Saturday

Standardized human milk patent-pending


photo by Jessie McClain
Welcome to the Brave New World. One has to be brave to read and digest this patent application # 20080124430 called "Human Milk Compositions and Methods of Making and Using Same." This is a patent application on the invention of a human milk fortifier and standardized human milk (whatever that means--read the patent application).
Invented by Elena Medo et al and various employees of Prolacta Bioscience. So the question is what are they claiming to own?? There seems to be some slippery slope language in this application. What is standardized human milk? Is this a claim to ownership of a "standardized" human milk from donors? And aren't we charting new territory with this patent? Should we be outraged over this? It was inevitable but there are some ethical questions regarding the patenting of a "standardardized human milk." It would seem to me that the language used in this patent application is careful but still creates some ethical dilemnas. How will my profession respond to this patent application? I would think that it should at the very least bring up some needed debate/discussion but I am not holding my breath on that. Who really cares? So what if a few people of a corporation own a pending patent claiming ownership to a standardized human milk? What does it matter that there are over 2000 human milk component patents? Stem cells in human milk? We just discovered (cough-cough) stem cells in human milk. Of course, we won't tell people that old text books on human milk state that there are stem cells in human milk. Picture a mother donating her milk to save a preterm infant or sick adult. Does she realize that her milk is an invention created by an industry? Her milk is the raw ingredient. A corporation will standardize it and sell it. Sounds like the dairy industry to me. Enslavement in the 21st century under the auspices of doing good. Human milk is not an invention, nor any version/variation that some group of people dream up!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Breastfeeding is the value. Human milk is valuable but it should not be a commodity nor is it an invention. Brave New World, I never thought I'd live to see this day.
Copyright 2008 Valerie W. McClain

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