Male Blood Donor, 66, Turned Away From Clinic After He Refused To Answer a Question on Whether He Was Pregnant as Part of a Pre-Donation Questionnaire
By Graham Grant
Over nearly 50 years, Leslie Sinclair has given a formidable 125 pints of blood.
But on his last trip he was turned away after refusing to answer a question on whether or not he was pregnant.
Mr Sinclair, 66, was told to fill in a form which asked whether he was expecting a child or had been pregnant in the past six months.
When he complained that as a man in his 60s this question did not apply, and he should not have to answer it, Mr Sinclair said staff at the clinic told him they could not accept his blood.
The stand-off took place as NHS England launched a campaign earlier this week to recruit a million more blood donors over the next five years after numbers fell during the pandemic. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) began a drive earlier this month to find 16,000 new donors in the coming year.
It emerged last night that all potential donors are asked if they are pregnant to ‘promote inclusiveness’ and because pregnancy is ‘not always visually clear’.
Angry at the refusal to take his blood, Mr Sinclair walked away and last night told of his frustration at the ‘nonsensical’ decision.
The father of two, from Stirling in central Scotland, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Mr Sinclair said his wife Margaret, 59, was also appalled, adding: ‘She just can’t understand it either.’ Pregnant women must wait six months after giving birth to donate blood. Mr Sinclair, a retired driver for an engineering company, went to the Albert Halls in Stirling to give blood on Wednesday.
Last night Professor Marc Turner, director of SNBTS, 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.
‘As a public body we take cognisance 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.’