If you have multiple sclerosis, you will not be able to donate blood or be a bone marrow donor in the UK. This is a blanket ban that applies to a range of conditions including MS and rheumatoid arthritis, where the cause of the condition is not known. People with MS can be considered as organ donors.
We don't yet know exactly what triggers MS in a person, so the National Blood Service avoids donations from people with MS, as there may be something in your blood that could set off the condition in someone else.
An organ transplant requires the consent of the person receiving the donation. This means that they can be informed of any potential risks before they make their decision whether to accept an organ or not. The availability of organs is also limited and so any potential risks are weighed against the consequences of not proceeding with the operation.
In comparison, it is not possible to identify a donor at the point when the blood is being used, so any potential risks have to be screened out at the point of donation.
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Although people with multiple sclerosis can't give blood or donate bone marrow, the donation of organs is allowed. Find out more about organ donations in this A-Z entry.