Is It Illegal To Sell Your Breast Milk?

by Olivia Youngs

It may seems strange at first thought, but selling your breast milk is a great opportunity to help another baby who might not be able to receive breast milk otherwise — and make some extra cash while you're at it. But is it illegal to sell your breast milk and what are the specifics of making it happen?

It turns out that not only is selling your breast milk totally legal, it's actually super important and beneficial. Selling your breast milk informally through the internet or in your community isn't technically illegal (although it's not always recommended, as you'll see shortly). One study published in 2011 noted that there aren't any laws in place preventing or regulating the sale of donor human milk (DHM), although in some cases selling milk that has been tampered with or altered may make you liable for lawsuit.

However, informal sale of your breast milk isn't recommended. U.S. News reported that the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't condone, informal sharing (or selling) of breast milk between friends, strangers, or even family members, because of the potential of infection. There's no way of knowing exactly what is in the milk, or if the containers have been sanitized, or the full health history of the mother. This could raise the risk of introducing your baby to new bacteria that they otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to.


There are other options though. Donating or selling your milk to a human milk bank is the perfect solution to worries about the legality or safety of donor milk. For example, the Human Milk Banking Association of America interviews donors about their lifestyle and health as well as screens and processes the breast milk to check for bacteria before giving it to a baby in need. Most milk banks use this process to ensure that babies are receiving only high quality, safe milk.

One study found that the need for donated breast milk is high, and although the amount of mothers who donate is steadily increasing, ensuring that you do it through a safe, approved bank will make sure that it will be given to babies who truly need it to survive.