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Aug 2, 2012 10:18 PM by Lacey Steele

Women sell breast milk online and health professionals discourage buying it

Imagine buying breast milk for your baby from a stranger!

You may not have heard of this trend, but it is happening.

We found out it's definitely not the safest way to feed your baby.

When breast milk goes for money, compassion can turn into capitalism.

"Oh, I wouldn't put it past anybody to have poor motives," said Amber Sherman, a breast milk donor.

It's not mainstream, but all you have to do is Google selling or buying breast milk and you can find it.

We found prices ranging from one dollar to three dollars an ounce.

All of the dangers aren't known, so health professionals say parents shouldn't buy from strangers.

"If she's using illegal drugs, medical marijuana included in that," said Sonja Lindsay-Crites, a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Coordinator. "If she's taking prescription drugs or if she smokes or drinks, those are risks you may not know about."

Some sites allow it and some do not.

Many, like Craigslist, have a list of prohibited items, and one is bodily fluids.

Amber Sherman donates, so she never makes money.

"I had been contacted through a milk sharing website on a Yahoo group, and someone was looking for breast milk for their adopted daughter," said Sherman. "I sent them a cooler."

She simply produced too much milk.

"It is liquid gold, and someone can benefit from it," said Sherman. "I didn't want to throw all of that out."

To her, it's just like donating blood.

"It's love that we share because we know the importance of breast milk, and how important it is to feed your baby," said Sherman.

Pueblo's Women, Infants and Children's Program says three percent of women can't produce enough breast milk on their own, so many of them turn to hospitals and milk banks and still others to sellers online.

As with any other product, competition can drive prices down, and those cheaper products aren't always the best.

Many women are still willing to risk it.

When Sherman donates she gives them specific information.

"I've always provided them with the medical paperwork with the hospital information, my name, so they could call and confirm has Amber Sherman had these tests done and these are the results," said Sherman.

She says she cares about them as if they were her own, even though she's never met them.

"Me personally, if I was taking a donation, I would want that information," said Sherman.

Sherman advocates making donations to hospitals or milk banks, and not selling, no matter how much money is involved.

The closest milk bank is in Denver, and it's regarded as one of the ten best in the nation.

If you would like to make a donation click here.

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