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Understanding Human Donor Milk

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Pasteurized Donor Human Milk For Babies

Throughout the last decade, pasteurized donor human milk has become a common form of infant nutrition, primarily in countries where the lactating parent is not feasible or available. The question arises: Is donor milk safe? What is the best way to get it? And why should you donate breastmilk? These are just some of the questions that will be answered in this post.

How is Donor Milk Screened?

How is donor milk screened? Donors are mothers who have extra milk to donate. They may have oversupplied while feeding their own infant or stored it for the future. Other's may donate breastmilk if they had lost a child or had a surrogate pregnancy. Each person who donates milk must undergo a comprehensive screening process. All potential donors are interviewed about their health and are given blood tests. In addition, their healthcare providers must sign off on their eligibility. Despite the extensive screening process, donors are not paid for donating their milk.

Donors are screened through blood tests for HIV-1, HIV-2, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis. Serological tests also help identify potential donors for disease. During the screening process, women are educated about hand hygiene and milk handling techniques to avoid contamination of their milk.

Is Donor Milk Safe?

Is donor milk safe for babies? It depends. Most milk is pasteurized, which removes many of the protective components present in human milk. Pasteurization affects enzymes, anti-infective components, growth factors, and some nutrients. Enzymes are particularly sensitive to heat. Nonetheless, pasteurization remains an effective method for preserving the safety of human milk for infants. It can be used to treat older infants and children with a variety of medical conditions, including severe food allergy or feeding intolerance. Sometimes, even adults undergoing chemotherapy or liver transplants can benefit from donor milk.

The first step in ensuring the safety of donor milk is to ensure that the prospective donors have no infectious diseases and are not at risk for ongoing exposure. Then, they must have good health and be free of illegal drugs, tobacco products, alcohol, or other chemicals that can transmit diseases. They must also be free from any other illnesses, supplements, or herbs. If a donor has an intercurrent illness, she should temporarily cease milk donation until her condition clears up.

How to Get Donor Milk?

Donor human milk is safe for your baby to drink and is a better choice than formulas. It is more easily digestible than most formulas and may reduce the risk of allergies and illnesses later in life. Unlike formulas, donor milk is not made by a factory, but rather donated by a lactating parent. They pump their milk for free and receive no compensation. They also follow detailed guidelines for safe milk handling.

Donor human milk is collected from donors who are approved to donate breastmilk to babies in need. Donors express milk at home. After collection, bottles of collected milk are labeled and shipped to the processing facility. Pasteurization is a process that kills pathogens in breast milk. The milk is pasteurized at 62.5 degrees Celsius (144.5 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes, following WHO guidelines. Before pasteurization, a random sample of each batch is tested for viruses and bacteria.

Why Donate Breastmilk?

Pasteurized human breastmilk has been processed to kill harmful bacteria without altering the milk's nutritive value or immune properties. Donated milk is then subjected to further quality checks before it is distributed. There are many benefits of pasteurised human milk for babies. Below are some of them. If you want to donate your milk, consider these points. If you're not sure if it's right for your child, contact your local milk bank.

Before donating, check the donor's health status. Milk banks require donors to refrain from using most medications or herbal supplements on a regular basis. This is because many hospitalized babies are very fragile and may be more susceptible to the medications in the donor's milk. However, you can always donate your milk and help a baby in need. Nevertheless, you should consider the risks and benefits of this procedure before donating it.

Why Use Donor Milk?

The reason that a mother may decide to donate her milk to her baby is manyfold. Not only is it a safe form of nutrition, but donor milk also contains antibodies that fight disease and growth hormones. Because of medical reasons, some mothers may not be able to supply breast milk to their babies. Regardless of these reasons, a baby may need donor milk to stay healthy. Using donor milk is safer and more convenient than formula or breast milk from a friend or relative.

Unlike formulas, human milk is easy to digest and is known to reduce the likelihood of illness and allergies later in life. However, there are some risks of supplying a baby with donor milk. While some experts agree that donor milk is safe, others argue that it still contains bacteria and viruses. Therefore, parents must weigh the benefits of superior nutrition with the risks of disease transmission. Furthermore, donors do not pay for the supplies that are needed to process donor milk and do not receive any compensation.


About the author: Kellie Green is a certified and licensed Speech Pathologist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), who specializes in infant feeding. She operates a private practice in Columbus, OH, Green Living & Wellness.



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