Our donor milk bank is one of 16 milk banks in the UK. We're based in St Thomas' Hospital in the neonatal unit.
We provide safe, screened donor breast milk to babies both within our neonatal unit and to other neonatal units at hospitals in London and the south east of England.
About the milk bank
For all babies, their mother's own breast milk can provide nutrition and protection from infections. This is especially important for premature and vulnerable babies and can include babies with heart or bowel problems. It is not always possible for mothers to produce milk, or they may not wish to. Our milk bank provides an alternative to the mother's own milk when it's not available for those who wish to use it.
How milk is prepared
Donors express milk in the comfort of their own homes and store it in their freezer. The breast milk is then collected by us and delivered to the milk bank. We pasteurise the milk and samples are sent to a laboratory to confirm that it is free from any contamination. The pasteurised milk is then made available to babies being cared for in our neonatal unit, and other units. We work in partnership with SERV SSL who provide transport to collect the milk from our donors.
Become a donor
If you are a mother and you have more breast milk than you need, you may be able to become a donor. To ensure the milk is safe for the vulnerable babies that will receive it, you will be screened. This will include questions about your health and lifestyle, and a blood test.
You cannot become a donor if:
- you smoke, or are exposed to passive smoking (such as a living in a home with a person who smokes inside)
- you drink two units of alcohol twice a week or more
(information about alcohol units can be found on the NHS Choices website)
- you take certain medications (such as some hormones and vitamins) and we will discuss this with you if you would like to be considered as a donor.
All information you provide will be treated with the strictest confidence.
If you are interested in becoming a donor please contact us:
Request donor breast milk
Hospitals that require donor breast milk should contact us by calling 020 7188 8846 to check availability of the quantity of milk required. Once confirmed, we will discuss the process for the milk to be collected and brought to your hospital.
You will then need to complete a donor milk request form (Word 242Kb) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note, we only provide milk for other NHS services and are not able to provide milk for private services.