UK Hospital Turns Away Blood Donor For Refusing to Say Whether He Was Pregnant

Brittany M. Hughes | June 20, 2022
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Scottish man says he was turned away by a hospital in the U.K. after he declined to answer a question over whether he might be pregnant before donating blood.

According to this, 66-year-old Leslie Sinclair is a regular blood donor, having given more than 100 pints over the past 50 years without a problem. This time, when he showed up to Albert Halls clinic in Stirling, Scotland, he was asked to fill out a form that included a question over whether or not he might be with child. The hospital noted that per its policy, pregnant women or those who are less than 6 months postpartum aren’t permitted to give blood.

Sinclair, who is a biological male, didn’t answer the question, as he didn’t think it was relevant for a man.

"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," he said. "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."

He claims the hospital then denied his attempt to donate blood because he wouldn't say whether or not he was pregnant.

"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 continued.

Professor Marc Turner, director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, told the Telegraph that the question should be included on the form given to all patients to “promote inclusiveness,” because biological sex isn’t always obvious to the medical staff.

"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,” he said in a statement. “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."

Earlier this year, the Walton Centre NHS Trust in Liverpool joined a handful of U.K. medical facilities that now ask all patients regardless of gender whether they might be pregnant before performing certain procedures such as x-rays, which may be harmful to children in the womb. The policy change came after the hospital replaced the word “female” with “individual” on forms, making it all but impossible for hospital staff to know whether a patient is actually a biological female and therefore potentially pregnant.

In 2021, Australian National University’s updated handbook urged staff to use only “parent-inclusive language” when discussing labor, delivery and post-partum care, including replacing words like “breast-feeding” with “chest-feeding” and swapping “breast milk” for “chest milk” or “human milk” to avoid offending non-binary persons, claiming that “heterosexual and woman-focused lactation language…can misgender, isolate, and harm transmasculine parents and non-heteronormative families."

In the UK, Brighton and Sussex hospital renamed its maternity ward the "perinatal" ward to avoid offending "birthing people" who don't identify as "mothers," also swapping terms like "breastfeeding" for "chest feeding." 

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