All U.S. nonprofit milk banks ensure the safety of its pasteurized donor human milk by following screening, processing, and dispensing guidelines established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).   Mothers with extra milk and a desire to donate provide health and lifestyle histories, and undergo blood tests, similar to the screening process used at blood banks.

  • Before donor milk is accepted, blood is drawn from mothers wanting to donate and tested for HIV 1 & 2, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HTLV 1 & 2, and syphilis.
  • The donated milk from mothers who pass this screening process is pasteurized, which destroys many bacteria and viruses, including HIV and cytomegalovirus.
  • Before the pasteurized milk is fed to a baby, bacteriological testing is done to ensure its safety.

There has never been a case of disease transmission from the use of pasteurized donor human milk reported in the United States.