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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Breastmilk for Sale

This was shared to me by fellow LATCHer Mec on FB.  Mec was tagged by her friend Jah who shared that she saw the ad on the Sulit website.  I went to sulit and saw 2 ads offering breast milk for sale.  I also saw an ad in Multiply.  Both of them also offered to swap the milk for diapers:

I have mixed feelings about this.  I personally believe that breastmilk should not be sold.  It is a gift freely given to us.  An abundant milk supply is a gift.  However, there are moms with abundant milk supply who work as wet nurses professionally.   In the discussion on Jah's photo, it was suggested that she work as a wet nurse instead.  Arugaan wet nurses are allowed to bring their babies to their place of employment.  However, the moms involved here may not have the option of leaving their homes to be wet nurses.

The proceeds from the breastmilk sale were also discussed.  It was a consensus that selling breastmilk should not be a means to purchase luxury items like bags or cellphones.  However, if it is used for basic necessities, that is where the dilemma begins.  Heck, some people even sell their kidneys!

My issue here is that once you start selling your breastmilk, it becomes a commodity.  Thus, the mom opens herself to questions about her lifestyle, diet, health, milk expression/storage processes etc.  It is just part of the inquiries that a diligent consumer makes.  If I pay for something, of course, I want to make sure that I get the best quality product for the price I paid.

For the record, milk-sharing networks Human Milk for Human Babies and Eats on Feets prohibit the sale of breastmilk on their pages. But there is a very comprehensive site focusing on classified ads for breastmilk - Only the Breast.  Breastmilk IS a bodily fluid.  Converting it into a commodity will raise issues of regulation and safety [even taxes] since there is already money involved.  Do check out the comprehensive FAQs for donating blood, which is another bodily fluid.

Currently, only Fabella "buys" breastmilk from the mothers who give birth at their hospital.  If more moms will opt to sell breastmilk, I honestly believe that there should be some regulation involved.  Similar to those selling "blood", maybe it is better if moms go to a milk bank to "sell" their milk.  The milk banks are able to pasteurize the milk and this will ensure the safety of the babies who will be receiving the donated milk.

I also posted this on my FB page, along with my friends Jen and Benz.  Several people commented that it is her milk and she is free to do what she wants with it.  Yes, I agree.  But I do worry about the ripple effect this could have on the whole milk sharing community.  Just one complaint from a powerful family could lead to a prohibition of milk sharing or even wet nursing.  Who gets affected then?

Your thoughts?

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