A Deal On Breast Milk

10.12.11 Groupon offers deal of the day as a fundraiser for Indiana milk bank.


Groupon subscribers in Indianapolis received an interesting deal last week: $10 for pasteurized donor human milk. But it wasn't a scam, it was a legitimate fundraising effort, Time magazine reports.

Subscribers to the deal-of-the-day website were offered a chance to pay $10 to be donated to the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank (IMMB) to help the organization offset the cost of providing breast milk to premature and sick infants in need, according to the Time article.

The magazine reports that the charitable deal comes courtesy of the Groupon charitable division called G-Team. "Everyone kind of has a soft spot for providing babies the nutrition they need," says G-Team spokeswoman Kelsey O'Neill, as quoted in Time.

According to the milk bank, it ships up to 200 ounces of donated breast milk per week to hospitalized preemies. Donated milk can be expensive and out of reach financially for some parents, especially because most insurance companies only pay a fraction of the costs in some cases, if at all. The milk bank's costs—from screening for diseases to storage and pasteurizing and then shipping—add up: Donor breast milk is sold for an average of $4.50 per ounce (30 milliliters).

"Some preemies take as little as 5 milliliters a day, meaning that the 132 Groupons sold could cover the cost of 9 liters (304 ounces) of donor milk, feeding 1,800 babies for a day," the Time report says.

Some moms just are not able to breastfeed for a number of reasons, and donor banks can help these women give their babies the breast milk they need.

Breast-milk sharing is popular despite government warnings about acquiring mother's milk online or from unknown sources. Experts emphasize that milk banks are safer and can be essential lifelines for some mothers in need of breast milk for their babies.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.