I would like to screen donors. How can I do this?

Screening typically consists of lifestyle/history questions combined with blood tests.

  • Donor Disclosure: Ask about the donors health, lifestyle and habits.
  • Blood Screen:
    • HIV I and II
    • HBV (Hepatitis B Antigen & Antibodies –if vaccinated, provide record)
    • HCV (Hepatitis C)
    • HTLV I and II
    • Syphilis

Additional screenings to consider:

  • TB (Tuberculosis –once, unless exposed, or symptomatic)
  • CMV (Cytomegalovirus –IgG and IgM– especially if milk may be fed to a premature baby)
  • WNV (West Nile Virus –IgA and IgM)

When full screening is not available, donor health status is unknown, or to reduce the potential risks of exposure to pathogens, breastmilk can be heat-treated. Please see ‘How can breastmilk be pasteurized at home?’ for more information.1

Next section: Finding a donor.

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  1. The screening of donor milk by milk banks includes post-pasteurization testing for bacteria and virus. This type of testing is not possible in a home setting without the proper tools. []

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