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Breast Milk Donations May Be Taken at the Blood Bank of Alaska

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:08:21 PM AKST   Updated On: Dec 07 2013 12:06:00 AM AKST

Mothers in Alaska might be able to donate their breast milk at the Blood Bank of Alaska soon.

The chief medical officer at the Blood Bank, Dr. Norman Means, came up with the idea. He says for it to be sustainable about Alaska 30-40 women would need to donate about a gallon of milk every month.

The question is whether enough women in this state will donate. "I think the moms of this state are going to step-up," Means said.

Right now, Providence Hospital buys its breast milk from Colorado. The milk is given to babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and is considered vital to their development.

Means says it would cost about $400,00-$500,000 to process the milk donated in Alaska, which includes tests to ensure the mother is healthy and to pasteurize the milk.

The board of the Blood Bank still has to vote on this issue before it can happen, which expected to happen no later than April. "I think if we do it right it is sustainable," chief executive officer at Blood Bank of Alaska Robert Scanlon said, "I think the question we need to ask is how committed are the mothers of Alaska out there in providing their gift to other mothers. I think the answer to that is that they're very committed."

Means says typically a woman donates breast milk for about eight months.