How to Get Paid for Breast Milk: Is it really ‘Liquid Gold’?

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Did you know you can actually sell breast milk? Sounds crazy right? It’s certainly an unusual way to make money but nonetheless, many lactating people, especially in America, are earning some extra cents selling their milk.

When you think about it there are many benefits to breast milk that, along with the recent formula storage, mean it stands to reason that people would be willing to pay for it.

The HMBA (Human Milk Bank Association) says there has been a trending rise in demand for donated human milk for years now.

You can choose to simply donate your breast milk too. When my daughter was unable to breastfeed as a newborn and I couldn’t produce enough milk, we were lucky enough to be provided with donated breast milk for her at the hospital. Thanks to those generous moms who chose to donate, my little one was still able to be fed with breastmilk as we had wanted, even though I couldn’t provide enough myself.

If you’re currently breastfeeding and have more than enough supply for your own child, as well as making a difference to parents like myself, you could actually make some money selling breast milk.

Where can you sell breastmilk?

There are two main ways to get paid for breastmilk. These are through milk banks, and online breast milk websites. We’ll cover both in more detail further on.

Why would someone buy breastmilk?

There are plenty of reasons why people could be in need of breastmilk. These include:

  • For babies who are being fostered/looked after
  • For premature babies unable to breastfeed
  • For moms who cannot breastfeed due to lack of supply, illness, mastectomy, or medication making breastfeeding not possible.
  • For bereaved dads or families

By selling your breastmilk you can not only make a bit of extra money for yourself, but also know you’re doing something that genuinely helps others.

Why is breastmilk in demand?

The demand for breastmilk is high due to its many benefits such as:

  • It contains antibodies
  • It contains nutrients which are good for developing babies.
  • It helps prevent infections
  • Colostrum (early thick yellow breastmilk) is highly concentrated and great for developing babies immune system and digestive tract.
  • It’s believed to help prevent SIDS

The World Health Organization recommends that the best food for a newborn, is breast milk from a healthy mother.

Many parents or carers who can’t breastfeed themselves for various reasons are looking to provide their babies with natural breastmilk via solutions such as milk banks.

Is selling breastmilk legal?

You might be wondering if selling breast milk is even legal! The answer is yes. There are no laws against selling breast milk, but there are recommended practices you should follow when donating, buying or selling to make sure that the milk remains safe for babies to consume.

For example, milk banks in the US are regulated by the FDA and donations are subject to strict screening and processing procedures.

What is a breastmilk bank?

A milk bank is similar to a food or clothing bank. It’s a place that collects and screens milk before providing it to those in need.

There are lots of milk banks across the US and Europe. However milk banks in the UK don’t tend to pay, preferring to ask for free donations.

Selling breastmilk to milk banks

If you want to start selling breastmilk to milk banks the first thing you’ll need to do is research which milk banks are available in your area. You can then decide whether you want to join a milk bank that pays for milk, or one that takes free donations only.

Some milk banks will only accept donations in person, so you’ll need to be local, whereas others are happy to accept frozen and shipped breastmilk.

When applying to a milk bank you’ll need to provide personal information about your health, diet and mediacation and drug use.

You’ll also need to participate in a screening test, and potentially undergo a blood test too. 

There are some further stipulations for people who wish to donate, such as you may not be a smoker, illegal drug user, or have undergone a transplant or blood transfusion within the previous 12 months. 

Milk can also not be accepted from those who test positive for HIV, hepatitis or syphilis.

Once you’re accepted as a milk bank donor, each milk bank will have its own procedure on how milk is to be donated.

Generally though, milk will need to be pumped into milk bags and stored appropriately or frozen until it’s delivered or mailed. If milk is to be mailed, the milk bank will have specific procedures on how this is to happen.

How much do milk banks pay for breastmilk?

The amount you can get paid for breastmilk will vary by individual milk banks, but you can expect to earn from $1 upwards per ounce of breastmilk.

Milk banks that pay for breastmilk

Here are some regulated milk banks and directories in the US that you can use to find milk banks that you can sell breastmilk to.

How to sell breastmilk online

If you don’t wish to use milk banks, another option to still get paid for breastmilk is to join an online milk community otherwise known as peer-to-peer milk selling.

The most well known of these is probably global online milk marketplace Only The Breast.

An online community for moms, it also provides a ‘classifieds’ section where people can posts ads for buying, selling or donating breastmilk.

Onlythebreast.com was set up by mom Chelly, who believes:

If one mom has extra breast milk and another does not have enough there should be a place for them to connect that is clean safe and private.

onlythebreast.com

Together with her husband, she set up the site to create a safe network for moms needing to connect with others to find easily accessible milk for their babies at competitive prices.

How to sell breastmilk on Only The Breast

To start selling your breastmilk on onlythebreast.com you need to register for an account before you can post an ad. It’s free to sign up and place ads, although they do offer a premium listing which you can purchase to get your ads shown to more viewers.

You may be required to undergo screening and blood tests before buyers are willing to accept your milk, and this is a standard request suggested by onlythebreast.com for safety reasons.

Being able to provide recent bloodwork results will make you more likely to successfully sell your breastmilk.

Shipping your breastmilk must also follow suggested procedures; you’ll need to purchase a cooler and use dry ice to keep the milk cold during transport. Ziplock bags can be used to store the breastmilk itself.

Since online milk selling sites aren’t regulated in the same way, and buyers can choose who to purchase from, you’ll need to market yourself more in order to make yourself stand out.

Make sure your ad is clear in what you are offering – show what documentation you can provide, talk about benefits such as your diet and health.

How much money can you make selling breastmilk online?

The amount you can get paid for breastmilk online varies, and of course when selling through online marketplaces you are free to set your own price.  However, on average people charge around $2.50 per ounce of breastmilk.

Although this is more than milk banks pay, bear in mind that with milk banks you have the benefit of everything already being set up and regulated and you don’t have the shipping costs.

Also be aware that it may not only be moms looking to buy breastmilk for babies online. Be clear in your ads if you do not want to sell milk for ‘alternative’ uses.

Tips for selling breastmilk online

  • Never give out personal information. Keep your personal details secure by not sharing your address, phone number or financial details.
  • Make your ads stand out – Be personal, talk about yourself and share pictures of your breastmilk so people can see you’re a genuine seller.
  • Be wary of scams 

Online breastmilk selling sites may attract those looking for milk for alternative uses, which we won’t go into here! If you’re unhappy with being approached by these kinds of buyers then this may not be the way to sell your breastmilk.

Bear in mind that milk selling sites are unregulated and it may not be the safest way for people in genuine need of breastmilk to obtain it. When selling or donating through a milk bank you can have more confidence that milk is being safely processed and distributed to needy babies.

However, the downside is that milk banks can be an expensive way for moms to buy milk. To receive milk from a nonprofit milk bank, parents must have a prescription from their baby’s doctor.  While sometimes insurance may cover the costs, often parents have to pay. and they may turn to online sellers for affordable milk.

Is it worth selling breastmilk for money?

If you have a larger than needed supply, and you’re happy to pump more, then selling your breastmilk may seem like a no brainer.

However, the returns are unlikely to be huge, so if you’re looking to make lots of money, this probably isn’t the way.

If you want to help people, donating your milk (whether paid for or not) is a brilliant thing to do that genuinely helps both parents and children. Non profit organization The Milk Bank says

‘For fragile babies, human milk is lifesaving medicine. It’s something that a mother, even with all the money in the world, may not be able to provide her baby without someone else’s generosity.’

TheMilkBAnk.org