(1) Blood donation is free. The actual blood flowing in our veins was freely given to us. We did not pay for it when we were born. So it is reasonable to say we should also freely give.
The Philippine Government enacted Republic Act 7719 also known as National Blood Services Act of 1994 to promote and encourage VOLUNTARY blood donation and to instill public consciousness that blood donation is a humanitarian act and not a sale of commodity. (See Section 2 of RA 7719)
That explains why…
(2) Paying blood donors is highly discouraged although paid donors are still widespread in the Philippines. We cannot prevent that. It really happens specially in cases of direct donation when family members are desperate to provide blood for their patient and so they would do anything, offer everything, just so a compatible donor would agree to donate.
Section 2 of RA 7719 declares, ” (d) to inform the public of the need for voluntary blood donation to curb the HAZARDS caused by the commercial sale of blood.”
Since these donors are paid, there is a tendency they wouldn’t be honest in answering donor screening questions like when was the last time they donated blood, or had they had sickness for the past 24 hours, etc. This donor screening is done not only for the safety and benefit of the patient (receiver of blood) but equally for the donor himself.
The minimum interval between two whole blood donations is 12 weeks (3 months) based on National Voluntary Blood Services Program (NVBSP). Less than that would cause harm to the donor due to excessive blood loss. Paid donors usually lie about this because what they are interested for is the money not actually saving lives. Well, the risk is on them.
(There are many more hazards that I cannot discuss here but you might want to research on them for yourselves.)
(3) Blood donation is free but we pay for the blood we need to compensate for the blood bank’s expenses on screening and processing to ensure safety of all blood units and prevent transmission of blood-related diseases.
According to Philippine Red Cross, “While the donated blood is free, there are significant costs associated with the collection, testing, labeling, preparation of components, and storage of blood. In addition to these, charges are also incurred through recruitment and education of donors, as well as quality assurance. As a result, processing fees are charged to recover these costs. Blood processing fees collected are in conformance with the stipulated allowable fees as mandated by the Department of Health.” – redcross.org.ph
In line with this, RA 7719 also states penalties for any blood bank/any personnel who shall collect charges greater than that prescribed by the Department of Health. (See Section 12)
According to the DOH Administrative Order No. 181 series of 2002, blood processing fees are as follows:
- Php 1500 for Whole Blood
- Php 1100 for Packed Red Blood Cells
- Php 700 for the rest of the components i.e. frozen plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitate
For more information, you might want to read on this article: Red Cross Says Blood Not For Sale
If I do not get money for donating blood what’s in it for me then?
In the first place, genuine giving does not ask anything in return. We give blood to save lives not to save our wallets. But here’s the good news! Donating blood has been linked to reduced risk of cancer and organ damage due to iron overload. Researches also show that donating blood help keep the cardiovascular and circulatory system healthy. And since a significant amount of blood is taken from the body, it compensates by creating new blood cells which helps in keeping you younger and healthier. Blood donors also get to have their blood tested without costing them a cent (that includes Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Malaria, Syphilis, HIV and Hepatitis). It’s a sort of a general check-up because doctors also get to see you before you can finally donate. And if you are conscious about your weight? Donating blood could help you shed up to 650 Kcal depending on your health status.