Friday, October 24, 2008

Donating Milk

One of the girls in our playgroup had posted a notice that she had been approved to become a donor of breastmilk. After reading her story and doing a little research I thought "You know that's a pretty amazing idea!". For those of us who seem to have an over supply of milk, the likes of which we will NEVER go through ourselves, why let all that "liquid gold" go to waste. And in our household, if we keep up at our current pace thats exactly what will happen. I have upwards of 200oz in the freezer. Each day I pump in the morning and at while at work. I'm only working about 3hrs a day in the office so we only need enough for one 4oz bottle and since I can pump anywhere from 4-7oz at one pumping session....we get way more than we need.

Anyways, about a week ago I went to the company website and went through the extensive intial interview asking questions about all kinds of things from our history. Today, I got the email saying that we have moved to the next step which includes a sign off from both our physicians and then the physical exam, drug testing, blood testing, etc. If we pass all of that then we will be approved to become a donor and will be sent all the supplies for storage and shipping of what ever extra milk we have to donate. I consider myself fairly healthy and Toots is certainly thriving so I'm really not too concerned that we wouldnt' get through this next phase. I'm not sure how long it might take but keep your fingers crossed for us!!

Here's a little info about what the company does and such.

As a result of the ongoing donations from generous donors and supporters like you, International Breast Milk Project is able to continue providing breast milk to babies in Africa affected by HIV/AIDS. Through May 31, 2007, IBMP donors had generously given 55,000 ounces of breast milk for our cause! 100% of the breast milk donated through May 31, 2007 has been shipped to Africa. 5,000 ounces of the breast milk was shipped in May of 2007, while the remaining 50,000 ounces was shipped in October 2007. IBMP is grateful to Prolacta Bioscience for working with us from the very beginning to collect, process, and package all of this donated milk. Due to the program’s great success and growth, IBMP is able to continue its work under a business model that ensures sustainability for the organization, so that we may continue helping infants affected by HIV in Africa. At IBMP’s request, Prolacta will continue donating their services at no charge to IBMP. Under this agreement Prolacta will collect, process, and package 25% of all breast milk donated after June 1, 2007. This donated milk will be provided to babies affected by HIV, poverty, and disease in Africa. The milk that is shipped to Africa for infants affected by HIV/AIDS is donated and not sold to the babies or orphan clinics. The remaining 75% of donated milk will be processed by Prolacta to make pasteurized human milk and to create the only available human milk fortifier made from 100% human milk, H2MF, for premature and critically ill babies in neonatal intensive care units in the U.S. For every ounce that remains in the U.S., Prolacta will provide $1 to IBMP. International Breast Milk Project requested this balance of milk and financial support from Prolacta to maximize our potential to fund local healthcare initiatives in Africa, including local milk banking, while also providing immediate relief for infants suffering from malnutrition. This partnership of a non-profit with a for-profit organization provides a model that creates sustainability to provide for a critical need in Africa. IBMP is pleased that the new model is working well: Breast milk donations made after May 31, 2007 have resulted in another shipment to South Africa sent on May 20, 2008, consisting of over 43,000 ounces of milk! This is equivalent to over 10,000 infant feedings.
Prolacta’s human milk fortifier is the only fortifier made from 100% human breast milk, which is added to a mother's own milk, or to donor milk, providing a critically ill preemie with the nutrition necessary to support appropriate growth and development. The human milk fortifier is concentrated human milk that meets the nutritional needs of premature and critically ill infants, as prescribed by neonatologists. Premature infants miss out on significant in-utero growth because they are born too early, and human milk does not have enough calories and protein to sustain the growth rates required for these babies to catch up with their full term peers. Feeding these babies more volume does not work since their stomachs are too small. The solution to this problem is to concentrate their food. The current standard of care is fortification using bovine (cow) milk products. Prolacta Bioscience is offering an alternative by making a concentrated fortifier from 100% human milk, as opposed to cow milk. Prolacta is the first and only company to provide human milk fortifier from 100% human milk for critically ill babies in the NICU. International Breast Milk Project is a federally registered 501c(3) organization. We will publish our milk shipment reports and our yearly financial information at
www.breastmilkproject.org. You will know that every drop of your milk is making a difference for infants in need.

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