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Can I Donate My Breast Milk?

There is a screening process which all potential donors need to go through before donating. Please read all sections before completing the screening form.

By completing the screening form you are agreeing that you have read the information provided, are giving consent to proceed: 

  • Understand milk cannot be returned once donated 
  • Consenting to a sample of blood being tested for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis 
  • Consenting for a positive blood result to be shared with your GP 
  • Consenting to information about you, your health and donations being stored on a database 
  • Consenting to your milk being used for research purposes 

We cannot accept milk from women who: 

  • smoke, or are using nicotine replacement therapy or are vaping  
  • regularly drink more than 1 to 2 units of alcohol once or twice per week 
  • take certain medications including antidepressants, high blood pressure medication and certain pain killers 

We also ask that you keep caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, soft drinks) to a minimum.  

If you have stored milk please add, in the section asking for the approximate amount, any medications you may have been taking during this period.

Donor Screening

Please complete the consent form and health and lifestyle questionnaire using the link below. We do not normally need to access your medical records. 

Donation depends on the answers to these questions and the results of your blood tests, so please answer accurately. Answering yes does not mean you cannot be a donor but we may need clarification. If you are donating milk you have already expressed, you should answer the screening questions for the period when you expressed the milk.  

Because we can’t use antenatal blood results, we will provide you with a kit for a new blood sample to get taken at your GP practice and posted back to us. We test for: HIV, Hepatitis B and C, HTLV 1 and 2 and Syphilis. We can provide more information on these tests if required. 

If your blood gives a confirmed positive result for any of these infections you will be offered advice on any issues which may affect your own health. A positive test means you can’t donate. 

How long can I donate for?

It’s best to establish your own milk supply, usually around 6 weeks postnatally, before expressing regularly for donation. You don’t need to express more than once a day and you can donate until your baby is around two.  

Donations of already expressed milk are also accepted if the milk has been stored and frozen appropriately, is less than 90 days old and is a reasonable amount (3 litres or more).  

Data Protection

The Milk Bank keeps a record of donor information on a secure computerised database. This database is used to communicate with donors and to record their donation details, including all blood sample test results. It is also used for administration of the bank.  

All information is treated with the strictest confidence.  Families whose babies receive donor milk will not be able to access the donors’ information at any point. This information may also be used for research in order to improve our knowledge about the milk donor population, for clinical audit and to assess and improve the quality of our service. From time to time we may contact you for feedback on the service we provide.  

On occasion we may use some of the information you give us for other reasons and sometimes the law requires us to pass on information if there is a genuine need (for instance in matters of Public Health). Whenever we can we will remove details which will identify you. All information and data that is processed by the Milk Bank is in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act (1998). Everyone has a legal duty to keep all information confidential, and everyone who receives information from us is also legally obliged to keep it confidential. You have a right of access to your donor records. If you want to access your records, contact our Donor Coordinator. 

Collecting Milk for Donation
  • Milk should be expressed by hand or by breast pump. ‘Drip milk’ (milk that leaks from one breast while you are feeding your baby from the other breast) is not ideal as it tends to have less fat, protein and calories. 
  • Equipment for expressing does not need to be sterilised but good personnel hygiene, hand washing, clean preparation areas, fridges and freezers are essential. Expressing equipment should be washed in hot soapy water making sure it is clear of all milk debris, rinsed in cool water, thoroughly dried and stored in a container lined with paper towel and covered with a lid between uses. Please use paper towel for drying hands and equipment. 
  • The milk bank will provide sterilised collection bottles and labels for your milk. When collecting milk be careful not to touch the inside of the bottle or lid. Leave a 2cm gap at the top of the bottle as the milk will expand when frozen. 
  • Where practical you should freeze your milk as soon as possible after expressing it. If this is not possible, you can keep it in the fridge but it should be frozen within 24 hours of expressing it at the latest. It does not matter if there is only a small amount of milk in a bottle at the end of each day these can then be topped up with chilled freshly pumped milk. 
  • All milk stored at home should remain frozen. We will also ask you to record the temperature of your freezer every day (preferably in the morning). We will provide you with a thermometer for this if your freezer does not have one. We will also give you a plastic bag to store the bottles in your freezer. We ask this is kept separate from food in your freezer. 

You should contact the milk bank staff to discuss donation if you: 

  • develop a temperature or have been exposed to a virus that causes a rash such as chicken pox or German measles (rubella) 
  • start taking medication 
  • develop breast lesions or infections such as mastitis 
  • travel outside the UK 
Donor Breast Milk Collection

To arrange milk collection and extra bottles and labels please use the collection form on the website   

Please remember milk must be processed within 90 days of the oldest milk so give us plenty of time to arrange collection. 

Digital Screening Form for Human Milk Donation

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