Breast milk works as an essential component for newborn babies. But sometimes, a mother may be unable to produce breast milk because of health complications. In that case, a newborn child lacks the mother’s breast milk.
The same thing happened with one of my family members. Honestly, it creates a big problem for a baby and its health. However, in that case, doctors suggest a mother purchase donor breast milk from a milk bank.
But donor breast milk might be a bit expensive for some people. Therefore, you may have a query, ‘is donor milk covered by insurance?’
Now, you can get the answer to this question in this article. So, have a look at this article.
Donor Milk: What Is It?
Human breast milk utilized as a replacement or addition to mothers’ breast milk is known as donor breast milk. Most newborns who get donor human milk are premature infants or those born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. However, newborn nurseries and NICUs or ‘Neonatal Intensive Care Units’ are frequently using donor breast milk as a replacement for feeding full-term infants, those born at 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Donor Milk: Why Use It?
Mom’s breast milk can occasionally be unavailable or unusable. Additionally, when a mother’s milk is not yet easily accessible, doctors may occasionally give newborns, who are still with their mothers, donor milk again as a supplement to their feedings.
Moreover, when doctors feed newborn babies with formula, several infants, particularly premature babies, face the danger of experiencing issues, including intestinal infections. In order to defend babies from these issues, you can use donor breast milk from any milk bank.
Donor Milk: Who Is Qualified For It?
Human milk from donors is prioritized for newborns whose lives were saved by it, typically premature, ill, or undersized babies. Supervision is essential to ensure that the newborns with an utmost priority receive breast milk first. After feeding needy hospitalized infants, milk can be given to infants at home that fit into the groups listed below:
- For Newborns Who Are Premature Or Ill
If a doctor writes a prescription and a note of medical justification explaining why human breast milk is required, infants at home who have a medical requirement for it may receive donor human milk. I advise requesting the hospital to provide you with enough breastmilk to serve your baby if your newborn got donor breast milk inside the hospital but is being discharged.
- For Healthy Babies Who Are Leaving The Hospital
After giving birth to a child, when you are getting preparations to return home, you might want to retain donor breast milk readily available for your baby till your milk production arrives. Moreover, to enhance babies’ health and provide parents with mental peace, several families with healthy babies prefer human milk as a supplement rather than formula.
Therefore, MMBA (Mothers Milk Bank Austin) can offer approximately 40 ounces of breast milk without needing a prescription. But if you require additional donor milk, you must show a prescription.
Donor Milk: Different From Mother’s Breast Milk
In situations where a mom’s breastmilk is unavailable or unable to be utilized, donor milk offers a safe alternative source of nutrition to a newborn baby. In order to eliminate impurities that can harm your baby, donor breast milk has been pasteurized.
However, most donor milk originates from mothers who had full-term deliveries. Although donor milk appears better than formula, it does not perform as effectively as mom’s breast milk. And the reason is that the pasteurization of human milk into donor milk reduces some of the components of milk that safeguard the newborn from infection.
As human breast milk goes through a long process of pasteurization, you can again ask, ‘is donor milk covered by insurance?’ Since you have learned about donor milk, the reason for using it, and the difference between donor milk and a mother’s breast milk, you will also get the answer to your desired question in the later part. Keep reading.
Milk Bank: What Is It?
Human milk banks, often known as breast milk banks, are institutions where breastfeeding people can give their breast milk to be processed and kept for use by others. People who donate their breast milk typically have an abundance of frozen breast milk or are generating too much milk for their infant. Three kinds of milk banks exist:
- Commercial Banks
Commercial breast milk banks gather, pasteurize, and distribute donor milk for profit. Commercial banks are not a member of HMBANA. That is why commercial banks are also not bound to the similar demanding safety and quality criteria as banks covered by the HMBANA organization.
- Non-profit Banks
The HMBANA establishes donor milk quality standards. The full form of HMBANA is the ‘Human Milk Banking Association of North America.’
However, 28 milk banks exist around the nation (North America), while three are located in Canada and are now taking donations. You can search for a nearby breast milk bank in their list or contact neighboring hospitals to inquire about any arrangements they may have with HMBANA banks.
- Community Or Peer-to-peer Banks
Milk banks that connect donors with needy families include ‘Eats on Feets’ and other peer-to-peer organizations. Donors can provide breast milk directly to needy families. And the receivers of the milk can utilize it either raw or after being pasteurized at home.
The Best Way To Donate Breast Milk To Milk Bank
The amount of breastmilk contributed to HMBANA by 13000 people last year is close to 9.2 million ounces which was 22% higher than it was in 2020. These statistics are predicted to increase due to the incredible kindness that has facilitated the severe newborn formula crisis throughout the country.
Call HMBANA if you want to give your milk to a milk bank approved by them. They will describe their donation and screening procedure, which goes something like this:
- Perform Pre-screening
A milk agent will inquire about your current health, medical history, usage of medications and herbal supplements, use of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, how much milk you think of giving, and other details.
- Test Your Blood
All potential breast milk donors must be tested for hepatitis B and C, syphilis, HIV, and HTLV, all of which can be passed on to the baby via breast milk.
- Collecting And Preserving Breast Milk Securely
The milk bank would provide adequate guidance on properly extracting and preserving your milk after approving your contribution. After that, you must freeze your breast milk within 24 to 48 hours. Then, you must store the expressed breast milk in sanitized containers, such as lactation preservation containers or bags they will send straight to you.
- Inquire Regarding Your Frozen Milk
You can donate your frozen stored milk if you want. Many milk banks will accept it if it is marked, below six to ten months old, and has been extracted and stored before the screening.
- Breast Milk Donations To The Bank
You might be able to give your breast milk if you live close to the breast milk bank. If shipping your breastmilk is necessary, you will receive guidance and materials, such as dry ice.
- Pasteurize And Screen Breastmilk
Every donation of milk that goes through a bank with the HMBANA seal is pasteurized before being put under safety and quality inspections.
Am I Compensated For Donating Breast Milk?
HMBANA milk banks are non-profit organizations; hence their contributors are not compensated. However, they do pay for the shipment and testing of breastmilk. Commercial milk banks also pay for shipment and screening expenses; some do it on your behalf.
For instance, Susan G. Komen Organization receives $1 for every ounce of breastfeeding supplied by ‘Helping Hands Milk Bank.’ And ‘Tiny Treasures Milk Bank’ pays contributors $1 for every ounce of milk.
Donor Breast Milk: The Cost And Coverage
By far, you have come to learn about some important, relevant information that will help you in some way. But you still did not get the answer to your question.
And your question was, ‘is donor milk covered by insurance?’ In this section, you will get the possible answer to your question. So, keep an eye on it.
Donor milk is frequently not covered by state or private insurance for healthy babies, despite its health benefits. If your child has a medical necessity and you possess a doctor’s documentation, donor breast milk can be covered. However, according to April 2022, participants in the following state Medicaid programs are eligible to receive donor breast milk under specific circumstances:
- New Jersey
- Columbia District
- New York, etc.
Furthermore, according to April 2022, the following states mandate that commercial insurance policies provide donor breast milk for specific infants:
- New York
- New Jersey
If recommended by a medical professional who is authorized to accept Tricare payments on behalf of military families, donor breast milk via HMBANA-recognized milk banks located all over the world is covered. However, without insurance, donor milk can charge between $3.50 and $5 per ounce.
Additionally, the processing costs are covered by milk bank fees, ensuring the milk is secure and of a high standard when it is supplied. In contrast to charitable milk banks, commercial milk banks frequently pay donors.
Families in need can access help programs from milk banks like ‘Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeastern’ in Massachusetts. Moreover, donor breast milk is often free for receivers because peer-to-peer breast milk banks are community-based networks.
However, it is crucial to remember that peer-to-peer donated milk is frequently unpasteurized, which poses a risk to premature infants. Therefore, ensure you and your donor adhere to the CDC’s instructions for breast milk storage and preparation if you are wondering about peer-to-peer donor milk. And if a baby needs breast milk when being treated inside a hospital, your insurance can pay for the cost of donor breast milk, or it could be added to your account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Donated Milk As Beneficial As Breast Milk?
Premature babies require additional nutrients. During the initial months of life, premature babies’ mothers’ breast milk has greater levels of several nutrients than the moms’ of full-term infants. Donor milk is healthier for your child than infant formula, even though pasteurization removes several nutrients.
How Long Can A Woman Continue To Make Breast Milk?
A maximum of two to three years of milk production are possible for a mother. However, breast milk is the best food a mother can offer to her infant.
Additionally, a mother’s breast milk can provide the fat infants and sometimes young children need for growth. Moreover, they need it to help their bodies absorb and process vital minerals and vitamins.
Can Donor Milk And Recently Expressed Breast Milk Be Combined Safely?
Yes, in some cases, you can mix fresh breast milk with donor milk. But the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) warns against blending recently purchased milk with milk that you previously preserved. Additionally, frozen and older milk can melt due to fresh milk’s warmer temperature.
The mixed milk’s longevity will depend on how fresh the older milk is. Moreover, you should only refrigerate the melted milk for up to 24 hours. Contrarily, you can keep the recently produced milk in the refrigerator for four days.
Should Breast Milk And Infant Formula Be Combined?
In some cases, you can combine breast milk with infant formula. However, almost all the nutrition your baby needs is naturally present in breast milk. If your baby’s doctor advises you to do so and gives you guidelines, you can only mix breast milk and infant formula.
Additionally, it is acceptable to use bottles containing formula in addition to breast milk to complement a diet. And mixed feeding refers to giving your child both baby formula and breast milk.
Is It Acceptable To Mix Water Into Breast Milk?
No, it is not acceptable to extend breast milk by adding water. Water intoxication is a risky condition that can result if you mix water with breast milk.
Without a doctor’s prescription, you should not give your child below six months old water or other liquids except breast milk or formula. Mixing water with breast milk will hamper a baby’s development and growth since it decreases the amount of nutrition a newborn gets.
What Is The Value Of Donated Breast Milk?
Donor milk may cost between $3.50 and $5 per ounce without insurance. Fees collected by milk banks can pay the processing costs, ensuring the milk stays secure and meets a high standard when supplied. However, donors are frequently paid by commercial milk banks but not charity milk banks.
Who Must Avoid Providing Breast Milk?
The following people are not eligible to donate breast milk if she,
Uses drugs or tobacco
Has had blood transfusions or gained blood donations within the past four months
Has had a tissue or organ transplant within the previous twelve months
Normally consumes over two ounces of alcohol a day.
Can I Get A Medication That Makes Breast Milk?
The most efficient medication for increasing breast milk production is ‘Domperidone.’ It has been discovered that this drug, created to support vomiting, nausea, gastric reflux, and indigestion, also works well to enhance milk production.
At the end of the article, I will conclude by answering your question, which was, ‘is donor milk covered by insurance‘ that public and private insurance companies will not cover donor breast milk. But if your child needs it under a doctor’s inspection in a hospital, then the donor milk can be covered.
However, besides the insurance coverage of donor breast milk, you must learn about what it is, its qualification, cost, safety, etc. And those who are going to donate breast milk must have some knowledge regarding the way of donating breast milk to a milk bank. Therefore, read this article carefully to learn about the crucial and relevant information regarding donor milk.
Mehedi Hasan is an insurance expert with over 6 years of experience in the industry. He has a deep understanding of various types of insurance policies and is skilled at helping clients find the coverage that best fits their needs. In his current role, Mehedi works as a consultant, advising businesses and individuals on the best insurance options for their specific situations.
He is also a frequent speaker at industry events, sharing his knowledge and expertise with colleagues and professionals in the field. Mehedi holds a degree in insurance and risk management and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest industry trends and developments. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with his family.