Facts about Donor Human Milk

Young mother holding baby

Click on a fact below:

  1. Facts about Donor Human Milk
  2. Benefits for Donor Mothers
  3. General Facts

Donor Human Milk:

  • Donor milk goes through a rigorous process of screening, testing and pasteurization, which ensures that donor milk is safe for medical use.
  • While donor milk is not the same as mother’s own milk, research shows that donor milk can protect a specific group of infants - preterm or very low birth weight babies against life-threatening illnesses such as necrotizing enterocolitis — a severe bowel condition that primarily targets preterm babies.
  • Donor milk is more easily digested by babies, which may mean fewer days of intravenous nutrition.
  • Donor milk has unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that can potentially protect against a host of illnesses including serious infections and other complications related to preterm birth.
  • Donor milk contains specific elements that protect the intestines against harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • The Canadian Paediatric Society states that donor milk is a recommended alternative to formula in the absence of mother’s own milk for sick hospitalized infants.
  • Health Canada approves the use of donor milk for selected hospitalized infants.
  • Donor milk banking has been endorsed by the Canadian Paediatric Society, the American Academy of Paediatric and the World Health Organization.

Benefits for donor mothers:

  • While it is known that breastfeeding offers a host of benefits to a mother including, a reduction in the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, a more rapid return to pre-pregnancy weight and a decreased risk of osteoporosis, the benefit of donating your surplus breastmilk is the knowledge that you are making a difference in the life of a sick baby and giving comfort to their families.

General Facts:

  • 2010 marked the 100th anniversary of Milk Banking worldwide.
  • Donor Milk Banking is common practice around the world.
  • The most famous Canadian recipients of donor milk were the Dionne Quintuplets.
  • There are two other donor milk banks in Canada, in Vancouver, BC and in Calgary, Alberta.
  • The guidelines for donor milk banking were established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America for which the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank is a member.