Frequently Asked Questions for recipients

How can my baby have someone else's milk?

The PREM Milk Bank provides breast milk to babies from donor mothers. This milk is collected, pasteurised and then frozen into small amounts ready for babies in need. Pasteurisation is a process where milk is heated to a temperature that kills bacteria and viruses, but retains many of the immuno protective components. A microbiological sample is a taken before and after the milk is pasteurised to ensure it is safe. The PREM Milk Bank is confident that breast milk that has gone through this process is very safe.

How safe is the milk that my baby will have?

Before we can accept donated milk to the milk bank, a number of questions are asked of donor mums relating to general health and lifestyle. All potential donors are triple screened. This screening is similar to that of blood donors, including verbal and written questionnaires and blood testing. The blood test ensures that the donated milk is free from viruses and infections that can be transmitted through to the breast milk. These include:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 and 11 is responsible for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is the name given to a collection of diseases that develop because the body's immune system breaks down. 
  • Hepatitis B and C are viruses cause inflammation and infection of the liver. 
  • Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. 
  • HTLV 1 and 11 are leukaemia virus types and most common in Southern Japan, the Caribbean, parts of Africa, South America and South Eastern USA. Many people who carry these viruses have no symptoms although they will be infectious. 

The PREM Milk Bank is unable to accept donor milk of mothers whom:

  • smoke 
  • consume more than two glasses of alcohol per day 
  • consume more than three cups of caffeine containing drinks per day 
  • take regular medication 
  • take herbal medications or mineral supplements greater than the recommended daily allowance.

The PREM Milk Bank has been established to provide the safest delivery of breast milk to babies in need. Should you have any further questions please discuss this with a milk bank consultant.

What is best for my baby?

Human milk is the best food for human babies. Although artificial formula is processed and formulated to be nutritionally similar to human milk, it contains none of the immuno protective properties found in breast milk. Using pasteurised human donor milk from healthy screened donor mums is a better and safer alternative when feeding preterm babies. PREM Milk Bank aims to offer this milk as an alternative to infants in need.

Can I meet the milk donor who provides milk for my baby?

Generally individual donors do not meet the specific babies, mothers or families who donate their milk. This is part of the PREM Milk Bank policy.

Is this process confidential?

The PREM Milk Bank is required by law to ensure confidentiality of our donor and recipient mothers. All personal information obtained is kept in strict confidence. Sometimes we may ask if you would like to participate in research or community awareness of the milk bank, but we will always contact you first.