Answering Your Questions, Part III: Costs

Answering Your Questions, Part III: Costs

Monday’s blog, “Why We Pasteurize” was the second article in a 3-part series addressing questions sent to us via Facebook. Today, we explain the Who, What and Why related to donor milk, costs and processing fees.  To stay updated on breastfeeding, babies and the magic of donor milk, be sure to click “LIKE” on our Facebook page. We will keep you updated on breastfeeding, babies and the magic of donor milk.

Part III – Milk & Money

Who We Are

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is a non-profit milk bank located in Fort Worth’s Medical District.

There are no owners or investors profiting from our donated milk.

Because milk is donated, we do not charge for the milk itself, only for the processing fees incurred to ensure donor milk is safe for critically ill infants.

We are very proud of our ability to keep costs low and charge only what is needed to continue to provide life-saving donor human milk to the babies that need it to survive.

IMG_0378 2What We Charge

Most non-profit milk banks charge $4.00 to $5.50 an ounce.

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas assesses a processing fee of $4.40 an ounce which does not cover all operating expenses.

We rely on the generosity of individual donations and charitable funders to supplement our costs.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 2.25.46 PMWhy We Charge

Processing safe milk for sick babies is expensive.

Our fees pay for the operating costs and expenses of providing safe donor milk for sick babies including donor screening, pasteurization, packaging and storage.

Who We Charge

For hospitalized babies, the NICU orders the milk and the hospital pays the processing fees just like they pay for blood, medication and nutritional supplements. Donor milk is only a part of the treatment for preemies in the NICU.

For sick babies at home with a medical need for donor milk, costs are paid by Medicaid or private insurance. Our charitable care program ensures that a baby is never turned away based on the family’s ability to pay processing fees. In 2014, we provided $412,000 of charitable care. Most of these families had no insurance, had reached their policy’s lifetime maximum or had other situations preventing insurance reimbursement. Babies are prioritized based on their medical condition, NOT their ability to pay.

SLATELANDON 047A Little Milk Goes a Long Way

80% of the babies we serve are tiny preemies in the NICU who require a very small but important volume of milk.

The total cost to feed these babies is as little as $7.00 per day.

 

While EVERY baby can benefit from human milk, it is important to appropriate donor milk where it can do the most good for the most babies. At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we are so very grateful to the donor mothers willing to share their milk with these precious babies that have so much to lose without it.

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas or how to become a donor, please visit our website.

 

 

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Answering Your Questions, Part II

Answering Your Questions, Part II

Last week’s blog, “Breastmilk & Bacteria” was the first article in a 3-part series addressing questions from our Facebook friends. Today, Part II, examines the benefits of pasteurization for premature and critically ill infants. Don’t miss Part III next week, “Milk & Money”, an in-depth look at how our non-profit status influences processing fees and costs.

Part II – Why We Pasteurize

Cristal Feeding SlatePasteurization Ensures Safety for Sick Babies Our pasteurization, called the Holder method, is very different from traditional pasteurization in the dairy industry. Used for decades in milk banking, Holder pasteurization gently preserves 60-100% of the immunulogical properties that protect preemies from deadly infections and complications in the NICU. The macronutrients remain unchanged.

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Current scientific research shows that gentle pasteurization yields safe donor milk for the tiniest babies while maintaining immune protection. Donor milk remains frozen and has a short expiration date to ensure babies receive as many immunulogical benefits as possible.

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) which governs non-profit milk banking practices in North America and Canada. For more information about processing guidelines, see HMBANA’s website by clicking here.

While EVERY baby can benefit from human milk, it is important to appropriate donor milk where it can do the most good for the most babies. At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we are so very grateful to the donor mothers willing to share their milk with these precious babies that have so much to lose without it.

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas or milk donation, visit our website.

 

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Answering Your Questions, Part I

Answering Your Questions, Part I

Last week’s blog, “What Does Pasteurized Human Donor Milk Cost?” started some great dialog on our Facebook page.  We always welcome your questions and the opportunity to share more about what we do for premature and sick babies.  Over the next week, don’t miss our 3-part blog series:

Part I – Breastmilk & Bacteria

Part II – Why We Pasteurize

Part III –Milk & Money

Eades Family5Part I – Breastmilk & Bacteria

Bacteria Benefits Healthy Babies – Milk straight from the breast is not pasteurized and naturally contains many bacteria. It is important to know that bacteria are rarely harmful to a mother’s own healthy-term newborn or even a mother’s fragile baby in the NICU. In fact, bacteria is beneficial in most circumstances. A mother and her nursing baby create a “closed-loop system” in which antibodies in her milk protect her baby from harmful organisms in her baby’s environment.

Milk Bank LabEliminating Bacteria Ensures Safety for Preemies and Sick Infants – At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we serve the tiniest, sickest preemies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), most with severely compromised immune systems. Unpasteurized milk donated from another mother can potentially have organisms that these babies can’t tolerate. Therefore, donor milk is safely pasteurized to destroy these bacteria.

preemiePasteurized Donor Milk Saves Little Lives – Of course, a mother’s milk is BEST for her own baby. Unfortunately, many mothers of preemies are unable to establish a milk supply in time for the important early feedings to begin. Donor human milk should never be used to replace a mother’s own milk, but it can be lifesaving when a mother’s own milk is not available.

While EVERY baby can benefit from human milk, it is important to appropriate donor milk where it can do the most good for the most babies. At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we are so very grateful to the donor mothers willing to share their milk with these precious babies that have so much to lose without it.

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas or milk donation, visit our website.

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What Does Pasteurized Donor Human Milk Cost?

What Does Pasteurized Donor Human Milk Cost?

At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT), we get a lot of questions about what we charge for donor milk. The quick and simple answer is:

MMBNT does not charge for the donor milk itself, only for the expenses of processing the milk.

Here’s why:

NICU baby

NICU baby

We have a very special mission.  MMBNT is a non-profit organization with a mission of improving the health and survival of premature and critically ill infants. We rely on the generosity of milk donors who provide MMBNT with the surplus breastmilk their own babies don’t need. MMBNT does not pay or compensate milk donors.

We pass along part of the expenses of making sure donor milk is safe.  Non-profit milk banks such as MMBNT adhere to the strict scientific safety guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).   In addition, MMBNT follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations related to the processing, handling and storage of food.

pasteurization equipment

pasteurization equipment

Tissue processing can be costly.  Milk is logged into a sophisticated bar code system that is compatible with hospital technology. It is stored in monitored freezers before entering the lab for standardized and careful pasteurization. Milk is packaged in special bottles with tamper resistant caps and is tested for bacteria before it is dispensed. MMBNT charges hospitals and outpatients a portion of these processing costs to support operations.

Individual and corporate monetary donations are vitally important.  Fees charged by MMBNT only cover 60% of the milk bank’s operational costs. Remaining funds are raised through fundraising events, individual donations, grants and community support. A lot of effort is put into fundraising at MMBNT. The generous gifts received from funders and financial donors help keep costs to hospitals and families as low as possible.

outgoing milk bottles

outgoing milk bottles

Charitable care is a priority.  Babies are prioritized based on their medical condition, NOT their ability to pay. A fragile baby going home from the hospital on donor milk will receive it, regardless of the family’s financial capability. In 2014 alone, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas provided over $400,000 of donor human milk to fragile babies at home with families that had no means of paying processing fees.

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas or about how to become a milk donor, visit our website.

 

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Giving Back Through Milk Donation and Surrogacy

Giving Back Through Milk Donation and Surrogacy

DSC_0431

Allison has been married to David for 5 years. Declan will turn 3 in June.

When Allison began producing an abundance of breastmilk after the birth of her son, Declan, her lactation consultant suggested she become a milk donor for Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. She explains, in her own words:

“Declan ate about 30 to 40 ounces, and I produced around 75 ounces. By donating, I knew what I was embarking on was huge and this gift was unlike anything in the world. This is a gift that you can’t put a price tag on. Knowing that the milk I produced could help nourish and help babies thrive is truly remarkable. I donated to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas from November 2012 to September 2013. We moved to Michigan, and I continued to donate to their local milk bank from September 2013 to March 2014.”

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Allison’s milk ready for donation

Allison dropped off about 200-300 ounces of her milk every other weekend to her local hospital, a collection site about 15 minutes away from her home. She says, “I labeled the bags with my name/ID and how many ounces, then filled the grocery bags into an ice chest, and then I loaded that into my car.” Allison shares advice for fellow donor moms: “Figuring out a system that works for you makes the whole process really easy. I had to make a trip every two weeks because I ran out of room in our freezers. I also would go between naptimes.”

And when asked about her words of wisdom regarding breastfeeding, Allison advises, “Do not give up! Seek help. Join support groups. You are not alone. I found that nursing is teamwork with mom and baby. It can be challenging in the beginning, but it gets much easier. Baby gives cues, and we have to figure out how to read those cues. Lactation consultants are awesome!”

declanmilk

A thirsty Declan at 3 months

Allison is currently preparing to become a surrogate and plans to pump and donate again. She adds, “We have moved back to DFW, so I am looking forward to donating to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas again.”

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas or on how to become a donor, please visit our website.

 

 

 

 

 

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