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Breast Milk Donation & Milk Banks: Why, How, Dangers, Advantages

How does breast milk donation work? Can I donate? Or obtain donated breast milk for my child? And what are breast milk banks?

Let’s undergo subject of donating breast milk and its dangers and advantages.

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Breast Milk Donation and Breast Milk Banks – What You Must Know

What’s Breast Milk Donation?

Many people have possibly donated blood to a blood financial institution or know somebody who has. An altruistic act, donating one thing as private and useful as your individual blood to another person to present them an opportunity to heal or reside higher.

Just a few of us, nevertheless, know somebody who has donated her human milk to a breast milk financial institution. And truly, this isn’t solely because of the truth that solely a really small fraction of the inhabitants are potential donors (in case you are a lactating lady, you’re one in all them!), but additionally to the truth that lots of the potential donors should not even conscious that breast milk banks exist nor of what they do. And that’s an actual pitty.

Not solely does donating breast milk assist many infants, however selling milk banking additionally contributes to elevating consciousness amongst buddies, household and society generally concerning the worth of breastfeeding and the individuality of human milk.

What are breast milk banks?

Breast milk banks are organisations that accumulate, course of, and distribute breast milk obtained from rigorously chosen donors. The milk is distributed to hospitals within the close by areas and even throughout the similar nation for the diet of infants which might be significantly fragile and whose moms can not provide them with (sufficient of) their very own milk.

Is there a milk financial institution in my nation?

Very in all probability sure. Milk banks exist now in every continent on the planet. Brazil occurs to be the nation with the most important and doubtless oldest community of breast milk banks worldwide. Brazil has managed to construct a community which is absolutely acknowledged by and built-in with the general public well being system of the nation. An incredible achievement that another international locations, sadly, can solely dream of.

As of right this moment, there are round 280 lively human milk banks in Europe and 17 extra to return. A few of them are a part of regional blood or tissue banks, whereas the overwhelming majority are situated in Neonatal Intensive Care Items (NICUs) inside hospitals.

Human Milk Banking Affiliation of North America at the moment has 31 member organizations within the US and Canada.

To discover a breast milk financial institution close to your location, easy seek for “breast milk financial institution” + your metropolis title. You may, after all, additionally ask your well being nurse or midwife.

Can all infants obtain donor milk?

The recipients of the milk are usually untimely and low or very low beginning weight infants whose well being is specifically susceptible. Feeding these neonates with donor milk as a substitute of toddler system has been confirmed to lower the event of harmful circumstances comparable to necrotizing enterocolitis (the place the intestinal tract is broken and ultimately destroyed).

Different potential recipients are infants with malabsorption syndromes, renal failures, or those that want particular pre- or post-operative diet, to call only a few.

I’m a lactating mother. Can I turn into a donor?

It could be nice to present a transparent “sure” as a solution, the extra milk collected to serve infants the higher! Nevertheless, donors have to be rigorously chosen to have the utmost guaranties that the breast milk obtained is of the absolute best high quality. That’s why there are particular eligibility standards and never all girls who might probably donate are in the long run allowed to do it.

As an example, girls who smoke, devour greater than a certain quantity of alcohol per day, take medication, or those that just lately acquired a blood transfusion or suffered from sure an infection illnesses is not going to be eligible for donation. As well as, girls keen to donate will endure a serological screening on HIV, hepatitis B and C, HTLV, and syphilis.

I wish to donate, what’s going to they do with my milk?

Are you changing into enthusiastic concerning the concept of serving to different infants and households however feeling nonetheless a bit insecure about what precisely goes to occur to your milk?

Fully regular!

Since every explicit milk financial institution features barely in another way, one of the simplest ways to search out out the particular procedures used is by contacting the financial institution closest to you. However beneath we listing the most typical steps that will probably be adopted, so that you’ve already a good suggestion of what you’ll be able to anticipate:

  1. You’ll first have to go the screening process. When you’re in, the breast milk financial institution employees will educate you correctly pump, retailer, and transport your milk. Of be aware, some banks have a transport service that may choose up your milk at house regularly.
  2. When your milk is in arms of the financial institution, they may test that it has the anticipated bodily look (e.g. no seen contamination, no modifications in color) and they’re going to do a microbiological check.
  3. If the milk passes this primary test, it is going to then be pasteurized so as to inactivate eventual viruses and micro organism. Throughout pasteurization, your milk will probably be heated in a water tub below managed circumstances to make it microbiologically safer. Norway is an exception in that it doesn’t pasteurize milk; as a substitute, they apply extraordinarily strict screening measures, completely hint milk from donor to client, and repeat the checks in donors continuously. Furthermore, the nation has actually low charges of HIV and hepatitis.
  4. As soon as your milk has been pasteurized, it is going to be able to be saved within the fridge (for use immediately) or freezer (long-term storage) till it’s given to a child in want.
  5. When a child is eligible to be fed with donor milk, and a father or mother or guardian has given knowledgeable consent, a written medical prescription will probably be issued by the healthcare supplier. The milk financial institution will then dispense the milk as required.

You may watch a brief video of the method for donated milk right here. I discover it heart-warming and interesting.

Will I receives a commission for the milk I donate?

Most breast milk banks are non-profit organisations and they won’t pay the donors. As such, they’ve a mission and make investments their earnings earnings into what is required to fulfil their mission. They take into account breast milk donation as a voluntary and altruistic act from beneficiant girls who need, merely, assist others.

There was (and there nonetheless is) fairly some debate on whether or not mothers must be paid or to not acknowledge the effort and time that goes into pumping milk. There are in actual fact some for-profit banks that do pay nursing mothers for his or her donations, however they elevate fairly some moral points.

Whereas paying mothers in all probability helps to extend the quantity of milk acquired on the banks, expertise and analysis means that it could introduce dangers for donors, donors’ personal infants, and the receiving infants. Think about a state of affairs the place a donor would really feel strain to earn money by promoting her milk, and therefore lower down the breastfeeding of her personal baby or adulterate her milk by, as an example, including cow’s milk into it to extend the quantity.

How Can I get donated breast milk for my child?

Receiving donated breast milk to your baby possibly harder than to turn into a donor. Donated milk will in most locations primarily be offered to hospitalized infants.

Nevertheless, in case your child does have a necessity for donated milk, one doable manner ahead is to contact your healthcare supplier for a prescription. The chances and processes will range between international locations.

Some examples of the reason why your child could also be prescibed outpatient donor milk embrace being pretern, failure to thrive, allergy to cow’s milk and soy milk, Crohn’s illness, some infectious illnesses, and therapeutic from surgical procedure. Donor milk might also prescibed because of maternal well being issues, multiples beginning, or adoption.

Please be aware these are simply examples, and you could contact your hospital or well being care providor to debate your explicit state of affairs.

What are the advantages of breast milk donations?

The apparent profit is that untimely and susceptible infants can get entry to breastmilk as a substitute of or as a complement to system. As a result of many advantages of breast milk, that is significantly useful for these infants. For the actual advantages for these infants, learn above below the heading “Can all infants obtain donor milk?”

What are the dangers of breast milk donations?

The principle dangers surrounding breast milk donations relate to casual breast milk sharing or donations, i.e. when no correct breast milk financial institution is concerned and certify the standard of the milk.

Since breast milk is a physique fluid, it may be contaminated by micro organism, virus, medication and many others, or diluted, as described above, and that’s why organized, formal donations are so essential.

In some locations, it’s in style to purchase and promote breast milk over Web. This can be a excessive danger state of affairs for the customer. A examine in 2013 investigating the occurance of micro organism in breast milk samples purchased this fashion concluded:

“Human milk bought through the Web exhibited excessive total bacterial progress and frequent contamination with pathogenic micro organism, reflecting poor assortment, storage, or delivery practices. Infants consuming this milk are in danger for unfavorable outcomes, significantly if born preterm or are medically compromised.”

I feel the very best advice right here is: Neither promote, share nor purchase breast milk informally!

Aside from that, the principle dangers are in all probability associated to paid donations and infants that therefor might not obtain their mother’s milk to the extent they want – if the mother sells her milk to earn money.

Can mothers nonetheless donate their milk in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Basically sure. That being stated, the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving state of affairs and new information emerges day by day concerning the illness, the virus, and the transmission routes.

Each the European Milk Financial institution Affiliation (EMBA) and The Human Milk Banking Affiliation of North America (HMBANA) state that it isn’t but identified whether or not the virus (SARS CoV-2) could be present in human milk, and if discovered, if it might be contagious. Nevertheless, different coronaviruses are destroyed by pasteurization.

Human milk banks are suggested to carefully monitor any developments concerning COVID-19 and the way it pertains to milk banking and apply particular protocols to maintain guaranteeing the security of donors and infants. It’s best to test together with your milk financial institution on essentially the most up to date info and security measures, as they could change daily.


I hope this text clarifies the subjects of breast milk donation and breast milk banks for you. Donating breast milk is a implausible manner to assist infants that e.g had a tough begin because of being born untimely or being ailing.

Although it may well tempting to promote or purchase breast milk, it’s NOT beneficial because of all of the dangers for the infant. As a substitute, contact a non-profit milk financial institution to donate milk or your well being care supplier to research in case your child could be prescribed donated milk.

Good luck!

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