Editorials

Blood donation—altruism or profit?

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7039.1114 (Published 04 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1114
  1. Ann Oakley
  1. Director Social Science Research Unit, London University Institute of Education, London WC1H 0NS

    The gift relationship revisited

    In an increasingly commercialised world, the one thing we do not have to buy is our bodies. We own our bodies, for a time at least, and this gives us some freedom (too much, some doctors would say) to do with them what we wish. Blood is something other people need, and it is also ours to give. But how does this giving and receiving of a substance that lies outside the profit motive fit in with the current marketisation of health care?

    In their paper in this issue of the BMJ, Howden-Chapman et al (p 1131) report on the attitudes of blood donors to changes in the blood transfusion service in New Zealand.1 Over half of the 345 donors surveyed were opposed to profits being made from blood; 71% expressed concern about the quality of blood in …

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