If you are interested in becoming a donor mother, please fill in our online form or contact us on 01244 511440 between 9.30am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Please note your first donation must be made before your baby is 6 months old therefore we recruit new donors until your baby is 4 months old.We cover a large area including Cheshire, North Wales, Wirral, Merseyside, Yorkshire (North, West and East), Lancashire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and parts of Cumbria, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. We may consider large donations from further afield as well so please talk to us if you live further away.
Becoming a milk donor is very simple, however there are a number of important facts to be aware of before you start.
Benefits of donating milk?
Breastmilk gives babies the best start possible in life but sometimes there are reasons why the mum of a newborn, particularly a premature baby, cannot breastfeed herself. The mum might be physically unable to breastfeed due to illness, or perhaps needs help to establish her milk supply in the first few days after having a premature baby.
How do I donate?
We make the process as simple as possible for you. The first step is to contact us and we will talk you through the donor recruitment process and answer any questions you may have.
If you decide to become a donor we then supply you with all the sterile equipment you need and collect your donated milk from your home. The most important fact to remember is good hygiene at all times and frequent hand washing. The process of breast to bottle is a critical part of the procedure and donors must be vigilant to the risks of contamination.
Our donors tell us that the key to success is daily expressing and establishing a routine. We ask that donors vary their time of expression to ensure that the milk as a good nutrient balance. Donations of 10 litres+ are commonplace and many prolific donors give us much more.
Who can donate breast milk?
Many of the women who donate milk are giving something back because they were helped themselves but you can donate even if your child has not needed help.
You can donate if
- You are successfully breastfeeding your baby who is less than 9 months of age
- The first donation must be within 6 months of starting breastfeeding therefore we recruit new donors until your baby is 4 months old
- You are and remain in good health
- You are able to commit to a minimum donation of 2 litres
- You already have stored milk that your own baby doesn’t need (following the screening process) – please note we are unable to accept milk in milk storage bags apart from in exceptional circumstances, if you need clarification please call us
You cannot donate if
- You smoke any type of cigarettes / use nicotine patches
- You take certain medication (acceptable replacement drugs include Thyroxine, Insulin, Ventolin and Mini Pill (Progesterone only)) Please contact us for more information
- You have had any tattoos or body piercing in the last four months
- You have had acupuncture in the last four months (other than acupuncture administered by a registered NHS therapist)
- You have had a vaccine to prevent you contracting yellow fever in the last six months
- You have recently returned from an area of the world where certain infectious diseases are present (according to national guidance)
It is very important that donors keep us informed of any changes to medication during their donating period. Sometimes medication may be safe when breastfeeding your own baby however you may need to temporarily stop collecting milk for the milk bank. Click here to visit UKAMB website for information about drugs and donating breastmilk, however we ask that you always ask the milk bank for advice.
Donations must stop if you develops mastitis or any other infection. Please contact the milk bank who will be able to advise how soon you are able to restart donations after an infection or following a course of medication. If you have any concerns about any of the above please discuss them with your donor screener when we first make contact with you.
Screening and milk donation
After you have spoken to the milk bank and answered our screening questions you will be sent registration forms via email and a milk donor box in the post. Once you have received your milk donor box you can begin to spend a few minutes each day expressing off your extra milk. We recommend varying the times of milk expression during 24 hours so the milk has a good nutrient balance. Supply and demand ensures that you still produce plenty of milk for your own baby and by expressing off your excess milk daily you will be well on the way to achieving an ideal total donation of 5 litres or more.
The milk bank will provide sterilised bottles for you to use. The milk can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months before being pasteurised. In line with environmental health guidance, we will provide you with a freezer thermometer to ensure the milk is being stored at the recommended temperature. When you have at least 2 litres of milk to collect we will arrange for one of our drivers to collect the milk, usually on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Please ensure you have space in your freezer to store at least 2 litres of milk (approximately 20 bottles).
When we collect your first donation of milk our driver will deliver a blood postage box and letter for your doctor. You will be asked to make an appointment with your doctor and send a blood sample to us by post for screening. All donors are tested for HIV 1-2, HTLV 1-2, Hepatitis and Syphilis, you will be informed of your results within approximately three weeks.
Cost of Screening
Although the donated milk is given freely, it costs in the region of £125 per litre to screen volunteer donors, collect donor milk, and to microbiology test, pasteurise and store the milk.
Finally we ask that you maintain good communication with us and reply promptly if we contact you. If you have any problems and decide to end your donations please let us know and we will completely understand. Please contact us if we are due to make a collection and there is a problem – wasted journeys cost money.
You can find out about how your milk will be processed and distributed here: