About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Your first visit?
Contact us
External links
Good books
Visitor essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD
Vital notes

World religions
Who is a Christian?
Shared beliefs
Handle change
Bible topics
Bible inerrancy
Bible harmony
Interpret Bible
Beliefs, creeds
Da Vinci code
Revelation, 666
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing religions


About all religions
Main topics
Basic info.
Handling change
Confusing terms
World's end
True religion?
Seasonal topics
More info.

Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten Commandments
Assisted suicide
Death penalty
Gay marriage
Sex & gender
Spanking kids
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news


Religious Tolerance logo

Jehovah's Witnesses (WTS) opposition to blood transfusions

Stance on other medical procedures

Sponsored link.

Transfusions of PolyHeme©:

Northfield Laboratories, Inc. produce a material called PolyHeme©. 9 It:

"is a human hemoglobin-based temporary oxygen-carrying red blood cell substitute in development for the treatment of life-threatening blood loss when an oxygen-carrying fluid is required and red blood cells are not available."

PolyHeme is not whole blood, but is derived from it. Some Jehovah's Witnesses have accepted it.  L.C. Cotton, the associate director of Jehovah's Witnesses' hospital information services, indicates that members must decide for themselves whether to accept this product. He said:

"When blood is fractionated beyond those primary components and other blood derivatives, we feel that it is an individual decision. If an individual's conscience will allow him to accept the product, then that would be up to that individual. That is between himself and his God...The understanding is that each person stands before God and is judged according to his own conscience. The other Witnesses would not criticize any decisions he makes." 19

The 2006-AUG issue of Awake! magazine contained an article on the value of blood, with a sidebar on hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers [HBOC]. The article states, in part that Jehovah's Witnesses:

"...reject all transfusions involving whole blood or the four primary blood components - read cells, plasma, white cells, and platelets. As for the various fractions derived from those components - and products that contain such fractions - the Bible does not comment on these. Therefore, each Witness makes his own personal decision on such matters." 10

The sidebar states:

"Regarding this [HBOC] and similar products, then, Christians face a very serious decision. They must carefully and prayerfully meditate on Bible principles concerning the sacredness of blood. With a keen desire to maintain a good relationship with Jehovah,
each must be guided by his Bible-trained conscience." 11

The sidebar contains a citation of Galatians 6:5. This and the previous verse are translated:

"But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden." King James Version.

"But let him prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person. For each one will carry his own load." New World Translation.

These statements contain an unusual departure from normal teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization. Usually only the Governing Body is given the responsibility to interpret biblical passages. Some might interpret this article and sidebar as an admission that the organization does not have a definitive answer for the membership, and that the responsibility lies with the individual Witness.

Sponsored link:

Organ transplants:

In 1967, the WTS said that organ transplants are a form of cannibalism and are to be shunned. 12 They reversed this decision in 1980 and made transplants a matter of personal conscience. 13 Unfortunately, an unknown number of Jehovah's Witnesses had died between 1967 and 1980 because they had refused available transplants.

Bone marrow transplants:

In 1963, they considered that any fraction of blood was a nutrient and not to be used in medical treatment. 14 In 1978, they reversed this decision for certain blood fractions used for the treatment of hemophiliacs. 15 In 1984, they declared that accepting a bone marrow transplant was up to the individual conscience. 16


The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Product description," Northfield Laboratories, at: http://www.northfieldlabs.com/
  2. Annette Wells, "Church lets faithful opt for PolyHeme. Blood substitute's use an individual's choice," San Bernadino Sun, 2003-MAR-08, at: http://www.rickross.com/
  3. "The Real Value of Blood," pp 10-12, Awake! magazine, 2006-AUG, Pages 10 to 12.
  4. "What Are Hemoglobin-Based Oxygen Carriers?" Sidebar, Awake! magazine, 2006-AUG, Page 10
  5. Article on organ transplants, Watch Tower, 1967-NOV-15.
  6. Subsequent article on organ transplants, Watch Tower, 1980-MAR-15.
  7. Article on blood fractions, Watch Tower, 1963-FEB-15.
  8. Article on blood fractions for Hemophiliacs, Watch Tower, 1978-JUN-15.
  9. Article on bone marrow transplants, Watch Tower, 1984-MAY-15.

How you got here:

Home > Christianity > Denominations Witnesses > Blood transfusions > here

Copyright © 1996 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original version written on: 1996-SEP-29

Last updated on: 2007-JUL-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)

Go to the previous page, or to the Jehovah's Witness/blood transfusion menu, or choose:

Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

Sponsored link: