Buying human milk via the internet: just a click away.

TitleBuying human milk via the internet: just a click away.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGeraghty SR, McNamara KA, Dillon CE, Hogan JS, Kwiek JJ, Keim SA
JournalBreastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine//Breastfeed Med
Pagination474 - 8
Date Published2013
ISBN Number1556-8342
Other Numbers101260777
Keywords*Donor Selection/st [Standards], *Milk Banks/st [Standards], *Milk, Human, *Mothers, *Public Health, *Quality Control, *Specimen Handling/st [Standards], Commerce, Donor Selection/mt [Methods], Female, Humans, Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena, Infant, Newborn, Internet, Male, Milk Banks/ec [Economics], Milk Banks/og [Organization & Administration], Patient Education as Topic, Pregnancy, Public Health/ec [Economics], Public Policy, Risk Assessment, Specimen Handling/ec [Economics], Temperature, United States

BACKGROUND: For past centuries, infants have been fed the milk of mothers who are not their own by latching to another woman's breast. Today, the majority of lactating women use electric pumps to extract milk from their breasts; thus, an infant now may be fed another woman's milk via a bottle or cup. The Internet is an emerging avenue to acquire pumped human milk. The purpose of our study was to participate in and describe the process of buying milk via the Internet. Our goal is to help those involved with the clinical care, research, and public health policy of mothers and infants better understand that families may be buying milk in this way., SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We anonymously bought 102 human milk samples via the Internet. We characterized the outside box, packing materials, milk container, temperature and condition of the milk, and cost., RESULTS: We bought 2,131 ounces of milk at a total cost of $8,306. Eighty-nine percent of the milk arrived above the recommended frozen temperature of -20degreeC; 45% of it was even above the recommended refrigerator temperature (4degreeC). The mean surface temperature of the milk samples in each shipment was correlated with the cost of shipping, time in transit, and condition of the milk containers., CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence and potential risks of this practice currently are unknown. Research related to milk quality and infant outcomes related to milk buying via the Internet is urgently needed.

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