The Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes is a
non-profit human milk bank that serves the Western
Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin and Illinois.
Donor Application Process
- Complete the online donor interest form. We will reach out to complete a 10-15 minute phone screening. This “prescreen” will cover general health information, milk storage, lifestyle factors, and more. If you are a candidate for donation, we will send you our full donor application.
- Complete the full donor application and consent forms. Please include as much detail as possible! We will review the application and contact your medical providers.
- Milk Bank WGL will arrange for blood testing at no cost to you. It typically takes up to 7 business days to get your results.
- Once you are approved, we will give you a donor number! You can expect a call from one of our donor screeners with your donor number and drop off instructions. We will help you find a convenient depot location to drop off your frozen breast milk or find other shipping/transport options.
After you complete your full application, the process takes about 2-3 weeks. Our goal is to make the screening process as convenient as possible for our donors!
Milk donors are healthy, lactating women who have extra milk and want to help other babies in need. Donors are expected to:
- Donate at least 100 ounces at your first drop-off
- There is no minimum for future donations, and we appreciate every drop!
- Follow our milk donation guidelines.
- Maintain contact with us to report medications and household illnesses.
- Drop off milk at a convenient Milk Depot, or work with us to arrange for shipping.
- Keep milk frozen at home and during transport.
We are so grateful to you for considering milk donation, as we know how much time and energy pumping requires. Your contribution truly makes a difference for families throughout Wisconsin and Illinois!
Milk Storage Guidelines
The milk storage guidelines listed below are meant to reduce the chance of contamination and support safe donor milk processing and distribution. Milk donors must follow these guidelines in order for us to accept milk:
- Keep pump parts clean using hot soapy water
- Store milk in single-use, sterile breast milk storage bags or containers
- We do not accept milk stored in glass jars, zip-top bags, ice cube trays, etc.
- Label bags or containers with the date that the milk was pumped
- Only store milk from different pumping sessions in the same bag or container if it was pumped on the same date
- Never mix temperatures when combining milk (e.g. only mix cooled milk with cooled milk)
- After pumping, freeze milk as soon as possible.
- If you keep milk in the refrigerator before freezing, please move it to the freezer within 4 days.
- Do not scald or heat milk before freezing
- Donate milk that has been frozen for less than nine months
- Donate milk that was pumped before baby’s second birthday
Health History and Lifestyle
During the screening process, we will ask about health factors, such as medications, illnesses, and risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens. Taking medications or having certain conditions or illnesses does not necessarily mean you cannot become a donor.
Certain medications and supplements may be appropriate for you and your child, but may not meet the HMBANA milk donation standards. Exclusions for milk that contains certain medications are applied on a case-by-case basis. Exclusions may be short-term, long-term, or may change based on updated research.
Many household illnesses will not prevent you from becoming a donor, but some may require a temporary deferral. This means we will not accept milk that is pumped prior to or after certain symptoms or diagnoses.
Because our recipient population is very fragile, we ask our donors to follow very conservative alcohol guidelines. Please be prepared to discuss your alcohol use with our donor screeners. We will ask specifically how long you wait to store your pumped milk after consuming any alcohol. It is very helpful to mark a calendar on the dates that you consume alcohol, including the amount consumed.
HMBANA Standards require that we defer donors based on certain travel. Please be prepared to answer questions regarding your lifetime travel history.
As a non-profit milk bank, we follow standards set by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). As such, we do not pay or otherwise compensate donors for their milk. This is a preventative measure that keeps milk safe from potential adulteration or tampering. This also helps to ensure that donor milk remains accessible for all families in need, regardless of their financial situation. For more information about our special programs, like our Charity Care program, click here!
Donating After a Loss
Whatever a mother decides, Milk Bank WGL strives to support each bereavement family through the donation process and beyond.
Select the link below to learn more about options for donating milk after loss.
If you have any questions about Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes and our operations, please complete the form or reach out to us directly at the number and email address below.