And, here it is.
Prolacta is now paying $1 directly to moms for every ounce of breastmilk they provide to the company. Prolacta has long provided a breast pump purchase credit to moms, offering $200-300 cash in exchange for a commitment to provide several hundred ounces of milk. (See: Prolacta/IBMP offer $300 credit instead of breast pump to donors, Dec 2011)
And the company has also been paying $1/ounce to several charities as a way of encouraging moms to provide the milk needed to make their $180/ounce fortifier product. (See: US company Prolacta milks charity partners, donors - Aug 2012.)
Prolacta has been talking about moving to a direct-to-mom cash payment model for a while, and now that competitor Medolac has entered the market, it makes sense for Prolacta to formalize its milk compensation program. (See: Significant corporate developments in the human milk marketplace, Oct 2013)
In a way it's more honest and direct than past compensation models. A clear choice is forming now for moms:
• Get paid $1/ounce from Prolacta and know your milk is eventually going towards the only human-derived human milk fortifier for sick babies in the NICU - 100 per cent human milk saves lives. At a very high price.
• Get paid $1/ounce and upstart Medolac promises it will process your milk and turn it into a shelf-stable, sterile product. "Promises" being the key word; they don't appear to be selling milk yet, so presumably it is in some sort of storage facility as they sort out their processing and delivery systems, and negotiate contracts with hospitals.
• Donate to a HMBANA milk bank belonging to the growing network of non-profit milk banks, which serve just under half the NICUS in Canada and the US. You'll receive no money, but you will know your milk will be pasteurized, retaining many of its critical immune properties, and will be used to help sick babies.
• Give your extra milk to a close friend, relative, or someone in your community, or connect to a recipient in need via peer-to-peer milk sharing networks.
• Sell your extra milk in a private arrangement.
Moms with extra milk are clearly in demand! How will this new Prolacta pay model impact the supply of milk to our non-profit milk banks? Will it reduce the amount of milk shared through peer-to-peer networks?
Monday, June 09, 2014
The Montreal Gazette has an excellent article exploring the new Hema-Quebec milk bank as one more option for families who can already access human milk through milksharing networks. The milk bank will provide milk for premature infants born before 33 weeks gestation. Goldfarb clinic's Carole Dobrich is quoted noting the lack of support and guidelines for milksharing from Health Canada. Mika Puterman of Montreal Milkshare and Emma Kwasnica, who founded HM4HB while living in Montreal, are also quoted. Kwasnica also discusses cross-nursing, which she says is still taboo:
“It seems somehow the idea of expressing your milk, putting it in the freezer, and giving it to another woman — that’s okay. We can talk about and show that, take pictures of that,” she said. “But nursing another woman’s baby ... it’s an intimate act that you feel like you’re sharing with someone else. And it’s a lot more personal than just expressing your milk and handing a frozen cartridge of it off to another family.”Read the whole story here:
Alternative routes to breast milk for Quebec babiesA new milk bank for premature babies complements long-standing traditions for mothers in search of optionsBY JOANNE PENHALE, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE JUNE 6, 2014
Valérie Laramée, whose surgery left her unable to produce enough milk but nonetheless wants it for her baby, found a network of donor mothers online.
Photograph by: Marie-France Coallier , The Gazette
MONTREAL — The benefits of breastfeeding are trumpeted far and wide these days, after falling out of favour in Quebec and elsewhere mid-20th century. For mothers who want breast milk for their babies but can’t provide enough themselves, options for obtaining it are increasing.
With Héma-Québec’s recent opening of the province’s first milk bank in decades, premature babies in Quebec who have a doctor’s prescription now have access to pasteurized human milk. ... link to full story