

“Getting new blood donors is vital for hospital patients. Annually, approximately 40,000 people need blood products in Finland,” says Willy Toiviainen, Director, Communications and Human Resources at Blood Service.

The Blood Service collects blood according to the needs of hospitals. In 2023, whole blood was donated almost 180,000 times. More than 114,000 people donated blood.

Just over half (55%) of the whole blood donations were collected in the 10 donation sites and the rest at various blood donation events organised across the country. These mobile blood donation events took place 1,115 times, in a total of 215 locations.

The number of new donors is slightly on the increase

The goal of Blood Service is to gain approximately 20,000 new donors every year. The donor population must increase in order to cover not only the needs of the ageing and more diverse population but also any sudden changes in the need for blood.

“It is important to involve a sufficiently large number of people in this volunteer work so that we are always well prepared to produce blood products for patients all year round and in all situations,” says Toiviainen.

Blood donation can be started between the ages of 18 and 59 and continued until the age of 71.

In 2023, 19,119 new Blood Service visitors donated blood. The number of new donors was 2% higher than last year and they accounted for 17% of all the donors.

“The beginning of this year also looks promising with more than 5,000 new registered blood donors in the first three months,” Willy Toiviainen remarks.

More men and donors of the emergency blood type are needed

In particular, the hope is that more men would become blood donors. In 2023, the proportion of male donors increased by two percentage units to 43% from the previous year, but is still clearly lower than the proportion of female donors.

Men are often larger in size than women, so their blood volume is also higher than that of women. Men also have a much larger iron store than women, and men can donate more frequently than women. In addition, they experience fewer breaks from life situations, such as having children.

In the first quarter of 2024, men accounted for almost 50% of donors, largely due to the blood donation events organised in garrisons in the beginning of the year. The goal of the Blood Service is to increase the share of men donors to half of all the donors.

“If the number of men donating blood were to rise, it would strengthen the reliability of blood supply in Finland,” Toiviainen states.

There is also a constant demand for donors of blood type O Rh negative blood, the so-called emergency blood type. Last year, 5% of the new donors had an emergency blood type. The need is constantly high because emergency blood is used in hospitals proportionally more than there is donors of this blood type in the population.

The number of members in the Stem Cell Registry is growing

The Stem Cell Registry, maintained by the Blood Service, had an especially good year 2023 as a record number of 7,513 new members joined the registry. The total number of members in the registry is now 72,976. The Stem Cell Registry members are willing to help patients who are severely ill by donating their own blood stem cells.

Also the Blood Service Biobank has gained a lot of members. At the end of last year, more than 70,000 donors have already joined the Biobank. Through the Biobank operations, donors can help with medical research.

The key figures for Blood Service operations can be found in the annual report


Last modified: 17.04.2024