Donation after loss

We are so sorry for your loss and thank you for considering donating your milk at this difficult time. If you decide to donate your milk we are here to support you and to make the process of becoming a donor as simple as possible. There is no minimum volume of milk for bereaved donors and we are able to collect from anywhere in England and Wales. We will gladly accept milk you have already expressed and frozen subject to screening.

Screening process

We try to 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. We will ask you about any medication you  have taken while expressing the milk, please be aware that sometimes we may be unable to accept milk if you have taken certain medication. Sometimes medication may be safe when breastfeeding however may not be acceptable for donation purposes, please ask the milk bank for advice. Please note we are also unable to accept milk if anyone in your household smokes.

The next stage is to complete our Donor Record Form which we will send by email. When we have received the completed form we will arrange to collect your milk at a convenient time and will provide you with 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.

Continuing to express

Some mothers choose to continue to express milk following the loss of their baby. While this option does not suit everyone, some families find comfort in continuing to express and donate. We encourage families to discuss milk donation with the healthcare professionals who are caring for them to help make a decision that feels right for them. Your healthcare professional will also be able to give you advice about expressing, including how soon to start and how often to express.

How your milk will help

Donor milk is recommended for premature and vulnerable babies when their own mother’s milk is not available due to illness or while establishing their milk supply. Your milk will be issued to one of 70 different hospitals supplied by the Northwest Human Milk Bank.

Thank you for thinking of others at this difficult time, we hope you will find some small comfort in knowing your precious milk donation has helped vulnerable babies.

Acknowledging your donation

Following your donation we will send you a thank you letter and certificate to acknowledge your donation. We also offer a decorated pebble personalised with your baby’s name should you wish to receive one, please see an example of the pebble below.

If you would like to receive a pebble please email northwest.milkbank@nhs.net