As early as 2006, The Lactivist already wrote about the black market for breastmilk. In 2007, Time Magazine had an article about wet nursing and featured a Los Angeles agency where you could hire a wet nurse. This issue was again in Fox News which reports that moms are now looking to the black market for donated breast milk and are in fact willing to pay as much as $1.90 per half ounce (or about 15ml).
When I was having supply issues, I never considered getting breast milk from another mom. Instead, we gave Naima formula. Since I started working and pumping at work last year, I’ve lost count of how much milk I have donated. Based on the Lansinoh, Nanny, Avent, Gerber and Playtex milk bags I’ve used up, I would believe that I have donated more than 400 6-8oz. bags of milk — and this excludes the milk sticks which we stored using Sensible Lines storage system. Wow!! If I placed my milk in the black market, at current exchange rates, I would’ve gotten almost P1M for it!
Tempting.. but since I freely produce the breast milk, I find it unsettling to sell something which I know I got for free. Plus, I know the frustrations of not being able to feed your baby breast milk. Now that my supply is abundant, I feel happy whenever I have some extra to give. I also try to be a good donor by having all my tests ready when the donees ask for it.
I think having someone else wet-nurse my baby is something that I won’t agree to – I will be very jealous of the wet-nurse and her closeness with my own baby. I also think I will feel very insecure knowing that someone else is performing my role in my baby’s life. I probably will accept breast milk from friends but I don’t think I am open to the idea of buying breast milk for my baby. I just find it wrong to sell something that you created for free and what you’re selling is something that a desperate person is looking for.