Wired recently reported that some nursing moms with good supply are making money—sometimes lots of it—selling their surplus breast milk to babies in need. That’s right; if you pump more than you need, not only can you donate your breast milk to a milk bank, you can get paid for it too, making anywhere from $1 to $2.50 per ounce. Desiree Espinoza, profiled in the Wired article, is on track to make $20,000 extra from her breast milk this year. No wonder they call it “liquid gold.”
While non-profit milk banks screen donations for drugs, hepatitis, HIV, and other diseases before selling the milk to hospitals, and have an extensive list of criteria for all donors, online trading sites like Only the Breast use an honor system and let buyer and seller work out their own deal and hand-off. For an overwhelmed new nursing mom, cutting out the middleman can make the whole process easier, and then there’s the financial pay-off too.
The FDA is worried about the booming unregulated milk market. Blood, semen and other bodily fluids are held up to super-strict health standards but because breast milk is considered food, so the guidelines are much more lax. Though no illnesses or death from donor breast milk has been reported, the FDA is concerned this loophole puts infants at risk.
Have you or would you sell your breast milk? Have you ever used breast milk from a milk bank or a swap site?