Breastmilk Donation FAQ

Breastmilk Donation Questions and Answers

Q. How do I become a donor to the Mothers’ Milk Bank?

Donors are critical to the success of the Mothers’ Milk Bank. Without donors to provide a safe and continuous supply of milk, infants and children who need processed human milk would be deprived of this valuable resource.

Interested donors are required to complete a preliminary screening process as well as a routine blood test in advance of donating. Once cleared, donors may choose to express and freeze the milk for a period of several weeks in order to donate a sufficient quantity of milk. If a mother has stored frozen expressed milk that is less than 5 months old in the freezer, she can still donate that milk as long as the milk has been kept frozen.

Donor Screening Procedures:

1. Once you meet the qualifications of the preliminary donor screening process, you will provide a brief medical history review, either in person or via phone with the Milk Bank (408) 998-4550.

2. The next step is to complete the donor information forms, consent forms, and physician approval forms.

3. Last, you must consent to a blood test. Donors are tested serologically every six months. The Mothers’ Milk Bank covers the cost of the serological screening.

How does a volunteer donor ship milk to the Mothers’ Milk Bank?

MMB will ship coolers and airbills to the donor’s residence when milk is ready to transport. Instructions on shipping and packing frozen milk will be included in the cooler and accepted Mon-Fri only.

The frozen milk must not be older than 4 months in a regular home freezer or 6 months in a deep freeze.

Do you pasteurize the milk?

Yes. The milk is frozen after the pasteurization procedure. All donors are blood tested and the milk is tested for bacterial counts.

How do I order processed milk?  

The Mothers’ Milk Bank provides milk to patients who have a physician’s prescription (MD or DO). A physician’s prescription can be mailed or faxed to the Mothers’ Milk Bank at (408) 297-9208. Information such as name, phone number and address must accompany the prescription. Once we receive the prescription, it takes two working days for shipping and handling. The prescription must indicate how many ounces of processed milk per day, and for how many weeks or months. Please take into consideration that our sick and premature infants are our main priority.

 How is banked milk shipped?

The Mothers’ Milk Bank uses priority overnight shipment. There will be a charge for the shipping and handling. The charge for shipping depends on the area shipped to and the weight of the package.

 How do I use donor milk once I get it?

All the donor human milk supplied to you has been pasteurized or heat treated and then frozen. Place all the donor human milk in the freezer for further storage.

Donor human milk can be thawed quickly in a container of warm water (not to exceed 37°C/98°F). The water must cover the level of the donor human milk but not touch the lid. Do not microwave any human milk.

 What is the cost of processed milk?

There is a processing fee of $3.00 per ounce. There may also be shipping charges involved.

Does insurance cover the cost of banked milk?

Most insurance companies will cover the cost of banked milk if it is medically necessary. To find out if your insurance will cover the cost of the milk, call your provider.

19 thoughts on “Breastmilk Donation FAQ

    • Amanda, That is exactly the reaction I was hoping for when I shared my story. You will never know who you are helping, but knowing you are providing something VITAL for a tiny infant is enough. Thank you for your immediate and generous reaction.

  1. 38 years ago my son was born 10 weeks early. Because I had already breastfed my two older children, when the Dr.came to me and told me my new baby needed breastmilk I went to sleep knowing that and by morning I was engorged. What a blessing, I was already donating breastmilk to others in the NICU by the time I left the hospital 10 days later. The genuine great feeling of helping other tiny newborns went with me throughout the full year that I fed my own baby and others. I would encourage any new lactating mother to donate whatever she can to this nutritional need. Granted it was simpler then – I just froze what I produced in new ziplock baggies and stored it in the the freezer. A LaLeche league member picked it up from my home and delivered it where it was needed. But for you current donators just take the time to fill out the forms and get tested. IT IS WORTH IT to help a tiny infant get a good start on life.

    • Marianne, thank you for sharing such a heart warming experience! We love to hear these stories, and there are so many moms with similar stories. Thank you for continuing to encourage and support breastfeeding!

    • Erin thats a great question! Your breastmilk is definitely needed and would be appreciated, so I suggest you contact the San Jose Milk Bank and they can give you more information about what they process would be to donate, and if there is a closer milk bank to you. But I do know that they collect and supply breastmilk to all over the US.

      Visit: to get in touch with the milk bank.

      Thank you so much for your interest! Its great to hear from so many generous moms :)

  2. I would love to donate as well. I am teh mother of a 14 week old. I am on the East Coast. What do I do to help out?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Kind regards

  3. I would love to donate, but I am in Atlanta. Is there somewhere I can donate locally or is there a way to get it to you safely?

  4. What an amazing service! I wish I had known about this when I was having my babies. I never understood why a mother would use formula when her body already produced the perfect food. My son and his wife are expecting and I will encourage her and my other 3 sons wives (when they marry) to do the same.

    • Nicole, there are 7 milk banks across the US, so as you can imagine they each cover a large territory. You can visit the Human Milk Banking Association website to see all the location, contact the one nearest to you to learn more about their requirements to become a donor.

  5. I am 6 months pregnant with my second child and would like to donate milk when the baby gets here how do you start the screening process?

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