How To Ship Breastmilk

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How To Ship Breastmilk

There is no doubt that along with a new baby comes an enormous number of decisions, not least of which is how baby will be fed. And a surrogate pregnancy certainly adds a new layer of complexity to the decision between formula breastmilk.

The decision is personal and there isn’t a wrong choice. What may be the best option for one family may not be for another. While formula is better than ever before, the benefits of breastmilk are difficult for many parents to ignore. Breastmilk contains antibodies, along with other disease fighting factors, and provides babies with reduced risk for a plethora of ailments, both short and long term. Along with supporting a healthy intestinal microbiome, breast milk reduces the risk of other metabolic diseases such as diabetes. According to NIH, breastmilk consumption protects against viral and bacterial infection, eczema, allergic rhinitis, asthma, food allergies, leukemia, and the list goes on. The composition of breastmilk differs based on the sex and age of the baby, even adapting to provide more antibodies when baby is sick. Sound like magic? It is difficult to refute that claim!

Understandably, some intended parents opt for breastmilk and wonder if it’s possible with a surrogate pregnancy. The answer is yes, in some cases. Not all surrogates are willing or able to pump and ship breastmilk, which is generally discussed during matching. It is truly a labor of love due to the significant time commitment – pumping takes around 20-30 minutes and must be done every three hours around the clock, disrupting sleep. Considering not only time spent pumping, but also cleaning machine parts after every session, setting up and putting away, storing milk, packing, and shipping, pumping consumes approximately 4-5 hours out of every 24. At Stronger Together Surrogacy, approximately 30% of our surrogates pump and ship breastmilk.

When it comes to the logistics of shipping milk, a few options exist. Milk Stork offers a concierge service that mails shipping containers, user activated cooling units, and shipping labels for easy package drop-off. The package includes clear and simple instructions that make the process a breeze for even the most sleep deprived. Alternatively, breast milk can be frozen and shipped with overnight or two-day shipping, if available for your location, via any postal carrier when packaged with dry ice in a Styrofoam cooler. The cooler must be packaged inside a corrugated cardboard box. It’s also important not to let dry ice come in direct contact with the breast milk so separation with newspaper or cardboard is recommended. Packages must allow for gas to escape to avoid the risk of explosion. For this reason, any package containing dry ice must be labeled as “dangerous goods”. Currently through USPS, packages with dry ice are limited to ground transportation. UPS allows air shipment for packages containing less than 5.5lbs of dry ice. FedEx limits dry ice to 2.2lbs per package and requires that the package be picked up rather than dropped off at a shipment center. Given that rules and regulations change over time, it’s a good idea to investigate current restrictions prior to packaging a shipment.

The choice between breastmilk and formula requires consideration, and in a surrogate pregnancy, advance planning as well. Rest assured that regardless of whether you decide to feed your baby breastmilk or formula, you have made the right choice.