It is suggested that the best quality blood and blood products are obtained from voluntary unpaid donations as these are given for genuine altruistic reasons. Voluntary donors have no reason to give false information about lifestyle factors which might place them at risk of transmitting infectious agents. There is therefore a reduced risk of obtaining blood during the 'window' period of HIV infection. In addition if a component of a donation transmits an infectious agent, the fractionation plant can be informed to exclude the plasma from that donation or even recall the pertinent blood products. Several countries are already self-sufficient in blood and blood products, based on a voluntary, unpaid donor system.