What is the historical stance of Jehovah’s Witnesses on accepting Hemoglobin as medical treatment?

Before 2000 not allowed – The Watchtower, October 15, 1992 p. 31 – Questions From Readers

Some Christians have occasionally checked the labels on packaged foods, since many governments require that ingredients be listed. And they may choose to do so regularly with any product that they have reason to believe might contain blood. It would be right, of course, to avoid products that listed things such as blood, blood plasma, plasma, globin (or globulin) protein, or hemoglobin (or globin) iron.

After 2000 Allowed – The Watchtower, June 15, 2000 p. 30 – Questions From Readers

Depending on the condition of the patient, physicians might prescribe red cells, white cells, platelets, or plasma. Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that accepting whole blood or any of those four primary components violates God’s law.

Other medicines are coming along that involve (at least initially) extracts from blood components. Such therapies are not transfusions of those primary components; they usually involve parts or fractions thereof. Should Christians accept these fractions in medical treatment? We cannot say. The Bible does not give details, so a Christian must make his own conscientious decision before God.


What is the position of Jehovah’s Witnesses on giving your pet blood?

YES – The Watchtower, February 15, 1964 p. 127 – Questions From Readers

Would it be a violation of the Scriptures for a Christian to permit a veterinarian to give blood transfusions to a pet? By all means, to do so would be a violation of the Scriptures. … The baptized parent bears the responsibility, for that parent has authority over the child and over the pet and should control the entire matter. That is the parent’s obligation before God.—Eccl. 12:13, 14; Jas. 4:17.

What, then, of animal food? May it be used if there is reason to believe there is blood in it? As far as a Christian is concerned, the answer is No, on the basis of principles already mentioned.


What have Jehovah’s Witnesses historically believed about organ transplants?

1967-1980: prohibited as “cannibalism”
The Watchtower, November 15, 1967 p. 702

Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic.

The Watchtower, November 15, 1969 p. 701 – Appreciating Jehovah’s Protection


The day before surgery was due the chairman of the kidney transplant team came in and asked if I would agree to making the kidney I was relinquishing available to a young patient whose kidneys had failed.

It appears that though the artery leading to my kidney was not functioning, the kidney itself was in good shape. The doctor was keen to have my kidney, but I explained to him that as one of Jehovah’s witnesses I must abide by what God’s law indicates in such a matter.

Later that day we informed him of our Biblical position with respect to human flesh and its use and quoted the relevant passages of God’s Word. He asked if I could retain a good conscience after denying my kidney to his young patient. In reply I pointed out that my kidney was not mine to give, and must be used in harmony with the will of the One who created it.

1971: They change your personality
The Watchtower, March 1, 1971 p. 135 par. 10 – How Is Your Heart?

One thing is sure, in losing their own hearts, they have had taken away from them the capacities of “heart” built up in them over the years and which contributed to making them who they were as to personality.

1975: They change your personality
The Watchtower, September 1, 1975 p. 519 – Insight on the News

Following a transplant, one mild-tempered man became aggressive like the donor. The problem may be largely or wholly mental. But it is of interest, at least, that the Bible links the kidneys closely with human emotions.

1980: – permitted
The Watchtower, March 15, 1980 p.31

Some Christians might feel that taking into their bodies any tissue or body part from another human is cannibalistic.