Saturday, August 27, 2011

Breast milk

The barriers to sale of human breast milk seem to be falling. Duncan Gilchrist points me to this article in Wired: Liquid Gold: The Booming Market for Human Breast Milk, which reports a booming private market, at high prices.

"Most body fluids, tissues, and organs—semen, blood, livers, kidneys—are highly regulated by government authorities. But not breast milk. It’s considered a food, so it’s legal to swap, buy, or sell it nearly everywhere in the US. This accounts, in part, for the widely varying quality and safety standards in the online market for milk. For their part, Prolacta and nonprofit milk banks have rigorous screening processes for potential donors, including tests for drugs, hepatitis, and HIV. But Only the Breast and the volunteer sites, which see themselves more as communities than commodity markets, don’t screen donors or assume responsibility for the milk they help disseminate."

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