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White Gold on the Black Market: The Need for Regulation of Banking and Donation of Human Milk in Australia

Version 2 2024-06-02, 14:46
Version 1 2022-11-30, 00:14
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-02, 14:46 authored by Neera BhatiaNeera Bhatia, J Koplin, A Spadaro
Human milk is in increasing demand. The health benefits of human milk for infants are well known. A limited number of formal Australian milk banks provide human milk to premature and sick infants. However, growing numbers of adults and parents from non-traditional families of healthy infants are buying and sharing it from the internet and social media sites for consumption. In Australia, human milk is not legally defined as a tissue or a food. Its donation, exchange, or sale is also unregulated. This is a precarious situation, as unscreened and potentially unsafe human milk is being provided to the most vulnerable members of society – infants. This article calls for human milk to be legally defined, and the current regulatory vacuum to be addressed. We recommend a consistent and uniform network of human milk banking and sharing where the safety of donors and recipients is protected. We argue that this might be achieved by defining human milk as a tissue, undergoing screening and storing practices similar to those currently used for blood donation.

History

Journal

Australian Feminist Law Journal

Volume

48

Pagination

165-192

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1320-0968

eISSN

2204-0064

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

2

Publisher

ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD

Place of publication

Abingdon, Eng.