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Canadian Milk Bank Up and Running in Vancouver

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

There's a great article today on the CBC web site that talks about Canada's first breast milk bank, which opened last year in Vancouver. More than one hundred women have donated their excess breast milk, which is then tested, pasteurized, frozen and shipped out across Canada to infants in desperate need of donor milk.

From the article:

"We cannot supply milk for every child in Canada who might need it," said Frances Jones, co-ordinator of the milk bank. "So we would be thrilled to have other banks joining us in Canada."

Officials from Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut have expressed interest in starting their own milk banks, Jones said.

Women living outside British Columbia may donate milk but the bank cannot pay the shipping costs, according to the hospital's web site.

Canadian mothers that are interested in becoming human milk donors can contact the BC Women's Milk Bank at:

BC Women's Milk Bank
C & W Lactation Services
4500 Oak Street, IU 30
Vancouver, BC V6M 3X4
Phone (604) 875-2282
FAX 604-875-2871

It's exciting to see the spread of new milk banks throughout North America. When the Mothers' Milk Bank here in Columbus first made plans to open, there were just a dozen milk banks in operation in North America. As I write this blog post there are now ten in operation with number eleven in the planning stages in Michigan.

Hopefully though continued news and word of mouth, we'll continue to see interest in both milk donation and the use of donor milk rise over the next few years. Seeing milk banks someday become as commonplace as blood banks would simply be spectacular.

Even if you are unable to donate your own breast milk, consider making a financial donation to the milk bank nearest you, or buying one of The Lactivist's milk bank awareness shirts to help support the cause.