The Business of Breast Milk

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In a nation that commodifies just about everything, we can now add human breast milk to the list. When new mothers and hospitals need breast milk for newborns, they traditionally get it from non-profit milk banks. These banks get milk donated by women who pump more than their babies need. But these days, websites like Only the Breast and Eats on Feets allow women to sell or trade their extra breast milk. Meanwhile in the City of Industry, a huge new breast milk facility plans to process 3.4 million ounces of breastmilk this year. The company, Prolacta, creates a concentrated product for premature babies that it sells to hospitals for about 180 dollars an ounce. We look at the big business of breast milk.

Credits

Guests:
Pauline Sakamoto - Mothers’ Milk Bank, Mark Underwood - UC Davis Children's Hospital, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett - USC

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Matt Holzman, Anna Scott, Jolie Myers, Christian Bordal, Laura Swisher