Here you will find answers to the most common questions related to blood donation, the Stem Cell Registry and the Blood Service.

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About Blood Service

Does the Blood Service provide disaster relief abroad?

No we don’t. Blood products do not withstand long journeys or, in general, long-term storage. That is why blood products for disaster areas are sought from as nearby as possible.

The International Red Cross coordinates requests for assistance, but none have been made to the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service in recent years.

The Blood Service fulfils its global responsibilities by sharing its expertise and providing expert services, for the development of blood service operations in developing countries, for example. The Blood Service participates in activities such as the relief efforts of the International Red Cross. Starting from 2018 The Blood Service assists the Nepalese blood transfusion service in the reconstruction work following the earthquakes of 2015. Before then, a Blood Service expert participated in projects in the Asian tsunami region.

In principle, for relief work the Blood Service does not use funds raised from the provision of hospital blood products and services. Instead, the expertise it provides is funded from sources such as the Finnish Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.​

About Blood Service

Does the Blood Service sell blood abroad?

Donated whole blood is divided into three parts. It is separated into red cells, platelets and plasma. Red cell and platelet products are actual blood products. They are finished at the Blood Service and used for the treatment of patients in Finland.

On occasion the Blood Service is contacted by blood services in other countries, for example in situations in which the patient needs red cells from a rare blood group. If a suitable blood product is found and delivery does not threaten the blood supply in Finland, the product can be delivered abroad. Isolated blood products are delivered abroad once or twice a year, on average.

The plasma separated from the whole blood is used for raw material in plasma-derived medicinal products. These products cannot be reprocessed further in Finland. Thus, the Blood Service sells the plasma abroad to its foreign partners who process the plasma at their fractionation facilities and manufacture it into plasma-derived medicinal products for the treatment of patients. Hospitals purchase plasma-derived medicinal products from different manufacturers according to need. The Blood Service is a distributor of many plasma-derived medicinal products in Finland. Finnish plasma is carefully and effectively used for the benefit of patients.

About Blood Service

How much blood is given to patients in the most common surgical operations?

The volume of blood reserved for surgery is affected by the difficulty and scope of the operation. For example, in a bypass operation or hip replacement surgery, patients usually need two to three bags of red cells.

When possible, bleeding is always avoided in surgery. Also, blood is not given nowadays, if it is not really necessary. For this reason, many surgical operations (e.g. appendectomy, endoscopy of the knee) do not require blood transfusion at all.

Sometimes, though, the patient is given ample volumes of blood. For example in a liver transplant operation, tens of litres of blood may be required. Situations such as these are rare, however.​

About Blood Service

Why is it not possible to donate blood in all locations?

Mobile blood donation sessions are held in sufficiently large towns and cities, as well as educational institutions, workplaces and garrisons.

To prevent the treatment costs of patients receiving blood from becoming excessive, the Blood Service must ensure that its own operations are efficient.

The Blood Service has permanent service centres in 9 locations in Finland. In addition, Mobile Blood Services organise around 1,100 donation sessions every year, collecting around 50 percent of whole blood. The aim is to raise the level of blood donation activity in the Helsinki metropolitan area and major cities in particular, where there is a great deal of blood donor potential.

About Blood Service

Why is no compensation paid for blood donation?

In Finland, blood donation has always been based on voluntary, unpaid activity and these factors still form the basis of safe blood transfusions.

If compensation were to be paid for blood, it might also attract people who are not motivated to help others. Some might leave crucial matters out of the health questionnaire and the interview.

The legislation regarding blood service operations in Finland prohibits payment for blood donation.