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Breastfeed Med. 2012 Apr;7(2):118-22. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2011.0006. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Human milk donation is an alternative to human milk bank.

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Department of Pediatrics, Duchess of Kent Hospital, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.



Human milk bank is a source of human milk supply in many neonatal intensive care units. However, there are some hospitals without this facility because of financial or religious impediments, such as the Muslim community.


We introduced human milk donation as an alternative to human milk banking based on Islamic principles. The suitable donor is a healthy rooming-in mother whose expressed breastmilk is in excess of her baby's demand. The milk is used after 72 hours of freezing at -20°C. The donor must fulfill the criteria for selection of donors and be nonreactive to human immunodeficiency virus and syphilis. Once the recipient's family and the donor state their desire for the human milk donation, a meeting with both parties is made. Unpasteurized frozen-thawed donor's milk will be provided to the recipient after written consents are obtained from both parties.


This study was carried out in the Duchess of Kent Hospital (Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia) between January 2009 and December 2010. A total of 48 babies received donated breastmilk. Forty-two infants were from the special care nursery, and the remaining six were from the pediatric ward. Eighty-eight percent of the donors and 77% of the recipients were Muslims. Sixty percent of the infants who received donated human milk were premature. Two infants died because of the underlying nature of their disease.


Human milk donation is an option for hospitals without a human milk bank or in the Muslim community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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