A 66-year-old man was turned away as a blood donor when attempting to donate in Scotland after refusing to answer if he was pregnant or not in his documentation. Leslie Sinclair, the donor in question, has actually provided 125 pints of blood over the last 50 years. Sinclair had complained to the blood bank that a man in his 60s should not need to respond to a question about whether he is pregnant and declined to do so.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, both female and male blood donors are inquired about pregnancy in order to “promote inclusiveness” since pregnancy is “not always visually clear.” in spite of the extreme statistical rarity of an individual in their sixties being able to carry a pregnancy to term.
“I am angry because I have been giving blood since I was 18 and have regularly gone along. I’m very happy to do so without any problem,” Sinclair told the Mail. “There is always a form to fill in and that’s fine – they tend to ask about medical conditions or diseases – and clearly that’s because the blood needs to be safe. This time around, there was a question I hadn’t seen before: ‘Are you pregnant, or have you been in the last six months?’ which required a yes or no answer.”
Sinclair went on to explain, “‘I pointed out to the staff that it was impossible for me to be in that position but I was told that I would need to answer, otherwise I couldn’t give blood.”
“I told them that was stupid and that if I had to leave, I wouldn’t be back, and that was it, I got on my bike and cycled away,” Sinclair continued. “It is nonsensical and it makes me angry because there are vulnerable people waiting for blood, including children, and in desperate need of help. But they’ve been denied my blood because of the obligation to answer a question that can’t possibly be answered.”
Professor Marc Turner, director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, reacted to the debate by releasing a statement which said, “we appreciate the support of each and every one of our donor community and thank Mr. Sinclair for his commitment over a long number of years.”
“Whilst pregnancy is only a relevant question to those whose biological sex or sex assigned at birth is female, sex assigned at birth is not always visually clear to staff,” Turner’s statement continued. “As a public body we take cognizance of changes in society around how such questions may be asked without discrimination and have a duty to promote inclusiveness – therefore all donors are now asked the same questions.”