The Breast Milk Donation Process
4 easy steps to becoming a breast milk donor
- Complete a 10-15 minute phone screening.
- Complete and return an informational packet.
- Have a blood test done. (We pay.)
- When we receive your paperwork and lab results, our Clinical Director calls you with your approval status.
Ready to provide some basic information so we can call you for a phone screening? Contact Valarie by email. Or you can call her at 512.494.0800 or toll-free 1.877.813.MILK (6455).
Please include the following information in your email: Your name, phone number, location, baby's birth date, whether or not you have already collected any milk, a list of any medications or herbal supplements you are taking, and the best time to reach you.
Who is eligible
You are a good candidate if you’re a mother who is currently (or just recently) lactating and has surplus milk, and if you are:
- In good general health
- Willing to undergo a blood test (at the Milk Bank’s expense)
- Not regularly using medication or herbal supplements (with a few exceptions)
- Willing to donate 100 ounces of milk initially and continue pumping to donate as you are able (minimum donations will be different if you are shipping milk)
- Nursing an infant who is less than one year of age (bereaved or surrogate mothers are also eligible to donate)
- Able to arrange for transportation of your milk to a drop-off site, or in some cases to ship your milk to the Milk Bank
You are not eligible to donate milk if
- You have a positive blood test result for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B or C, or Syphilis
- You or your sexual partner is at risk for HIV
- You use illegal drugs
- You smoke or use tobacco products
- You have received an organ or tissue transplant or a blood transfusion in the last 4 months
- You regularly have more than two alcoholic drinks per day
- Between 1980-1996, you were in the United Kingdom for more than 3 months or in Europe for more than 5 years
Getting the blood test
Your milk will be prescribed to preterm and critically ill babies. To provide the safest milk possible, we require all donor moms to complete a blood test to screen for harmful viruses. The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin covers the cost of these tests.
Please complete the initial phone screening, receive your donor ID#, and be well on your way to collecting your initial 100 ounces of milk before taking a blood test. When you go to have your blood drawn, be sure to bring the requisition form we provide!
The lab will test for:
- HIV I & II
- RPR (syphilis)
- HTLV I & II (Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus)
- Hepatitis B (HbsAg)
- Hepatitis C (HCV)
You will have your blood test done at one of the labs listed below with whom we contract. Please find the location nearest to you.
We also partner with local blood centers for our testing. You may visit the following locations with whom we contract.
- Central Texas: The Blood Center of Central Texas
- San Antonio area: South Texas Blood and Tissue Center
If you live outside the areas listed and cannot find a lab with whom we contract, please call us to discuss additional options for completing your blood work.
The approval process
The approval process can take anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on how quickly you return your paperwork and get your blood work done, and how soon we receive the completed health forms from your healthcare providers.
Once you become an approved milk donor mom, you’ll be ready to begin dropping off your milk at the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin or one of our collection sites, or to ship your milk to us at the Milk Bank.
More questions? See Milk Donor FAQs.