A 66-year-old man in the United Kingdom who's been donating blood for nearly 50 years was turned away from a clinic last week because he wouldn't answer an apparently new question on a form that asks if the prospective blood donor is pregnant, the Daily Mail reported.
The director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service told the outlet that the agency has a "duty to promote inclusiveness — therefore all donors are now asked the same questions."
What are the details?
Leslie Sinclair — who has donated 125 pints of blood in his life — was told he had to answer a part of the form that asks if he's expecting a child or has been pregnant in the past six months, the Daily Mail said, adding that pregnant women must wait six months after giving birth to donate blood.
After he argued that as a man — and as a person age 66 years — the question doesn't apply to him and that he shouldn't have to answer it, Sinclair said clinic staffers replied that they couldn't accept his blood, the outlet said.
With that, Sinclair walked away over the "nonsensical" policy, the Daily Mail reported.
"I am angry because I have been giving blood since I was 18 and have regularly gone along," the father of two from Stirling in central Scotland told the outlet. "I'm very happy to do so without any problem."
Sinclair added the following to the Daily 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. 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. 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.
Sinclair added to the outlet that his wife, Margaret, 59, also was appalled: "She just can't understand it, either."
What did a health official have to say?
Professor Marc Turner, director of SNBTS, last week told the Daily Mail about the new policy.
"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," Turner told the outlet. "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. 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."
The National Health Service in England launched a campaign last week to recruit a million more blood donors over the next five years due to falling numbers during the pandemic, the outlet said, adding that the SNBTS began a drive earlier in June to find 16,000 new donors in the coming year.