Milk is dispensed by prescription only. The highest priority recipients are critically ill and premature hospitalized infants.
Common reasons for prescribing donor milk include:
- Prematurity Allergies
- Feeding/formula intolerance
- Immunologic deficiencies
- Post-operative nutrition
- Infectious diseases
- Inborn errors of metabolism
- Milk Processing
- Donors of human milk are healthy lactating mothers who undergo a thorough evaluation of their medical history and lifestyle. Medical records for the donor and her baby are obtained from their physicians. In addition, donors undergo blood work to test for HIV, HTLV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis. All donated milk is tested for microorganisms that could lead to contamination. Donor screening meets the guidelines set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North AmericaAll donor human milk is pasteurized using the Holder Method which is a process of heating milk to 62.5° C for 30 minutes in a shaking water bath. The processed milk is then rapidly cooled, frozen, and stored at or below -20°. Milk is only dispensed if the post-pasteurization microorganism testing reveals no contamination. Our strict pasteurization process follows the guidelines set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
Donor human milk is sterile when dispensed. Frozen pasteurized donor milk can be stored in the freezer until ready for use, sometimes up to one year before expiring. Recipient hospitals store and use refrigerated thawed donor human milk within 24-48 hours of thawing. Milk that has been fortified should be discarded at 24 hours because of potential contamination during the fortification process, or from fortifier itself.All milk is shipped to hospitals in new, clean insulated containers using new foam packing material to minimize contamination of the outside of the bottles that will be at the bedside of vulnerable infants. Milk bank staff packing the donor milk use clean technique. Each container is packed with dry ice to insure the product remains frozen. Each bottle cap is sealed with a tamper evident shrink wrap band. Each insulated box is sealed with tamper evident tape. The hospital staff member that receives the shipping container should inspect the box to make sure the milk arrives frozen and that the tamper seal is in place.Milk dispensed by courier is transported in rolling ice chests. Milk is transported in sealed bags to prevent contamination of the outside of the bottles. Each ice chest is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between deliveries. Milk never leaves the possession of the courier and is signed in with the designated hospital staff person who should inspect the shipment to ensure that the tamper seal is in place.