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Frequently Asked Questions About Donating and Selling Breast Milk


Updated June 25, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions About Donating and Selling Breast Milk
Photo © ballyscanlon / Getty Images

After the death of a baby, it can be difficult for some women to let go of the breastfeeding or pumping experience. If you spent all of your baby’s short life trying to build up a milk supply to help sustain him or her, your feelings of reluctance are totally understandable. Between a possible reluctance to stop, and the necessity of tapering off production no matter what, women can end up with a sizable stored supply of breast milk.

What Can I Do with the Milk I Already Have?

You have three options when it comes to getting rid of unused breast milk:

  • Dispose of it, just you would out-of-date or improperly stored milk
  • Donate it
  • Sell it

How Do I Donate Breast Milk?

There are 11 non-profit human milk banks in North America, but there are also private, for-profit banks available as well. To be a donor, you’ll have to meet certain qualifications, just as you would to donate blood.

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America has the following requirements:

  • In good general health
  • Willing to undergo a blood test (at the milk bank's expense)
  • Not regularly using medication or herbal supplements (with the exception of progestin-only birth control pills or injections, Synthroid, insulin, pre-natal vitamins; for other exceptions, please contact a milk bank for more information)
  • Willing to donate at least 100 ounces of milk; some banks have a higher minimum

A simple internet search will take you to listings for other milk banks. Their specific requirements should be found on their website or by contacting them directly.

How Do I Sell Breast Milk?

Selling breast milk can be done through a banking-style organizations, or by a person-to-person match. There are several websites, such as onlythebreast.com and Facebook groups that allow people to post ads as either sellers or customers looking for milk.

Is It Safe to Sell Breast Milk?

There is probably more risk to buyers than sellers in the breast milk market. First of all, there are no screening processes other than the goodwill of people who are trying to use excess breast milk to help other babies in need.

If you do decide to sell your milk, be careful to protect your identity on-line. Don’t get into a buyer-seller relationship without defining terms and payment explicitly so that both of you are protected.

Also keep in mind that some people are looking for breast milk for purposes other than feeding an infant. So be sure you choose the right kind of buyer for you.

How Much Does Breast Milk Sell for?

As of 2012, breast milk sells for anywhere from $1.00 to $4.00 per ounce.

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