Two Questions—Plasma and Serum

by Marvin Shilmer 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer

    Two Questions—Plasma and Serum

    1. Does Watchtower doctrine prohibit transfusion of plasma as it does transfusion of platelets?[1]

    2. Does Watchtower doctrine prohibit transfusion of serum as it does transfusion of platelets?[1-2]

    How would participants here answer these two questions?

    Marvin Shilmer



    1. “Today, most transfusions are not of whole blood but of one of its primary components: (1) red cells; (2) white cells; (3) platelets; (4) plasma (serum), the fluid part. Depending on the condition of the patient, physicians might prescribe red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma. Transfusing these major components allows a single unit of blood to be divided among more patients. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that accepting whole blood or any of those four primary components violates God’s law.”—(Watchtower, June 15, 2004 pp. 29-30)

    2. “What, however, about accepting serum injections to fight against disease, such as are employed for diphtheria, tetanus, viral hepatitis, rabies, hemophilia and Rh incompatibility? This seems to fall into a ‘gray area.’ Some Christians believe that accepting a small amount of a blood derivative for such a purpose would not be a manifestation of disrespect for God’s law; their conscience would permit such.”—(Watchtower, June 15, 1978 pp. 30-31)

  • minimus


  • AnnOMaly


  • Room 215
    Room 215

    what components then, plainly stated, are allowed to JWs?

  • Scully

    The first quote from the WTS which lumps plasma and serum together is inaccurate. Plasma contains immune globulins, clotting factors and fibrinogen, whereas serum is the end product of extracting clotting factors and fibrinogen out of plasma.

  • TD

    What Scully said.

    The term "Serum" can refer simply to the liquid separated from clotted blood. The term "Plasma" would include the clotting factors intact.

  • JWoods

    Straining the gnat from the soup while swallowing the camel somehow comes to mind -

  • Scully

    Well the irony of making things like clotting factors and immune globulins acceptable Conscience Matters™ for JWs is the way the WTS likes to compare the use of blood transfusions to sexual immorality and sexual violations.

    For example:
    A blood transfusion administered to a JW against their wishes is a violation on the level of rape.
    A blood transfusion willingly accepted by a JW is a violation similar to adultery or fornication, and the individual would be considered to have voluntarily Disassociated™ him/herself from the JWs.

    However, in order to mass produce blood products such as immune globulins, Anti D (WinRho or RhoGam) or clotting factors such as Antihemophilic Factor / von Willebrand Factor Complex, the manufacturer's product monograph states that the dose is drawn from "large pools of donor blood". This means that multiple donors contribute to a single dose of these fractions. A single unit of FFP (fresh frozen plasma), p-RBCs (packed red blood cells), or platelets comes from ONE donor.

    So to carry the WTS's beloved metaphor to its logical conclusion with respect to blood fractions:

    Accepting a fractionated blood product is the moral equivalent of participating in an orgy. But if your Conscience™ permits you to do it, it's none of the WTS's business, and you can't be Disfellowshipped™ or Disassociated™ for it.

  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer

    Scully and TD,

    I understand the difference between serum and plasma. My question asks something else. My question asks of Watchtower policy based on what is published.

    In other words, is Watchtower treating plasma the same as serum if either is transfused? Or, is it the case, as Scully suggests, that Watchtower ignorantly/mistakenly equated serum with plasma?

    What is your view on this?

    Marvin Shilmer

  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer

    TD and Scully,

    Tell me what you make of the following published statement as it relates to my question:

    “Do you think that they would have responded differently if someone had collected blood, allowed it to separate, and then offered them just the plasma or just the clotted part, perhaps in blood sausage? No, indeed! Hence, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept transfusions of whole blood or of its primary components (red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma) used to accomplish a similar purpose.”—(Watchtower, June 1, 1990 p. 30)

    Is that statement a mistaken notion, a deliberate attempt to mislead, or is it saying that both serum and plasma are forbidden?

    Your views?

    Marvin Shilmer

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