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Brussels, 11 June

World Blood Donor Day: more Europeans are donating their blood, according to Eurobarometer

A poll published three days ahead of the 2010 World Blood Donor Day shows that 37% of Europeans have given blood. The Eurobarometer survey indicates a 6% increase since the last survey was conducted in 2002 in EU-15. The countries revealed to have the highest levels of blood donation are Austria (66%), France (52%), Greece (51%) and the Republic of Cyprus (51%). Over half of Europeans are willing to donate organs according to a Eurobarometer survey on organ donation also published today.

Established in 2005, World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on 14th June to raise global awareness about the need for safe blood and regular voluntary blood donation. It is jointly coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) and the International Federation of Blood Donor Organisations (IFODS).

Some other key findings from the surveys:

Blood donation and transfusion: behaviour and attitudes

  • More men have given blood than women (44% versus 31%).

  • 40-54 years is the age group most likely to have given blood (46%).

  • The majority of Europeans (57%) think that the safety of transfusions has improved over the past 10 years.

Human blood for transfusion: EU standards on quality and safety

In 2002, the Directive 2002/98/EC on standards of quality and safety for blood and blood components was adopted to ensure preventing the transmission of diseases via donated blood, and ensuring access to safe and high quality blood components in all Member States. Measures introduced by the Directive include:

  • establishing a competent authority in each Member State in charge of authorising and supervising blood donation, banking, and distribution,

  • standard operating procedures for the donation, testing, transformation and transport to the place of end use,

  • proper training of staff,

  • criteria for the selection of blood donors, and

  • systems of traceability and reporting of serious adverse event and reactions.

Organ donation and transplantation: behaviour and attitudes

  • 40% of Europeans have already raised the issue of organ donation and transplantation with their families.

  • 55% are willing to donate one of their organs after death. 27% are against the idea. This is in line with the 2006 survey (56% willing to donate, 26% against).

  • Highest levels of willingness to donate are in Sweden (83%), Malta (77%), Finland and Belgium (both 72%).

Organs: EU Quality and safety standards for donation and transplantation

The adoption process of the Directive on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation will be completed later this month (see IP/10/588 and MEMO/10/203). Member States will then have 24 months to transpose it into national law.

Measures introduced by the Directive include establishing of:

  • a competent authority in each Member State,

  • a system for the authorisation of organ procurement and transplantation, and

  • systems of traceability and reporting of serious adverse events and reactions.

These measures will ensure that the same basic standards of quality and safety for human organs intended for transplantation are put in place across the European Union.

The Directive is accompanied by an Action Plan on organ donation and transplantation. The Action Plan, which runs for the period 2009 to 2015, sets out 10 priority actions which aim at increasing organ availability, making transplantation systems more efficient and accessible, and strengthening quality and safety.

The surveys on public attitudes and behaviours in relation to blood donation and transfusion and organ donation and transplantation were conducted during October 2009 in the 27 Member States of the European Union and the three candidate countries (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia and Turkey) and the Turkish Cypriot Community.

Further information

The Eurobarometer reports can be found at:

More information on the European Commission's work on blood, tissues and organs:

More information on World Blood Donation Day:

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