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?