January 20, 2020
Unpasteurized Donor Breastmilk
Families who are interested in obtaining donor breastmilk for their outpatient infants need guidance on how to do this safely. Due to the high cost, purchasing pasteurized donor human milk from a milk bank is usually beyond the financial means for most families. Advising a family to refuse breastmilk from a donor other than a breastmilk bank increases the risk that the family may accept donor milk from unsafe sources. In these situations, it is best to advise families that it is safest to accept milk from donors who they know and trust, such as sisters, other relatives, or close friends. Families receiving unpasteurized, unscreened donor milk should ask the donor about medications, use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, and consider screening for infectious illnesses, primarily HIV and HTLV 1 and 2. The donor milk can always be home pasteurized. Families should never pay for donor milk from sources other than a HMBANA milk bank. Sellers of breastmilk have a conflict of interest, increasing the risk of watering down or adding animal milk to the breastmilk. At least 1 study demonstrated that milk purchased over the internet has the risk of being contaminated due to inappropriate storage and handling1. Families should not seek or obtain breastmilk via the internet or from someone who the family does not know.
- Geraghty SR, McNamara KA, Dillon CE, Hogan JS, Dwiek JJ, Keim SA Buying Human Milk via the Internet: Just a Click Away Breastfeeding Med 8(6) 2013 p. 474-478