Human milk bank

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A human milk bank is a service which collects, screens, processes, and dispenses by prescription human milk donated by nursing mothers who are not biologically related to the recipient infant. The International Milk Banking Initiative (IMBI), was founded at the International HMBANA Congress in 2005. It lists 33 countries with milk bank programs.[1]


Brazil has an extensive network of 210 milk banks. In 2011, 165,000 litres (5,580,000 fl oz US) of breast milk were donated by some 166,000 mothers, and provided to nearly 170,000 babies. The Brazilian and Ibero-American Network of Human Milk Banks coordinates these efforts. Donors must be healthy and not taking any medication. The Brazil effort is part of an effort that has reduced infant mortality in the country by 73% since the 1990s.[2]


There are 203 active human milk banks in Europe, with 13 more planned as of 2014, according to the European Milk Bank Association (EMBA).[3]

Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Cape Verde Islands[edit]

The Brazilian program has been spread to countries in South America and to Spain, Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands.[2]

North America[edit]

There are 16 milk banks in North America as of 2014. They collect about 3,000,000 oz per year as of 2013.

South Africa[edit]

South Africa has a breast milk collection and distribution program, Milk Matters, based in Cape Town.[4]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Kara W. Swanson, Banking on the Body: The Market in Blood, Milk, and Sperm in Modern America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014.