Tuesday, Austin’s Mothers’ Milk Bank signed up its 1,000th donor for the year. That’s the most donors ever in one year.
Donated milk has helped about 6,670 babies this year, with most of them being premature babies in the hospital. Babies can be prescribed milk because of preterm birth, failure to thrive, malabsorption problems, allergies, feeding or formula intolerance, immune deficiencies, for before or after an operation, or for infectious diseases.
To be a donor, you have to go through a prescreening phone call, then complete paperwork. You get a blood screening and then you are notified if you are approved. You have to be willing to donate 100 ounces the first time, unless you are in bereavement, when that quota is waved.
You also have to be in good health, not on regular medication or herbal supplements, have an infant who is less than a year old (though bereaved or surrogate mothers are also eligible to donate) and able to arrange for transportation to a drop-off site or be willing to ship the milk in some cases.
You are not eligible if you have a positive blood test result for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B or C, or syphilis; you or your sexual partner is at risk for HIV; you use illegal drugs or smoke or use tobacco products; you have received an organ or tissue transplant or blood transfusion in the last six months; you drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day; you were in the United Kingdom for more than three months from 1980-1996 or in Europe for more than five years.
To find out more about becoming a Mothers’ Milk Bank donor, check out the website www.milkbank.org.