Giving blood and bone marrow

Blood and bone marrow donation

If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), you cannot donate blood in the UK. This is a blanket ban that applies to a range of conditions where the cause is not known. This includes Parkinson’s disease (PD), motor neurone disease (MND), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The National Blood Service (NBS) puts these restrictions in place for both your safety and that of individuals who could receive your blood. MS is not infectious. But it’s not yet known what triggers MS. So, we can’t be sure whether something in your blood could potentially lead to the condition developing in someone who is given your blood.

When you receive a blood transfusion in the UK, it is not possible to identify the donor. So, any potential risks are removed at the donation stage.

You cannot register to be a bone marrow donor either. Again, this is because your donation could in theory contain cells that might trigger MS in the recipient.

Organ donation

People with MS can be considered as organ donors

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. So, any potential risks are weighed against the consequences of not proceeding with the operation.

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