Thursday

Human Milk ...An Invention


Isn't it bizarre to think that some humans are inventing a standardized human milk? Are the inventors (employees of Prolacta Bioscience) claiming ownership of pasteurized human milk with certain specifications? If so, what does this mean for the non-profit milk banking system? Will they be allowed to use their donated pasteurized milks for free? Or will they owe Prolacta?
What has this world come to when a part of our society believes that one can "invent" a standardized human milk? Who determines what the standard is regarding human milk? A corporation? Human milk is species specific, as are all mammal milks. Human milk is also specific for the individual--the mother's mammary gland reacts to the mother's environment by creating antibodies that protect the infant. Thus the level of protection through breastfeeding from mother to infant is far greater than an infant receiving donor milk (which is pooled, heat-treated, and/or fortified).
So what do breastfeeding advocates and organizations feel about this? Silence is acceptance. Is this an ethical approach to the problem of infant feeding? Is this justice? Is this taking away the power of human milk from its owners and designing a product to suit the whims of a new industry? Will the cries of our infants for the breast, for human intimacy be stilled? Human milk is not invention. It is not a product we redesign to suit the needs of an industry.
Copyright 2008 Valerie W. McClain

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