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Donated breast milk enables hospitals to nourish low birth weight premature infants

Global public health authorities recommend human milk fortifiers for low birth weight infants.1,2,3 Human milk–based fortifiers added to mother’s own milk or donor human milk—an exclusive human milk diet—has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the incidence of health complications in infants born weighing ≤1250 grams compared to traditionally used cow milk–based fortifiers or preterm infant formulas.4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Prolacta’s human milk–based nutritional products are made possible thanks to the generosity of carefully screened donors who have excess breast milk and choose to provide it. Women from throughout the US collect, freeze, and ship their excess breast milk to Prolacta. That breast milk is processed into pasteurised 100% human milk–based nutritional products with essential minerals added for low birth weight premature infants.

How Prolacta breast milk donors are qualified

Our programs are limited to women in the US with excess breast milk. Prolacta has developed, validated, and implemented more than 20 tests for the screening of human milk to ensure quality and safety. Click here to view the complete screening, testing, and qualification of the donations.

Why breast milk donors are compensated

To protect the health of extremely vulnerable infants, each breast milk donor must follow strict quality and safety instructions when pumping, cleaning, storing, and shipping her milk. These activities take 2 to 8 hours a day on average and Prolacta compensates for her time and effort required to complete her donation journey.

Read more about what it takes to donate.

Depending on what feels most comfortable, a donor can either choose to be compensated for her time and effort or she can contribute her compensation to the NICU Parent Network.

How donors benefit from donating their excess breast milk

Many of our donors tell us that their donation experience gives them a real sense of purpose and pride. Many donors have reported having a connection to Prolacta’s mission because of a family member’s experience with critically ill or premature infants.

Our program also benefits the donor’s children’s wellbeing. Donor moms who receive compensation donate for about 4 months longer than non-compensated donors, which often results in breastfeeding their own children for longer. 11

Prolacta’s donor milk program is fully aligned with the WHO and UNICEF program goals on supporting exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding up to 2 years and beyond.

Throughout their donation journey, we work to ensure donors have the resources and information needed to make the process of donating as straightforward and rewarding as possible. Prolacta donors motivate, encourage, support, and inspire one another within the community

Because maternity leave options are limited in the US, donating excess breast milk allows many mothers to take additional time off from work after having a baby. Some donors also use their compensation to contribute to their families for things such as a down payment for their home, tuition for themselves or their children, and many other benefits.

How Prolacta is committed to donors

We simply could not do what we do for critically ill and premature infants without our donors exclusively based in the US. That’s why we celebrate our donors at our all-employee meetings and send appreciation gifts for reaching milestones during their time donating. Their passion is irresistible, so we work closely with our breast milk donors to raise awareness during events such as World Prematurity Day, Breastfeeding Awareness Week, Human Milk Donation Day, and many others.

If you’d like to learn about policies on breast milk donation, review the Policy Recommendations on Human Milk Regulation in the European Union published by the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) Working Group on Human Milk Regulation.