Friday, June 16, 2017

Breast milk sales and bans

Cambodia is banning more than surrogacy (see Wednesday's post):
Ban on breast milk sales throws spotlight on growing international trade

"Cambodian authorities have permanently banned the sale and export of human breast milk after suspending exports from a US company that has been collecting it from impoverished mothers for more than two years.

The ban has put the spotlight on a global trade in breast milk to other mothers, bodybuilders, cancer patients and breast-milk fetishists.

Cambodian women have been earning between $US7 and $US10 ($9 to $13) a day for selling their milk to the company.

Ambrosia Labs issued a statement saying "we believe in empowering the mothers of Cambodia with a way to make money while nurturing their families, as well as others, through the donation of their excess milk".

"We work hard to set and monitor guidelines to ensure that we are not taking milk out of infants' mouths," the company said, adding it does not accept milk from mothers of infants younger than six months.

But Ing Kantha Phavi, Cambodia's Minister of Women's Affairs, said the sale of breast milk could stunt children's growth and development and thwart the government's efforts to promote breastfeeding among new mothers.

The ban has been welcomed by the United Nations' children's agency, UNICEF, in a country where breastfeeding has been in decline.

"Breast milk could be considered as human tissue, the same as blood, and as such, its commercialisation in Cambodia should not be supported," the agency said.

"Cambodian welfare groups also welcomed the ban.

"Even if women agree to do it voluntarily, they often have no other choices and face economic pressure," said Ros Sopheap, the director of the women's rights group Gender and Development for Cambodia."

In related news, here's a story from the South China Morning Post, about what appears to be a small but growing domestic market:
Chinese mums cash in on latest and lucrative craze: selling surplus breast milk
Although the trade is not large, the commodity can sell online for as much as US$22 per 250ml

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