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Published:April 20th, 2006 09:46 EST
Breast milk banks: an idea taken to the extreme?

Breast milk banks: an idea taken to the extreme?

By Laurie Salem

Our society is accustomed to having things at our fingertips. We shop online, we can pay bills by phone, and we can even stop and play live television in our homes (courtesy of TiVO). We also have at our disposal facilities that harbor a few of the many necessities we need: blood banks for those needing transfusions and sperm banks for those wanting children without the hassle of having to find an appropriate father.

But a fairly new phenom has some questioning whether or not we have taken this idea of for your convenience a little too far. These are breast milk banks. Yes, breast milk banks. Women all over the country are pumping their milk and sending it in to these banks to be processed and sent out to needy families. The idea in itself is noble. The milk feeds infants who have no access to food.

Of course, for every new advance, there is the black market side of it. Now, women are cutting out the middle man and selling their milk to friends and family and even over the internet.

The milk banks are vital in the accepting, processing, and distribution of the donated milk. The technicians run tests on the milk before they send it out, which is certainly a step that needs to be taken. The women who have created this black market ring are endangering the infants that they are trying to help.

Many women in their desperation are eager to get their hands on this stuff. And why not? Breast milk is the best way to feed a growing baby. The vitamins produced in the milk are not available in many of the formulas and even those formulas that come close to it still lack in some way or another.

Just like anything you receive from someone else, breast milk has to be tested for any and all diseases possible to ensure that this noble donation does not become a lethal donation.