Today, an NGO called Milk Matters featured on a morning news broadcast calling on people to donate breast milk.
On their website, they state that their aim is to build up a “milk bank”: a reserve of breast milk that can be used to feed babies in hospitals around the country, particularly those born prematurely or those who are HIV-positive.
This seems like an admirable cause, provided donors are subject to thorough screening processes. The fact is that breast milk is a known carrier of the HIV virus and, as such, carries the same associated risks as donated blood.
Milk Matters seems to have a screening process in place, as well as a good understanding of the risks associated with HIV transmission via breast milk. The question still remains though: would you feel comfortable with your child being fed donated breast milk if you were unable to breast feed?
FACT: The risk of mother-to-child transmission can be drastically lowered by feeding a child only breast milk for the first six months, provided the child is fed no other food, formula or water during this period.
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