New breast milk bank set to open in OKC in two weeks

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Reported by: Brittany Jeffers
Updated: 5/16/2013 11:24 am Published: 5/15/2013 8:34 pm

Many experts say that breast milk is the gold standard in nutrition for infants. Until recently, the only option for Tulsa area mothers with extra milk was to dump it or donate it to a milk bank in Fort Worth, Texas.

Soon, area mothers will have another option.

The Oklahoma Mothers' Milk Bank is in the final stages of certification and two weeks shy of opening the doors in Oklahoma City.

Board president of Oklahoma Mothers' Milk Bank, Anne Darnell-Gillingham, decided to partner with other area mothers to create the nonprofit because she saw a void in the state.

"Breast milk is the best, it's the liquid gold for the babies," said Darnell-Gillingham.

The milk bank is now screening donors and preparing to start screening milk.

Biochemist Dr. Martin Banschbach tells FOX23 that the real winner in the new venture is the infant.

"Breast milk has immune factors in it and has white blood cells and antibodies," said Banschbach.

Banschbach says that breast milk banks provide peace of mind for parents because there is enforced quality control.

Darnell-Gillingham says that the donated milk will be screened for HIV and hepatitis B and C. The milk will also be pasteurized to kill worrisome bacteria. Donor mothers will be screened via a phone interview, questionnaire, blood test and note from the Ob-Gyn prior to donating.

"I think it's crucial, and you want to make sure, just like any other product that you are putting out there, that it is safe, said Darnell-Gillingham.

Milk will be sold for $4 an ounce and will only be available for babies being treated in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Darnell-Gillingham's nonprofit has partnered up with the Oklahoma Blood Institute to have its facilities be places for people to drop off their breast milk, or they can always ship it to the bank in OKC.

An open house will be held at the milk bank in OKC on May 30.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Kmam2012 - 5/16/2013 11:26 PM
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I am in support of milk banks but this is not the way it should be done. First off, no one should pay for breast milk. Especially not those mothers who's child is in neonatal care. Just think, they are going to be forking over $12-$16 a feeding! No I am sorry there are plenty of resources out there for moms to find donor milk. Also, breast milk should not be pasteurized. I am a breast feeding mom myself and I would never charge another mom for my 'liquid gold'.
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