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The Milk Bank Challenge: Empowering women to donate breast milk to babies in need

(BPT) - Did you know women can donate their breast milk to infants in need? It's a powerful opportunity to have a profound impact on families, yet many women simply don't know it exists. But there's a way for lactating women to donate this liquid gold to babies who need it.

It's called the Milk Bank Challenge. It was created by ConceiveAbilities Surrogacy Agency in 2022, when the worldwide supply of infant formula dropped to dangerously low levels. The goal was to empower lactating women to donate their breast milk to help bridge the gap between formula supply and the number of babies, especially at-risk premature babies, who desperately needed that nutrition.

Since its launch, the Challenge has inspired more than 2,000 women to donate an astonishing 2 million ounces of breast milk to the program. Last year alone, lactating women were inspired to donate 1.3 million ounces of breast milk, 15% of all milk donated nationwide. To give you an idea of the scale of this effort, one single ounce of breast milk can feel a baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a day.

Spurred on by the Challenge's success, ConceiveAbilities increased their goal for this year, and the first step toward achieving that is to increase awareness.

That's where you come in. Whether you know a lactating mother or are one yourself, share this link to the Milk Bank Challenge with other lactating women through email, social media or whatever way works best for you. Once they click through and enter their email address to learn more, you'll both receive a $5 reward for your time. When women donate, they'll receive $250 in thanks.

Carrie Anselmo knows how profound an impact donating milk can be to a family with an infant in the NICU. She joined the Milk Bank Challenge and donated 756 ounces. For her, it was personal.

"I have wanted to donate to other NICU families since my son Logan was born as a micro-preemie at 24 weeks," she said. "We spent 229 days in two different NICUs and we recently graduated! He is a survivor and miracle! I have wanted to give back and help provide NICU babies nutrients they need if the mother cannot."

"When we set the goal of one million ounces, it seemed lofty, but I never doubted the generosity of these amazing women and their willingness to make such an impactful gift," said Nazca Fontes, who founded ConceiveAbilities as an egg donation service nearly 30 years ago and has grown it into the most experienced full service egg donor and surrogacy agency. It was founded on the belief that everyone who wants to become a parent, can.

ConceiveAbilities sees lactation as an important component of its All-In Surrogate Care and Compensation Package, recognizing the significance of the fourth trimester in postpartum recovery. The Milk Bank Challenge aligns with the organization's commitment to sharing valuable information for women during their fourth trimester, including resources on lactation.

Breast milk is a powerful form of nutrition for a growing baby, especially one who has come into this world prematurely and needs a boost. For women who can't provide it themselves to their own children, donation of this invaluable liquid can be lifesaving in more ways than one. To find out more about the Milk Bank Challenge, or to learn about egg donation, surrogacy or becoming a parent via these methods, contact ConceiveAbilities.

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