I can’t exactly remember how I heard about being a milk donor post surrogacy, but I knew from nursing my own kids that breast milk is in high demand. I learned of a milk bank specifically for surrogates called “Preemies Milk Bank“. I emailed them at 24 weeks pregnant to get the application started.
I was shocked I didn’t even have to leave my house to complete any of the steps! There was a lot Of small steps but were easy to complete. For the final step, which was blood work was able to be completed after I delivered, the phlebotomist even came to my house! It was awesome!!!
The first 2 weeks postpartum I gave the colostrum milk to my surrobaby in Chicago (5 hours from me) so that she could have the best start, plus the medications I was on for a few weeks post-delivery, while safe for a normal baby, weren’t safe for Preemies Milk Bank.
Preemies milk bank turns donor human milk into a fortifier for premature infants. Human milk is incredible in its benefits! It can even prevent life threatening diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis (common in preemies). The demand has grown over the years which in turn has increased demands for donors.
It is time consuming, which is why the milk bank compensates $1 per ounce of pumped milk (you do get issued a 1099 at tax time once a year) and pays their donors twice a month (every other Friday). Shipping and supplies is of no cost to the donor as well.
This has by far been one of the most rewarding things I have had the pleasure of being a part of. The milk bank coordinators are helpful and the Facebook page specifically for surrogate milk donors has become like a network of surrogate sisters. I have fun every week trying to see how much I can cram into the cooler! My husband even gets in on the fun!
I’ve learned to easily integrate pumping into my everyday life by pumping in the car with a car adapter and a cover. I even pump while cooking using a hands free pumping bra. I feel appreciated and encouraged every day. My family even reaps the benefits of my “work from home” job; vacations, going out to eat and my kids love their shopkins they get every other Friday (did I mention I HATE those pesky shopkins?!??)
I encourage all Surrogates to look into being a milk donor after your journey. I was an “under-producer” with my own children, but with exclusive pumping I make double the amount of milk I did with my own babies (60-75 ounces a day!). It’s a totally different ballgame, and if I can do it you can too!
It’s rewarding to pack a cooler and know not only am I saving lives and “working from home”, I am also decreasing my odds of developing certain cancers and helping to get my body in the best possible shape for my 2nd surrogacy journey in the future. I am almost a year postpartum and who knows? I may pump another year before pursuing another surrogacy adventure.
I am welcome to pump as long as I want, which is another thing that amazes me! :) When you are approved, you’re only required to pump 1200 ounces during a 4 month term. Then you are able To choose not to commit to another term. Many “pumpers” I know do one or 2 terms, then allow themselves to dry up to start the process to do another surrogacy journey.
I am an open book about my “milk adventures” so anyone is free to contact me, however, if you are a surrogate thinking about pumping for compensation please email Jennifer Mancini at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will lead you through the process step by step! I promise you won’t regret it!
Written by Guest author, Nicole Marie Cowles
For additional information regarding breast milk donation, please contact:
Donor Development and Care Manager, Prolacta Bioscience
Prolacta is thrilled to have the opportunity to provide surrogates the option to join us, help sick babies, and continue supplementing their income as they did as surrogates. Many of their donors pump for IPs in the beginning, but don’t want their hard work to go to waste when their parents go back home or no longer want the milk. With the Preemies Milk Bank program, surrogates can continue pumping as long as they would like.
Jennifer says “Thank you for all that you do to build families through surrogacy! As a surrogate myself, I know first-hand what a beautiful thing it is!”