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Blood Transfusions

by Richard A. Nimer

Although there are references in scripture to the sacredness of blood, the Church does not hold that any scripture or revelation prohibits giving or receiving blood or blood products, such as gamma globulin, the antihemophilic factor, and antibodies through transfusion or injection, and it is therefore not opposed to its members engaging in such practices. In fact, individual wards sometimes have blood drives to increase a supply on hand when a ward member might need a transfusion. The Church, however, leaves the decision of whether to be a donor or a recipient of a blood transfusion or blood products to the individual member or family concerned.

The Church recognizes that the use of blood transfusions and blood products often saves lives by replacing blood serum volume, red and white cells, platelets, and other substances that may have been lost or damaged by disease, accident, or surgical operation. It is also aware that many operative procedures, such as open-heart surgery and organ transplantation, could not be as safely performed and that many diseases, such as leukemia, aplastic anemia, and certain types of cancers, could not be adequately treated without blood and blood-product transfusions.

Blood transfusions can carry very harmful and life-threatening diseases, such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis, and other infectious diseases, and therefore may be a hazard. However, these hazards may be completely eliminated in nonemergency operations by the process of autotransfusion, whereby a patient's own blood is donated, stored, and given back when needed. This practice is feasible because blood can be stored for a number of months. However, the Church leaves all decisions about the use or nonuse of blood to the member or family concerned in consultation with their physician.

(See Daily Living home page; Attitudes Toward Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Blood Transfusions

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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