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Pediatr Neonatol. 2013 Feb;54(1):28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2012.11.004. Epub 2013 Jan 5.

Characteristics of the first human milk bank in Taiwan.

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Branch for Women and Children, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



The benefits of feeding human milk to infants, even in prematurity, have been well documented. Well-organized donor milk processing has made the milk bank a good source of nutrition for premature or sick infants if their own mother's milk is not sufficient or suitable. The Taipei City Hospital Milk Bank was established in 2005 and is the first nonprofit human milk bank to operate in Taiwan.


The milk bank has adopted standards of practice laid down by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America and United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking. The clinical characteristics of the eligible milk donors, the recipients, and the donor milk were reviewed retrospectively.


In the past 6 years, 816 eligible donors donated a total or 13,900 L (mean 17.03 L/donor) of breast milk. The mean age of these donors was 31.3 years, and 79.7% of them had college education. Most had term delivery (91.2%), with mean birth weight of their babies being 3120 g; 68.9% of the donors were primiparas. A total of 551 infants had received bank milk, with these indications: prematurity (65.4%), malabsorption (7.6%), feeding intolerance (7.2%), maternal illness (5.1%) and post-surgery (4.6%). The pass rate of raw donor milk was around 72.1%. The most common reasons to discard raw milk were Gram-negative rods contamination (72.8%) and ≥10 colony-forming units/mL of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (62.3%). Only 0.63% of donor milk post pasteurization showed bacterial growth.


Proper management and operation of a human milk bank can support breastfeeding, and provide a safe alternative to artificial formula for feeding preterm or ill infants in Taiwan. Sustainability of the milk bank needs more propagation and financial support by health authorities.

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