Change the World

Is Informal Milk Sharing Safe? What Gay Dads Need to Know

You’ve fallen in love and now you’re planning a family. Or you’ve decided that becoming a loving parent just can’t be put off any longer. You’ve googled "male lactation" (or maybe not?) but in any case you are completely sold on wanting breast milk for your new baby.

Congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the more challenging and confusing decisions of your lifetime. Why? Because it doesn’t just impact you. It’s about your child. This information is intended to help you navigate your choices and make a decision that is right for you and your family.

Obtaining human milk for your baby can be achieved through either formal or informal sources. The FDA and the medical community universally condemn the practice of obtaining milk through informal methods. Because of this, there is very little information about how to navigate this option and minimize risk.

“Informal milk sharing” refers to the process of  obtaining milk from a lactating woman and encompasses a wide variety of situations. Whether you are buying breast milk online from an unknown donor with no testing, or obtaining milk from someone you know, mitigating risks is vital to your decision. The four major risks of using raw milk from an informal source are as follows:

#1) Blood borne infectious diseases can be ruled out with blood tests given every 6 months. The donor should be blood tested for HIV 1 and 2, HTLV I and II, HPV, HCV, Syphilis and (optionally) West Nile Virus and Chagas Disease. If an online donor provides a blood test result, it is vital that you obtain proof that the blood test is from the same person who provided the milk. If your donor is a relative or close friend, it is easier to ensure that the milk they are offering is their own and that the blood test results they are providing are their own.

Caution: There have been reports of unethical people selling milk online and providing their blood test results, but the milk they are offering has been obtained from someone else.

#2) Bacterial contamination occurs when a collection kit or storage container is contaminated with biofilms. For most healthy babies, the risk is minimal. But if your baby is born early or with a compromised immune system, bacterial contamination can present a risk. Excellent hygiene, especially after changing diapers or using the restroom is a must or there is a risk of transferring e. coli, coliforms or enterobacteria into the pumped milk.

Caution: Milk that has already been pumped and stored may have quality problems such as bacterial contamination or may be much older than what the donor claims. Off flavors and off tastes may indicate spoilage bacteria but the absence of such flavors and tastes does not ensure wholesomeness.

#3) Adulteration or dilution with other types of milk is harder to detect and provides an excellent reason to utilize a donor that is known to you or your close circle of friends.

Caution: Dilution with water or other kinds of milk can cause malnutrition which can trigger failure to thrive, serious illness and death.

#4) Prescription drugs, recreational drugs or alcohol use can lead to the presence of these substances in the milk. There is a relatively relaxed attitude regarding recreational drug use and breastfeeding, especially since the legalization of marijuana in many states. But with the increase in drug usage, including research chemicals, the risk to your baby is real. Prescription drugs may be approved by a doctor for a breastfeeding mother, but only if her baby is observed carefully for side effects. Because of this, a donor may choose not to mention her prescription drug use when selling her milk. Alcohol consumption is another consideration.

Caution: Being familiar with the donor’s lifestyle and potential for the use of drugs and alcohol is advisable but is not a guarantee that her milk is drug or alcohol free.

***


Parents often reason that if the donor’s own baby is healthy, her milk must be wholesome and suitable for sharing. One clear exception involves CMV (cytomegalovirus), which is common in the general population. Babies born to CMV positive mothers may have antibodies to protect them contracting the disease. But if your baby does not have the antibody and receives milk from a CMV positive donor, it puts your baby at risk. Please review the information provided by the CDC by visiting this website. https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/congenital-infection.html

If you choose to obtain milk from informal sources, these guidelines may help you. To assure the safety of your donor milk, ready to feed commercially sterile donor milk can be obtained from Medolac Laboratories, A Public Benefit Corporation. www.medolac.com.

 

Show Comments ()
Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

What Gay Dads Wish for Their Daughters on International Women's Day

We asked our dads of daughters what they most wished for their daughters as we all continue our work fighting against the inequality they will inevitably face

Today is International Women's Day. A day to celebrate and honor the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Much like LGBTQ+ equality, gender equality has come leaps and bounds over the past 100 years, but a perfect egalitarian society still does not exist. We asked our dads of daughters what they most wished for their daughters as we all continue our work fighting against the inequality they will inevitably face. Here's what they had to say:

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse