(Investigator 22, 1992 January)

Medical treatment containing blood i.e. in vaccines for tetanus, diptheria, etc, in serum injections, and in Factor VIII (for hemophiliacs) is acceptable to Jehovah's Witnesses. (JWs) (The Watchtower 1978 June 15 pp. 30-31)

The following explanation regarding hemophiliacs and Factor VIII is from literature provided to doctors and hospitals:

AHF (anti-hemophilic factor) is a heat treated concentrate of human blood coagulation factor VIII pre¬pared from a large pool of fresh frozen plasma obtained from voluntary donors...

Haemophilia A is a hereditary bleeding disorder characterized by deficient levels of coagulant activity of specific plasma protein clotting factor, Factor VIII. In afflicted individuals, hemorrhage may occur spontaneously or only after minor trauma, resulting in profuse bleeding episodes attributable to Factor VIII deficiency. Surgery on these individuals is not feasible without first correcting the clotting abnormality...

AHF (High Purity) is prepared from human plasma... However, since no completely reliable laboratory procedure is yet available to eliminate all potentially infectious donations, infectivity may still be present in the starting plasma from which AHF (High Purity) is manufactured...

Any case of infection associated with the use of the product should be reported to the appropriate Blood Transfusion Service...
(Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, Melbourne)

The Watchtower Society (WTS) takes its stand despite the fact that small amounts of blood also carry the same risk of AIDS, hepatitis, etc.

Many hemophiliacs receive as many as 30 to 50 infusions of Factor VIII in a year, according to the National Hemophiliac Foundation of U.S.A. A single injection of the human blood concentrate Factor VIII may contain the clotting proteins from as many as 2500 human donors.

A JW hemophiliac taking all necessary injections to remain alive would be the recipient of Factor VIII from 25000 to 75000 donors a year! None of those donors, however, will be a JW since his religion does not permit him to donate blood!

It is disgraceful that the WTS allows some JWs to use Factor VIII human blood product, even at the risk of AIDS, while other JWs are disfellowshipped for trying to save their lives or their child's life through blood transfusion.

The WTS forbids this life giving gift to its followers and their dependents by a completely out of context misapplication of certain Bible verses. There is no relevant similarity between the ancient custom of drinking blood, which was forbidden in the Scriptures, and the modern humane application of blood transfusions. (For further information see Investigator numbers 8, 10 & 12)

The JWs refuse blood transfusions not on Scriptural grounds but because the WTS tells them to do so. In the past the WTS opposed vaccinations, organ transplants and the use of blood serums and blood fractions. When the WTS reversed these teachings the JWs had no qualms about accepting these medical treatments.

It is unlikely that the WTS will reverse its teaching on blood transfusions in the near future, because they are far too entrenched in this "killer" teaching. It will be expedient to allow further needless deaths rather than face serious revolt and possible law suits.

 B J Kotwall


Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: