It is one thing to venture through the World Wide Web looking for the perfect deal on shoes; it is entirely another thing to buy or sell breast milk online. Some women are unable to produce milk themselves, so they have become seemingly desperate. With recent studies showing that most of the milk bought online is contaminated, one can only hope this purchasing trend sees an increasing decline.
Understandably, parents want what is best for their children and years of research has proven that breast milk is the most healthful form of infant feeding. Not only does the child get vitamins directly from the mother but the child also forms a miraculous bond with his or her mother; leading to even more positive results. So why then do mothers scour the internet looking for a stranger’s milk, and how is it, with all of the possible dangers, any mother or father could feed their child breast milk bought online?
When people buy anything from online vendors, there is usually a vast amount of scrutiny that goes on prior to the sell. When we bid on our dream purse on EBay, we do as much research as possible to make sure the vendor is legitimate and the purse is authentic. When we fill our prescriptions from pharmacies in Canada, many of us research with an FBI style rigor to ensure our medicines are pure and genuine; going so far as to ask our physicians or pharmacists for a referral. How a person can rectify in his or her own mind purchasing a human bodily fluid for newborn consumption is astonishing. How any parent can put that much faith into the vast unknown, that is the Internet, is entirely concerning.
Nearly 75 percent of the breast milk studied was polluted. Of the tainted milk, fecal matter, disease carrying bacteria and salmonella was discovered in dangerous levels. These contaminations were fed to the innocent children of desperate mothers and, by the results of the most recent studies, are still being fed to them.
Many hospitals have donor banks that allow the parents to purchase milk if they are unable to provide their own; however, the donors are rigorously screened and well- it is coming from a hospital, not the internet. The safety of the internet versus the safety of a hospital is quite a profound contrast by most standards.
Generally, parents protect their children from the dangers of the unknown on the internet. By setting up safe searching, installing virus protection for the computer and teaching them internet etiquette, we instill responsibility in them and tend to feel more secure after taking these steps. Purchasing breast milk for an infant and trusting the milk enough to feed it to a child seems to be counterintuitive to the typical things we do as parents.
With Halloween just around the corner, many of us will go through our children’s candy; scanning each piece for imperfections and of course, tasting a few pieces just to make sure. We will tell our children before they walk out of the door to be safe and mind their older siblings and we will remind them of the houses they should not approach. This almost professional investigation is done intuitively and is the result of children receiving candy from those who are generally not even strangers, but our neighbors and friends. While we are taking the extra care to ensure the safety of our children, companies that could house unscrupulous donors and practice lax screening procedures, may be selling a family human breast milk from the internet. Really?
Editorial Written by: Amy Magness Whatley