Each year nearly 270 000 bags of blood are donated in Finland. Several patients benefit from a single bag of donated blood, as the blood is separated into red cells, platelets and plasma. Patiensts receive only the blood component that is required, which makes transfusion therapy safe and effective.
The uses of blood-derived preparations and medicinal products include surgical procedures, management of anaemia and cancer, and treatment of people with haemophilia. Often the blood products help to save a patient's life.
Blood donation is a fast and an easy way to help others. The Blood Service depends upon donors to ensure uninterrupted availability of domestic blood products for patient treatment, now and in the future.
Donors of all blood groups are needed
Patients receive blood products compatible with their own blood group. It is a common misconception that there is a particularly high demand for donors with rare blood groups compared with those who have a more common blood group. The distribution of blood groups is, in fact, approximately the same among patients and donors. Therefore, hospitals mainly require blood products of the most common blood groups.
Importance of regular donors
People who donate blood regularly are very valuable. Their contribution enables the Blood Service to maintain blood stocks at an adequate level at all times. However, since each individual bag of blood is invaluable in itself, people who donate less frequently are equally significant.
Blood donation is voluntary in Finland, and donors are not remunerated. This tends to attract people who genuinely wish to help patients. To ensure donor and patient safety, each donor is asked to fill in a health questionnaire, and answer truthfully.
Finns are enthusiastic donors
Some 160 000 people donate blood in Finland annually. While some people only donate once a year, others donate on a more regular basis, two to four times each year.
Approximately 16 000 people donate blood for the first time, often at a donor session within the armed forces or at an educational institution. Sometimes people become donors by following the example of their parents or friends.
As a whole, men and women are more or less equally active in donating blood, but there are slightly more women (60 per cent) in the under-25 age group of donors.