Anyone looking to donate blood must answer a series of routine questions, but one Scottish man was recently denied the chance to donate after failing to clarify whether he was pregnant.
Leslie Sinclair, 66, told reporters that he has donated around 125 pints of blood since he was 18 years old and that he has never encountered a problem until now.
The man was asked to fill out a form when he arrived at the local blood drive. The form included a question that asked whether he was pregnant or had been pregnant within the last six months, but Sinclair refused to answer.
Experts say it’s unsafe for pregnant women to donate blood because it could pose a risk to both the mother and her unborn child. They also recommend that women wait at least six months after the end of their pregnancy before donating.
Sinclair said he didn’t feel the need to answer the question because he is a man.
“I am angry because I have been giving blood since I was 18 and have regularly gone along,” Sinclair told the press on Friday. “I’m very happy to do so without any problem.”
He reportedly told the staffer at the clinic that it was “impossible” for him to be pregnant before realizing that he was legally obligated to answer the question before donating.
“I told them that was stupid and that if I had to leave, I wouldn’t be back,” he said. “And that was it, I got on my bike and cycled away.”
He has no plans to go back anytime soon.
“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,” he said.
But staffers at the clinic say Sinclair could’ve donated if had just answered the question.
The U.K. recently announced a plan to bring in more than a million blood donors after donations decreased dramatically during the pandemic.
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) alone said it plans to recruit 16,000 new donors in the next year, but anyone who wants to give blood will be asked if they’re pregnant to “promote inclusiveness,” the organization said.
“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,” Sinclair continued.
But the latest addition of the form threw Sinclair for a loop.
“She just can’t understand it either,” he said of his wife.
“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,” said SNBTS director Marc Turner.
“Whilst pregnancy is only a relevant question to those whose biological sex or assigned sex at birth is female, sex assigned at birth is not always visually clear to staff,” Turner said.
“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,” Turner added.
Donors all over the U.K. will need to get used to answering this question – even if they identify as male.
“We appreciate the support of all blood, plasma and platelet donors, and would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has complied with this change,” the National Health Service said in a statement.