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Donor Milk Saves Lives

en español There is a high demand for pasteurized breastmilk in the Pacific Northwest. Currently, one in nine babies is born premature, putting them at risk for life-threatening infections, prolonged hospital admission, and lifelong disabilities. Evidence-based research shows the use of human donor milk from an accredited milk bank should be the standard of care for the supplementation of hospitalized premature and ill newborns.

photo of a mother kissing her newborn baby on the cheek

Our goal is to provide life-saving donor milk to every baby in need. Our generous milk donors make our work possible! Donors like Sayari:

“My first baby received donated breastmilk, so I wanted to pay it forward. It makes me feel like a part of the community of mothers, where irrespective of our culture, background, religion, ethnicity, we are reminded that at the end we are the same! It is a wonderful feeling to be of help, especially to newborns.”⁠

— Sayari, Washington milk recipient and donor⁠

Do you have a surplus of milk and are interested in donation? Milk donors are healthy, lactating individuals. Potential donors go through a comprehensive screening process that includes:

  • A short phone interview. We’ll ask questions about general health, medication/supplement use, and your overall breastfeeding experience.

  • Online completion of medical history, lifestyle questionnaire, and medical validation form. With permission, Northwest Mothers Milk Bank contacts the potential donor’s healthcare provider to confirm donor health history.

  • Complete a blood test. We screen for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B and C, and Syphilis. The milk bank coordinates and pays for this test. In some cases, a mobile phlebotomist can be scheduled as a convenience for milk donor applicants.

Our friendly, knowledgeable screening staff are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). They are available to answer questions throughout the entire screening and donation process.

There is no cost to become a milk donor. The milk bank does not pay donors for their breastmilk. Due to ethical and safety issues, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) prohibits compensating milk donors. As a nonprofit organization, this also allows us to keep processing fees as low as possible.

Milk donors make a significant impact in the health and well-being of the most vulnerable babies in our communities. Oregon milk donor Sarah shares:

“It’s such a tremendous and important gift! You can give a baby the best possible chance of growing strong by sharing your supply, and give parents so much peace of mind during what’s already an intense and emotional time of transition.”

— Sarah, Oregon milk donor

Call us at 503-469-0955 or 800-204-4444 to find out if you are eligible to become a milk donor.


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