Doing What’s Breast For Business – Selling Breast Milk Continues To Boom

Many mothers are in need of breast milk for their babies, but are we crossing ethical lines when it comes to selling breast milk versus donating it?

breastsThis week The Atlantic ran an article about selling breast milk versus donating it. Milk banks have been springing up across the country. As with everything else these days, the Internet has become a resource for individuals looking to buy or sell it, even though the Food and Drug Administration advise against purchasing breast milk online.

“When human milk is obtained directly from individuals or through the Internet, the donor is unlikely to have been adequately screened for infectious disease or contamination risk. In addition, it is not likely that the human milk has been collected, processed, tested or stored in a way that reduces possible safety risks to the baby,” the FDA website states.

When CNN reported on the boom back in the summer, they noted that supply has not kept up with demand and companies like Medolac, which pays donors up to $2 an ounce, are capitalizing on it.

But are we crossing ethical lines? Writer Carrie Arnold poses an important question in her Atlantic piece:

Even with a bank as the middleman, donating breast milk is still a transaction between two mothers. The question: Should women who donate milk to these banks be compensated? And more than that, does paying for donated milk change the nature of the relationship between the women involved?”

What say you? Read the article in its entirety here and weigh in below.

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