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Sharing and donating breastmilk

The sharing of unprocessed breastmilk obtained from private sources is NOT recommended. Safety of shared breastmilk from private sources is questionable. Donors have not undergone any screening or review of their medical history. The breastmilk has not been tested or processed.

Potential risks of sharing breastmilk include:

  • Contamination with viruses such as HIV or bacteria that can lead to illness
  • Traces of prescription and non-prescription drugs can be transmitted through breastmilk
  • Improper expressing, handling and storage of breastmilk could lead to spoilage or contamination

The only safe source of donor breastmilk in Ontario is from the Roger Hixon Milk Bank.

The Roger Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank is located at Mount Sinai Hospital, in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The Milk Bank collects donated breastmilk from screened breastfeeding individuals, pasteurizes it, and distributes it by prescription to medically fragile babies in neonatal intensive care units across Ontario. 

Some questions to consider:

  • Do you know the breastmilk donor, including their health history and the medications that they are using?
  • Do you know if the donor followed safe handling (e.g. washing their hands, using a sterile pump and containers), collection and storage recommendations for breastmilk?
  • Do you know when the breastmilk was collected?
  • Are you aware of the risk of your child getting sick from using shared breastmilk?

Visit:

The Roger Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank

Safety of Donor Human Milk in Canada

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