Frequently Asked Questions

Baby in NICU wearing wares to monitor heartrate

Click on a question below:

  1. Who benefits from Human Donor Milk?
  2. What may prevent a mother from being able to provide milk for her own baby?
  3. Who can donate their milk?
  4. Are there health conditions that may prevent someone from donating?
  5. Are donors paid for their milk?
  6. Is there a cost for mothers to ship their milk to the Milk Bank?
  7. Is there a cost to receive donor milk?






Who benefits from Donor Milk?

Approximately 1,000 hospitalized, fragile babies including very low birth weight babies could benefit from donor milk in Ontario every year. Hospitalized babies are provided donor milk by prescription for the first four (4) weeks of life. The families of medically fragile babies will benefit from knowing that there is donor breastmilk available for their baby.

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What may prevent a mother from being able to provide milk for her own baby?

Most mothers wish to provide breastmilk for their sick or preterm baby but may not be able to provide a full volume of milk due to:

  • Maternal illness or delivery complications that delay the establishment of a milk supply
  • Insufficient supply if pumping for multiple births (i.e. twins)
  • Stress of having a hospitalized, sick baby that she cannot hold or breastfeed
  • Lack of hormonal stimulation from not being able to put the baby to the breast
  • Chronic infection or medical condition that precludes breastfeeding
  • A breast infection that temporarily affects milk production
  • Geographical separation from the baby

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Who can donate their milk?

You may be able to donate your milk if you are currently lactating with an abundant milk supply or have recently stored a large volume of milk. Bereaved mothers are eligible to donate their breastmilk.

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Are there health conditions that may prevent someone from donating?

Yes, women with specific health conditions such as HIV, active TB, hepatitis or chronic health conditions like multiple sclerosis or a history of cancer, are not eligible to donate milk.

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Is there a cost for mothers to ship their milk to the Milk Bank?

No, shipping arrangements to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank will be provided free of charge.

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Is there a cost to receive milk?

No. Donor milk is provided free of charge to eligible hospitalized babies by prescription.

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