Biomedical Ethics and Peer-to-Peer Milk Sharing

The facilitation of peer-to-peer milk sharing via the Internet has proven challenging to many health professionals and organizations. Biomedical ethics can be used to explore medical dilemmas and find reasoned, consistent, and defensible solutions to moral problems. The principles of biomedical ethics—autonomy, veracity, beneficence, nonmaleficence, confidentiality, and justice—are applied to peer-to-peer milk sharing in this article. Application of these principles provides guidance to assist lactation consultants to act ethically in their interactions with mothers and others around the peer sharing of milk.

Milk sharing and formula feeding: Infant feeding risks in comparative perspective?

Gribble KD, Hausman BL.
Australasian Medical Journal, Vol 5, No 5 (2012)


The advent of Internet forums that facilitate peer-to-peer human milk sharing has resulted in health authorities stating that sharing human milk is dangerous. There are risks associated with all forms of infant feeding, including breastfeeding and the use of manufactured infant formulas.

Retention of the Immunological Proteins of Pasteurized Human Milk in Relation to Pasteurizer Design and Practice

Czank C, Prime DK, Hartmann B, Simmer K, Hartmann PE.
Pediatr Res. 2009 Oct;66(4):374-9.


Pasteurizing donor human milk inactivates bacteria that may be of concern to the preterm infant. However, current practice for Holder Pasteurization (62.5 degrees C for 30 min) is detrimental to the bioactivity of human milk.

Effect of evaporation and pasteurization in the biochemical and immunological composition of human milk

Lucylea P. M. Braga, Durval B. Palhares

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2007;83(1):59-63


Studies have shown that nutrients in human milk do not provide sufficient amounts of protein, sodium, phosphate and calcium to sustain the proper growth of these preterm infants. This has encouraged the development of new nutritional options for these infants, especially using human milk as a way to maintain their biological value.

Donor Human Milk Essential Resource For High Needs Infants Human Milk

Donor human milk banking is a service which collects, screens processes and dispenses by prescription human milk that has been donated by nursing mothers who are not biologically related to the recipient infant. Because the milk is dispensed to an unrelated recipient, every precaution is taken to provide a safe product.

A Snapshot of Milk Banking in Other Countries

Editor's note: This list includes countries with official, national milk banking programs, countries with non-governmental associations of milk banking, and countries where milk banking is undertaken independently by hospitals. This list is partial at best.
LEAVEN, Vol. 36 No. 2, April-May 2000, pp. 22-23

A teljes cikk a La Leche League International oldalán olvasható.

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