Friday, October 31, 2008

Donating Breast Milk for Premature/Ill Babies

Someone had asked once about donating milk... I just wanted to pass
along this info in case anyone else is interested.

If you qualify to be a donor for "Milkin' Mamas Breast Milk Bank" all
donors receive free testing, free electric breast pump, free
collection bags, and free shipping. ALL milk is used for hospitalized
premature and critically ill infants as a part of Prolacta Bioscience.
There is no minimum donation and every ounce is used.

You can visit the Milkin' Mamas site here:

You can visit Prolacta's site here:


Valerie W. McClain, IBCLC said...

Consumers should be aware that Prolacta is a for-profit milk bank and that any donor relinquishes the rights to patents (there are some 2000 human milk component patents and applications for patents). There are also non-profit milk banks in the US-HMBANA. And even with these milk banks there is the possibility of patents and patent applications. These human milk component patents or genetically engineered versions are often owned by the pharmaceutical, infant formula, food, and supplement industries. They are also owned the US Department of Health and various medical institutions. Human milk is good food and good medicine. The question is whether it is ethical and just in our society to patent life or a synthetic version of that life? Parents should be made aware of this issue in donating to milk banks. Valerie W. McClain, IBCLC

Momma Miller said...

Someone above already mentioned this, but I just want to second the post. Prolacta, Milkin Mamas, and even the International Breastmilk Project are all about breaking down the milk to make human milk fortifier(I believe IBP only sends 5% of Africa and sells the rest to Prolacta Bioscience. It's an expensive process (all in the name of science and profit) and ends up wasting so much milk (which was donated freely by moms wanting to make a difference). Even a few of the HMBANA banks are for PROFIT. Always read the fine print when you choose to donate.

Moms who are desperately seeking milk for their babies will pay anything for the milk or fortifier. How sad this is when thousands of moms across the country are giving it away for FREE. Hospitals that sell human milk (or fortifier) are usually charging $3.50 to $5.00 per OUNCE!!!! Can you imagine?! For a babies that are already drinking 30 ounces per day, this is an outrageous expense. A few insurance companies will cover it if your baby is still in the hospital, but it's becoming more and more rare.

There are other options. I've chosen to donate my excess breast milk through Milk Share. It is a mother-to-mother donation system where there is absolutely no exchange of money. Donors get a series of blood tests done (typically the same tests that are required by other milk banks) and send their results to the recipient moms for approval. Recipients usually provide donors with supplies (like milk bags and sometimes the month pump rental fee for moms who don't already own a pump). When you join MilkShare, you get the benefit of getting to know the baby who is receiving the benefit. Usually you put out a message on MilkShare that you're looking for someone in your area to provide milk for weekly (so that it doesn't have to be frozen). Other times some of us donate our milk to someone over 1,000 miles away and so we freeze our milk, pack it carefully with dry ice, and express/FedEx it far, far away to someone who cannot find a local donor. Sometimes the recipients are premature babies, sometimes they are very ill babies. In my current MilkShare relationship, the baby is perfectly fine, but her mother has breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy. My milk nourishes baby just like her own mother's milk would have. She's now 5 months old and hasn't yet had to have a DROP of formula or pay for sustenance. Amazing!

Sorry this is so long. I just long for mom's to know the truth behind human milk donations. It is becoming a money-making industry and I hate to see formula companies making a huge profit off something that is natural and free for the taking. For more information on MilkShare, you can go to


~ danelle ~ said...

Thank you very much for posting the additional information and location to donate directly mother-to-mother without an exchange of $$.