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US Firm to commercialize breast milk

(20 Posts)
georginars Thu 04-Aug-05 11:19:24

Apologies if anyone has already put this up for discussion but what do people think about this?
bbc story
I don't know what I think - seems slightly odd to me. But perhaps just a logical extension of selling sperm and eggs....

bundle Thu 04-Aug-05 11:20:58

I would donate to a milk bank if I ever became pg again, but would not do so if it was going to be re-sold I'm afraid.

georginars Thu 04-Aug-05 11:22:21

Same here bundle - not keen on the idea of someone making a profit out of donated milk. Would worry that it's not going to the babies who need it the most but just to the hospitals - and thus therefore the parents - who can afford it

expatinscotland Thu 04-Aug-05 11:23:04

What a disgusting idea! Doesn't surprise me, though. I'm surprised they haven't instituted a system of fines placing values on human lives. It's all about the Almightly Dollar there.

piffle Thu 04-Aug-05 11:31:07

Very morally questionable, as a mum who did donate milk when ds was a baby and also when dd was born with a heart condition, had she undergone surgery and my milk supply dwindled would have needed donated milk. It all leaves a rather distasteful flavour. Although one can argue anything that gets these babies the milk is worth it, but for a corporation to profit is what rankles me the most, I guess in the US due to health insurance etc and low b/f rates it maybe is harder for them to get the donated milk?
Or am I supposing one step too far about that?

expatinscotland Thu 04-Aug-05 11:33:31

No, you're not, piffle. This company would sell to the hospitals, who would then bill insurance companies for it.

They also have low b/f rates there b/c most employers don't offer paid maternity leave and women are forced to go back to work obscenely soon after giving birth.

bundle Thu 04-Aug-05 11:34:33

altruism around the world definitely differs - eg blood donated freely in this country, but you get paid elsewhere. also whole thing re: egg donation, where you can sometimes get discounted IVF treatment if you donate eggs to another woman who needs them.

spidermama Thu 04-Aug-05 11:38:43

I preferred the old wet nurse system because it cut out the middle man.
I suppose it's a good idea but it makes me angry that MEN will be making money out of it.
If all the profits went to the latcating mums I'd be happier.

bundle Thu 04-Aug-05 11:41:01

spidermama, i think the issue that got in the way was infection (hiv, hepatitis etc) so not really feasible any more..

spidermama Thu 04-Aug-05 11:41:58

Next step logical business move .... ?????

A male-run surrogate mother agency. The managers charge a fotune for the service. The surrogate mum's get a small cut for use of their bodie, but the satisfaction they're helping someone out serves as a bigger pay cheque. Hmmmmmmm.

SofiaAmes Fri 05-Aug-05 08:34:07

I think it's an amazing idea. Clearly, working on a purely donated system isn't getting enough breast milk out there. If working on a profit system will get more breast milk out there for people who need it, I think that's great. Yes, it would be wonderful if it could all be happy and wonderful and women would donate their milk out of the goodness of their heart and help others and no one made a profit. BUT it isn't happening. So why not have the next best alternative...creating an incentive to get a supply out there.
I tried to donate breast milk when I was feeding my dd and couldn't find anyone who was interested.

monkeytrousers Fri 05-Aug-05 09:02:44

"They also have low b/f rates there b/c most employers don't offer paid maternity leave and women are forced to go back to work obscenely soon after giving birth."

I didn't know that. Sometimes, the more I hear about the US the more it sounds like a pre-enlightenment society.

Like it said it will undoubtedly put pressure on mothers to donate milk, especially poor ones. Trading milk for child-support funds. Dear God..

And I don't think it's a question of mothers donating "from the kindness of their own heart". With the b/feeding demographic being predominantly in the middle class/socially aware group, I think many women would think of doing it if there were resources to facilitate this. But, like you said Sophie, there aren't, and many just aren't going to have the energy to go looking after giving birth, starting b/feeding, emotionally adjusting, and the rest. It's the structure that needs to be looked at. Not the mother's morality.

I really find the idea disgusting that the US deny poor mothers the choice to care for their babies in the first months after birth, yet have no problem realising the fiscal worth of breast milk and ploughing money into its commercial possibilities.

Iamalsohairyhercules Fri 05-Aug-05 09:09:58

First thought is horror than wonder if it will help with things such as cancer. It's amazing that there are over 100 000 components but we only know what a few thousand do!
Research into that would be good.

I remember watching Tomorrows world a few years ago where they said they were researching using bm to fight cancer cells as the milk destroyed the bad cells but left the healthy cells alone.

Not heard what happened with that.

paolosgirl Fri 05-Aug-05 09:12:08

We're assuming that men will run the company, and men will profit.

And women don't work in business, then, hmmm?

monkeytrousers Fri 05-Aug-05 09:18:07

I think that’s besides the point Paolosgirl. It's the business ethic that's contemptible. If the US had better social justice policies (and the UK for that matter) the donation and distribution of free milk could be better facilitated. These people, regardless of their gender, don't care about giving breast milk to sick babies; they just think it's a viable business venture that can make a profit.

expatinscotland Fri 05-Aug-05 09:52:20

I haven't set foot in the US in 4 years and can't say I miss it, especially when a friend of mine has to go back to work 3 weeks after giving birth b/c she used up her 'vacation' time and the employer doesn't offer paid maternity leave.

Anything for a buck, I guess.

No, thanks.

georginars Fri 05-Aug-05 10:07:24

Seriously expat, no paid maternity leave???? That is truly appalling. I didn't realise that was the case in the US. I am gobsmacked.
With regards to this article, I think that the distasteful thing is that this will be a for profit organisation - it's not just incentivising people to give breast milk for money with that milk going to where it's needed most, it's then going to sell on that milk.
Even if these profits would then go towards research into breastmilk I don't think it's defensible; I'd still worry where that milk is going to go - probably only to people who can afford to pay for it Thus you effectively have poorer people selling milk to supply richer people. What's next then - formalized selling of organs so that people in need of money really can flog a kidney? It seems pretty medieval to me. In principle I don't object to people getting something - expenses maybe - for donating milk but I really do object to the milk then being sold on as this means it won't go where it's truly needed and there will presumably be a nice mark up for someone.

monkeytrousers Fri 05-Aug-05 10:08:35

It seems to resemble more and more the cultures it deems oppressive.

expatinscotland Fri 05-Aug-05 10:22:36

Some places offer paid maternity leave, but they're not required to by law at all. Many will 'let' you use your holiday time.

And there's no such thing as SMP if you can't get paid maternity leave from the employer.

ellceeell Fri 05-Aug-05 11:24:14

This is where you can get info about donating in the UK www.ukamb.org

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