Dispelling Donor Milk Myths
MYTH: Donor breastmilk is unsafe because of the risk of infection from a donor mother.

FACT: Donor mothers are rigorously screened for any infection and the milk is also tested for bacteria so that the risk of any infection is minimised. All donor milk is pasteurised to kill remaining bacteria and viruses.

MYTH: Pasteurisation renders immunoglobulins inactive.

FACT: The effect of heating breastmilk to 62.5oC for 30 minutes does have some effect on the immunoglobulins but it does not destroy them all so that about 60% of IgA is left in pasteurised milk. Studies have shown that babies fed donor milk have fewer infections than those fed formula.

MYTH: There are not enough calories in donor breastmilk.

FACT: Donor mothers are encouraged to actively express their milk so that the higher calorie milk is collected. Drip milk which is lower in calories is not collected from milk donors.

MYTH: The HIV scare closed all the milk banks in the 1980s.

FACT: Some milk banks did close in the 1980s when it was realised that donor mothers would have to be tested for HIV but some banks remained open. Now that there are strict guidelines for screening of donors even more milk banks have opened across the country.

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