How much should I charge for breast milk?
Let’s start out with the fact that breast milk is not free. Sure, it is made by our bodies and in that technical view it can be seen as free. But, to even get there and then get it out of our bodies then to the recipient is not free. There is a lot of time, effort, and even expenses involved to make the milk, pump it, and provide it. I wouldn’t expect anyone to go to work for free and say hey the energy and time you used, etc.. was free. Why do you charge your boss for going to work?
Well that is easy to answer anyway. It’s for the valuable service and sacrifice for which we are providing. We could be using that time and effort spending time with our families. Ladies have value, our breast milk has value. It’s so amazing to see how many people recognize the time and effort other mom’s put in to help feed other people’s babies. Oh and Kudos to those who donate freely; you are truly amazing.
What FREE options are there for recipient parents?
There are options like FREE formula from WIC for parents who simply just want breast milk but don’t need it and can’t afford it. For the babies who need it and can’t tolerate formula many of us tap into our altruistic side and freely donate to milk banks or those families directly. Parents with a prescription and the right insurance can receive the milk from milk banks at no cost. I myself have both donated freely and for compensation. (That is also an option for any provider of breast milk.)
If not free then how much?
Many moms have been confused as to the value of their breast milk. Now a days there is much controversy on whether a woman should even sell her breast milk for profit. For those who choose to be compensated for their time, effort, costs, and sacrifice involved there is still the question on how much to even charge. Honestly supply and demand has a factor in the current purchase value of breast milk. Not to long ago the ongoing rate for breast milk was $2.50/oz. Wow! That’s a lot. During that time there were very little moms who provided breast milk services to other moms. Most of those moms who donated gave their breast milk to milk banks. Those milk banks would charge around $4.00/oz to families who had babies in need and many did not have insurance that covered it fully. Milk banks only receive so much breast milk a year so they are very careful to reserve their milk to only the babies in the most need.
When comparing to $4.00/oz $2.50/oz seems like quite a deal; especially when there is not much supply outside of milk banks. Today, however, there has become a growing awareness for families who desire to feed their little ones breast milk and need to reach out to other moms for help. Due to the growing demand and the increase of breast feeding awareness there has been a rise in breast milk supply to the general public through informal milk sharing sites.
This increase of moms supplying breast milk has helped make buying breast milk more and more affordable.
Today with informal milk sharing breast milk can range anywhere from $0.25 an ounce up to $3.00 an ounce. I find in some cases moms will simply sell their milk in a flat rate option to make it easy for the recipient to understand what they will pay for all the milk. The reason some moms sell by the ounce is so parents can decide exactly how much they need with out getting to much or too little like with flat rate sales.
The range of cost for breast milk is quite large and does make knowing how much one should charge confusing. Let me help you here. Remember, this is just a guide from my experience and since the sale of breast milk is unregulated the final choice is up to the buyer and seller. It is really on how much the buyer is willing to pay as there are a lot of options and sellers to choose from.
What factors should be considered?
* Category 1: Do you…
- …drink alcohol?
- …take medications: prescription or over the counter?
- …eat processed foods such as Fast Food frequently?
- …smoke cigarettes? * No seller of breast milk should smoke.. but I have noticed some are smokers or use tobacco products
- …consume dairy?
- …live with a smoker where you are around the nicotine smoke. This includes vaping that has nicotine in it?
- …take additional vitamins that can negatively affect the milk and also some babies’ tummies?
- …have lipase in your milk?
- …drink caffeine, especially more than the daily recommended amount?
- …consume high in salt and/or sugar diet?
Category 2: Do you…
- …eat organic?
- …take prenatal vitamins?
- …exercise regularly?
- …exclude dairy?
- …eat whole grains?
- …eat fresh fruit and/or vegetables regularly?
- …take DHA vitamins?
- …take Folic Acid vitamins?
- …exclude gluten from your diet?
- …eat a diet high in fresh foods and vegetables including fresh fish
- …consume plenty of protein in your diet?
- …live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle?
Bonus section: Do you…
- …have lab testing for infectious diseases?
- …have recently been a surrogate and have medical records of proven health?
- …have a doctor’s note to be a milk donor that shows current proven health and that you are a lactating mom whose baby is thriving?
- …have proof you are an experienced seller and have any letters of recommendation?
Which category do you relate to the most? Those who fit mostly in the second category and do not have more than 2 items from category 1 are those who qualify best for selling their breast milk from $1.00/oz – $1.50/oz. Those who can also add any 2 items in the bonus section qualify best for selling their breast milk from $1.50/oz on up to $2.00/oz. The more healthy the lifestyle the more the price per ounce a mom can charge. There is a higher demand for quality breast milk; however, a smaller supply of providers.
Moms who have babies with allergies have a much harder time finding breast milk with restricted diets than with non-restricted diets. For this reason the going rate for dairy-free breast milk is around $1.25/oz where organic, dairy-free, and gluten free can sell for $1.50-$2.00 an ounce. I believe it is much harder to find anyone to buy breast milk for more than $2.00/oz unless the seller comes from a high profile clean lifestyle and the buyer is also from the same type of lifestyle.
What is the average going rate for breast milk today?
Most places like to stick to $1.00/oz for breast milk. Milk banks that compensate, adoption arrangements, and surrogacy contracts are known for $1.00/oz compensation. It seems fair enough for all the work involved and helping the mom to stay motivated for the time she is needed. After that she can wean her body and go back to her normal lifestyle.
Are you wondering why women sell their breast milk for as little as $0.25 an ounce?
Currently there is more supply than demand. When a mom falls mostly in category 1 she has a harder time selling her milk for more than $0.75/oz since there is a high supply of moms in that category. Plus many of these moms are seeking to sell fast, so they will lower their cost to find buyers. Trying to sell breast milk for more than $1.00 takes more time and effort.
There are also moms who are philanthropists by nature and those who simply just want to help while at the same time not taking any loss on their actual costs involved to provide the breast milk.
How much should you charge for your breast milk?
That is really up to you. If you are seeking to help families and don’t mind helping with the cost or just don’t want to take a loss, then opt for free up to $0.75/oz. If you are wanting to make some profit to help with a little play money while helping them then look into $0.75/oz – $1.00/oz. Are you seeking making anything above $1.00/oz for your time to have some cash to help pay bills? You can use the guide above to decide where you fit best on compensation.
Great, now you’re ready to decide what works best for you.
I hope this guide has helped you figure out what to charge, decide if you prefer to simple freely donate, or both!