Milk banking and COVID-19
The Milk Bank is still open. We are continuing to accept milk from approved healthy donors so we can process and distribute milk for the babies who rely on us. If you, or anyone in your household are self-isolating or quarantined due to recent travel or respiratory symptoms, we are unable to accept your donation at this time. For any new donors, click here to see our donor protocol, which outlines the necessary steps you will have to take to be approved. We will update this site with new information as we manage this COVID-19 outbreak.
We are an accredited member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), who is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. Please read their full statement on milk banking and COVID-19.
Numerous safeguards are in place to protect the quality and integrity of every bottle processed including strict donor screening, validated pasteurization and microbiological testing.
Thank you for considering becoming a milk donor!It is a significant commitment but will provide you with the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped give a fragile, preterm infant a fighting chance. Please help us assess your eligibility.
How to Donate Breast Milk
Thank you for considering becoming a milk donor!
It is a significant commitment but will provide you with the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped give a fragile, preterm infant a fighting chance. Please help us assess your eligibility.
Step 1: Do you meet the safety criteria?
Even though your breastmilk is perfect for your own baby, there are some things that may make you permanently or temporarily ineligible to donate for the sick, preterm babies that receive pasteurized donor milk. If you fall into any of these categories, you may not be eligible to donate:
- Taking most medications on a regular basis.
- If you, or your partner are at risk for HIV.
- Testing positive for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), HTLV (Human T-lymphotropic Virus), Hepatitis B or C, or Syphilis.
- If you have used illegal drugs in the past 5 years
- If you, or your partner have had acupuncture, tattoos, or blood transfusions in the past 6 months.
- Living or travelling in certain countries including: more than 3 months in France, Saudi Arabia or the United Kingdom between 1980-1996, and/or a total of 5 years in Western Europe or Saudi Arabia from 1980 – 2007.
If you fall into any of these criteria, your final eligibility will be determined at your telephone interview. If you are ineligible to donate milk but still want to support our Milk Bank, please consider making a financial gift by clicking here, or help us spread the word to others in your network.
Step 2: General Health Screening
- In good general health, and nursing a baby who is less than 18 months of age? Bereaved donors or those who have suffered a late miscarriage or stillbirth who meet eligibility and chose to pump milk in honour of their baby are accepted.
- Willing to complete a medical phone interview with a nurse?
- Willing to have a special blood test done at a LifeLabs location near your home?
- Free from smoking, illegal drug use and regular alcohol use?
- Not taking medications, including most antidepressants and galactagogues (medications or herbs to increase milk supply)? It is generally OK to be taking progestin-only birth control pills, thyroid replacement hormones, insulin, nasal sprays, topical treatments, eye drops, prenatal vitamins and regular dose supplements.
- Able to get your health care provider to complete medical history forms for you and your baby?
- Able to pump at least 5 Litres (about 150 oz.) of milk over a 2 month period of time? (If you are pumping 4oz of extra milk per day, it will take about 5 weeks to collect 150 oz. of milk.)
If you answered YES to all of these questions, you are a strong candidate to becoming a milk donor! Please proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Learning what it takes to donate milk
We recognize the donating breast milk is a significant and generous commitment. You are doing this at a time in your life when your hands are likely very full. Please take the time to watch this 5 minute video and assess whether this is a commitment that you can make:
Step 4: Fill out and Submit this Form
If you’ve decided you would like to be contacted by phone to complete the donor screening interview to donate breast milk, please fill out and submit this form. You can anticipate a call from one of our lactation consultants within several weeks. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from us right away…we very much want to have you as a donor, if you are eligible! On behalf of Ontario’s most vulnerable babies and their parents…thank you!