Donor FAQ


Why Use A Milk Bank?

There are many reasons why obtaining donor milk through a licensed milk bank is important. Milk banks are regulated on a Federal level by the FDA, and on a state level as Tissue Banks. Milk banks must comply with guidelines set forth by these regulatory bodies that enforce safety and quality.

Safety First

The Mother's Milk Coop Milk Bank requires extensive screening before approving an applicant to become a milk donor, but the safety measures don't stop there. Every drop of each shipment of milk is tested for safety and quality and screened for adulterants before being processed for clinical use. Safety of the donor milk is paramount for the recipients of the donor milk who are often critically ill and/or premature babies in the NICU.

Are Mother's Milk Coop Donors "Milk Bank Certified"? 

Mother's Milk Coop does not provide any sort of "milk bank certification". Though our milk donors must pass stringent screening to be accepted as a donor-member of the Coop, we do not offer any donor a "certificate" nor do we encourage selling or sharing of milk outside of a milk bank. This is because donor screening is just the FIRST step of many in the stringent safety and quality steps involved in milk banking. Donor screening provides some assurance that the milk donor is healthy enough at the time of screening to provide milk to the milk bank. Donors must undergo blood testing every six months to remain qualified to donate milk. Numerous additional steps are taken by the milk bank to ensure that Co-op Donor Milk offers the highest possible level of safety and quality, including extensive safety and quality tests on the milk before and after processing. 

MMC does not offer or provide a "Milk Bank Certified" certificate and anyone who is found soliciting milk outside the Coop with the false claim of such "certificate" is in violation of MMC policies. The best way to ensure the safety of the milk donor and recipient is to work directly with a licensed milk bank such as the Mothers Milk Cooperative.


When can I become a milk donor?

Please understand that if you are currently nursing a baby, you must wait until the baby reaches three months of age before beginning milk donation. This is to ensure that each baby has a sufficient supply of his/ her mother's own milk. If there are extenuating circumstances please contact the Mother's Milk Cooperative with any questions. 


Do you pay donors?

Yes! Members who participate in our "Milk Money" program are paid $1/oz. To become a member, 100 oz of milk is donated to the co-op to cover the qualification expenses of our donors. All milk donated thereafter is applied to the program of choice (Milk Money or Pay It Forward). 


Is my Milk Money income subject to tax?

Yes! Milk Money income is Miscellaneous Income (1099-Misc) and is subject to tax.  If you are not sure how to report your 1099 income, we recommend that you consult your personal tax adviser, or a local tax clinic or advisory group about your particular situation. You might also inquire as to whether you should make itemized tax deductions for your pumping supplies, which are business expenses. 


How do I fill out the IRS W-9 form?

Check out this video from About.com for help on filling out a W-9 form. If you have specific questions about filling out the form as a Member of the MMC, please email us at info@mothersmilk.coop for help! 


How do I receive Milk Money payments?

Milk Money payments are made via Direct Deposit into the checking or savings account of your choice (the account must have your name on it). Please fill out your Direct Deposit form as soon as you receive it from us and return by fax to 503.305.8269. *Please note that first payments will be made via check and sent USPS. Subsequent payments will be direct-deposited into the account you have selected on your Direct Deposit form.


When are Milk Money payments issued?

Your Milk Money payment will be issued 90 days after we have received your milk. We will send you an email notifying you of your scheduled payment date immediately following receiving of your milk shipment. Every shipment has a 90 day pay period, regardless of how many shipments you've sent to MMC. It is important that we have received your Direct Deposit form well before your scheduled payment date. Please note that you will receive your first payment by check, and all subsequent payments will be direct-deposited into your account on payroll Friday before the end of the work day. 

 


Why do I have to wait 90 days for payment?

Our 90 day payment policy is in place to maintain sustainable operations, and most importantly because donor milk must be tested rigorously after we receive it and we put the health and safety of donor milk recipients first. Our policy takes into account the time invested in this crucial step of quality assurance.


Will paying donors raise the cost of the milk?

No! Quite the opposite! By paying moms for their milk, we are able to collect enough milk to drive down the cost of processing it significantly. When mothers choose to give their milk for free, it does help drive down the cost of donor milk. However, we believe that nursing mothers deserve the option to be paid. The Mother's Milk Cooperative prefers to rely on economies of scale to optimize the cost of the milk.


What is a dividend payment?

A dividend payment is a return on surplus revenues to members at the end of each year, proportionate to their contribution to the co-op. This means that the more you contribute to the co-op, the more you will earn through our profit-sharing benefits!


How do I get a blood test kit?

Blood test kits are shipped to persons who have successfully completed the Mother's Milk Cooperative application located at www.donatemymilk.com and who have received notice that their application was approved. You will receive additional email notification once your blood test kit actually ships and you will be provided with tracking information to find out when the kit will be delivered. Donors must use the official kit that we provide to complete their blood work.


Can I give you recent blood test results instead of getting a new blood test?

Every applicant to the Mother's Milk Cooperative must complete their blood testing using our kit. We do not accept previous blood test results. 


I have my blood test kit, now what?

SCHEDULE YOUR BLOOD DRAW AND SHIP YOUR BLOOD TEST MONDAY - WEDNESDAY ONLY.

  1. Do not throw the brown corrugated box away, this will be used to ship your blood test.
  2. Place the gel pack provided inside your freezer. It must be frozen before your blood is drawn.
  3. Find your local LabCorp location (refer to instructions) to schedule your draw.
  4. Don't forget to put your frozen gel pack inside of the kit before having your blood drawn!
  5. After your blood draw, the test kit must be shipped THE SAME DAY via FedEx.
  6. Visit www.fedex.com to find a drop-off location near you. 

Your kit is then shipped to The American Red Cross for processing. It will take approximately 5-10 days to receive your results. If your blood test kit is lost or damaged, or if you have any questions regarding the kit please contact us. We will email when we have received the results, and if you have passed this qualification step then you will be instructed on how to place your first cooler request! 

Please note: Dynacare laboratories are not part our agreement with LabCorp. If you live in Washington or Wisconsin, and your only nearby lab is Dynacare, please contact our staff at help@mothersmilk.coop.

Confused? Need help? Call us at: (888)250-8738 Mon-Fri 9a-5p PST. 


Can I let my friend or family member do my blood draw?

If you have a friend, family member, etc. who is a phlebotomist, you may be wondering if they can carry out your blood draw. We prefer that you carry out your blood draw with LabCorp. It’s free and it maintains a high level of quality assurance. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact us at help@mothersmilk.coop