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For-Profit Company Hunting for Breast Milk

And breast milk banks worry it'll hurt donations
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2011 12:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – Did you know there’s an “increasingly competitive market for human milk”? Well there is, and not just for making ice cream. A California company called Prolacta Bioscience has been scouring women’s events and pediatricians’ offices for mothers willing to donate their breast milk, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Prolacta then filters the milk, fortifies it, and sells it to hospitals at a profit as Prolact+4 H2MF, a protein formula for premature babies. For each ounce the women donate, Prolacta gives $1 to charity.

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Donating milk “is a selfless act, and we’d like to honor that with another selfless act,” says Prolacta’s CEO. But non-profit breast milk banks—one of which charges hospitals around $4 an ounce, compared to Prolacta’s $185—worry that the company’s well-funded canvassing is costing them donors. “We’re working really hard to keep our hospitals supplied,” says the director of one bank. “I suspect moms could donate to this company and not really know that their milk will be used to pay their stockholders.” (Read more Prolacta Bioscience stories.)

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