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What You Should Know If You’re Going to Buy (or Donate) Breastmilk

IamNotUnique / Flickr CC

Kathleen M. Berchelmann, MD - published on 04/20/15

What are the policies regarding donor milk at your hospital or birthing center? Many community hospitals and birthing centers are not set up to accept, store, and dispense donor breast milk to infants. Although they may permit you to give donor milk, they will likely require that it is pasteurized and tested. If you plan to use donor milk at a community hospital, you will probably need to acquire it yourself and bring it to the hospital.  

Want to donate or sell your breast milk?

Breast milk donation is a generous and selfless act that can be lifesaving, especially for sick infants.  Before you donate or sell, consider the following: 

Who is really drinking your milk?  There is a growing market for breast milk for people other than babies: chemotherapy patients, people with digestive and nutritional problems, athletes, health enthusiasts, and people with sexual fetishes. Are the people buying your milk really going to feed it too a baby? Companies like Only the Breast do sell milk to people who use it for purposes other than infant nutrition. Does this bother you?

Are you donating to person or company that is going to resell your milk for-profit? If you are donating your milk make sure that your buyer is not simply reselling your milk. If you privately donate through an organization like Milk Match, you might be giving milk to someone who simply sells it online. Large for-profit companies like Only the Breast will gladly accept donated human milk and then resell it for profit. Prolacta bioscience is a large for-profit human milk processing company. It has collection depots in major children’s hospitals and reputable facilities and buys the milk from these depots. If you are donating milk to be used by sick infants, be sure to donate it to a bank associated with the not-for-profit organization The Human Milk Banking Association of North America.

Kathleen M. Berchelmann, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and a mother of five young children. Connect with Dr. Berchelmann at:

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