Blood donation

Our anniversary year brought several welcome innovations for blood donors. Our aim is to get close to donors and make donating blood as easy as possible.

Blood donation bus driving in Vantaa.

We seek to recruit around 20,000 new donors each year to increase the size of our donor pool to be able to cover sudden changes in demand for blood. Recruitment of new donors was carried out through active marketing communications, social media channels and by working together with sports clubs, educational institutions, the Finnish Red Cross and the Finnish Defence Forces. In 2023 we also launched a workplace certificate scheme to encourage workplaces to enable blood donation during working hours.

We were able to recruit 19,119 new donors. This is 2% up on the previous year and 17% of all visitors. We are also seeking to balance the proportions of male and female donors. The proportion of male donors was 2 percentage points higher than in 2022, but their share (43%) is still much lower than that of women.

In 2023, altogether 114,140 persons registered to donate blood. There were 179,558 donations. Whole blood donations are the most common: whole blood was donated 177,550 times, whereas thrombocytes (platelets) were donated 2,008 times. Donations were 2% over down on the previous year due to a drop in demand for blood products. Only just over 3% of all those of eligible age to donate blood in Finland are blood donors.

55% of whole blood donations took place at ten service units. There were altogether 1,115 mobile blood donation events at 215 sites.

The donor app was launched in October. This mobile app allows donors to keep track of their blood donation visits and their information. Via the app the Blood Service can also send donors requests for help in exceptional circumstances. By the end of the year, nearly 35,000 blood donors had downloaded the app.

A blood donation bus started operating in the capital region in November. This is a new way to reach blood donors at new locations. As the bus is a mobile blood donation site, it can also support our activities in exceptional circumstances, such as during a pandemic.

6.2% of those offering to donate blood were rejected due to an obstacle to blood donation. Most obstacles were temporary, and the number of candidates rejected in Finland is the lowest in European comparisons. In December, after the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea amended its regulation, we changed the eligibility criterion regarding blood donation and sexual behaviour: there is now no deferral period relating to sex between men. The Blood Service was actively involved in planning this change by collecting information and performing risk assessments.

We received nearly 34,000 customer feedbacks during donations. 96% of customers were highly satisfied. The NPS score regarding recommending blood donations was 95, which was excellent too.

Blood group distribution among donors

Blood donors are invited to donate on the basis of their blood group.

Whole blood donations

Whole blood donations in 2014-2023. Blood is collected in line with the needs of hospitals.

Blood donors’ age and gender distribution in 2023

The group with the most blood donors is young women.

Number of donations per person in 2023

In Finland blood donors donate blood 1.57 times per year on average.

Invitations to donate blood and the service line operation

Activating donors required plenty of effort again in 2023. Alongside invitations, donors were activated by sending out messages in line with the follow-up marketing plan and were sent newsletters on current issues. The number of phone calls is decreasing, one reason being the new self-service channel, the mobile app.

Number of invitations1 720 1891 589 066
Response within 7 days of invitation6 %6 %
Proportion of those invited out of those registered40 %43 %
Persons invited for specialised products526547
Calls to the donor information phone32 67027 958
Newsletters1 716 3642 255 470

Most common obstacles to blood donation in 2023 (% of those registered for donation)

Low haemoglobin is the most common obstacle to blood donation, but the number of these cases has remained low in recent years.

Low haemoglobin1,8 %1,8 %1,7 %
A medical condition or ongoing assessments for a medical condition (e.g. a heart or kidney condition)1,7 %1,7 %1,6 %
Travel (non-malaria areas)0,2 %0,4 %0,5 %
Medication or vaccination0,4 %0,4 %0,4 %
Surgery or dental care0,4 %0,4 %0,4 %
Common cold0,2 %0,4 %0,4 %
Endoscopy, tattooing, piercing, acupuncture0,3 %0,3 %0,3 %
Travel in malaria areas0,0 %0,1 %0,2 %
Cancer0,0 %0,1 %0,1 %
A new sexual partner or another obstacle related to sexual activity0,1 %0,1 %0,1 %
Childbirth, breastfeeding0,2 %0,1 %0,1 %

Percentage of non-donors out of those registered

Only a small number of donor candidates are not accepted as donors. The Finnish numbers stand up exceptionally well in international comparisons.

New donors13,1 %14,5 %15,0 %
Previous donors4,6 %5,0 %5,2 %
Female6,5 %7,2 %7,3 %
Male4,0 %4,5 %5,1 %
Total - all of Finland5,3 %5,9 %6,2 %