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Male Blood Donor Denied Because He Refused To Answer One Question On Form

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Over the course of 50 years now, Mr. Leslie Sinclair has donated over 125 pints of blood, which is quite admirable and remarkable. But something strange happened on his recent trip to go donate blood: he was turned away, and the reason he was turned away is even stranger. 

66-year-old Leslie Sinclair was asked to fill out a form that asked whether he was expecting a child or had been pregnant in the past six months. When Mr. Sinclair objected to filling out this question, saying that the question didn’t apply to a man in his 60s, he was informed that he would not be able to donate any of his blood. 

NHS in England launched a campaign early last week to recruit a million more blood donors over the course of the next five years after donor numbers fell during the pandemic. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) began a blood drive earlier this month to find at least 16,000 new donors in the coming year. So there is an evident need for donors. 

All potential donors are being asked if they are pregnant to “promote inclusiveness” and because pregnancy is “not always visually clear”.

Understandably angry, Mr. Sinclair walked away without donating blood for the first time since he was 18 years of age.  “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. 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.”

When Mr. Sinclair pointed out the ridiculousness of the question for a man of his age to be answering, the staff informed him that he had to answer, or he wouldn’t be able to donate blood. 

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“It is nonsensical and it makes me angry because there are vulnerable people waiting for blood, including children, and in desperate need of help.” Mr. Sinclair said. “But they’ve been denied my blood because of the obligation to answer a question that can’t possibly be answered.”

Mr. Sinclair and his wife, Margaret cannot understand how any of this makes any sense. Pregnant women must wait six months after giving birth to donate blood anyway. So why must there be such a question on a form to donate blood, even if it is in the name of “inclusiveness”? 

Professor Marc Turner, who is the director of SNBTS, weighed in on the issue: “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.” Perhaps we’ve reached a point in society around the globe common sense is no longer common.