Human Breast Milk Sold Online Poses Severe Health Risks – Market Should Be Regulated, Warn Researchers

The demand for human breast milk has grown significantly in the recent past. However, buying such milk on the internet is very risky and is a severe health hazard, researchers have warned.

The online market and demand for human breast milk, fueled partly by fanatic bodybuilders and adults with a baby fetish, poses a serious risk to public health, cautioned researchers from the University of London's school of medicine and dentistry. The researchers were so alarmed with their initial findings that they pushed out a special editorial in the British Medical Journal to warn of the dangers of buying breast milk online before their study was completed.

The editorial strongly calls for breast milk sold online to be screened for diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, and syphilis. Owing to lack of regulations and screening, babies who are administered breast milk that has been bought online face grave risks that could be fatal as well, said Lead author Dr. Sarah Steele. Citing a parallel study, she indicated more than 90 percent of breast milk purchased online was found to have unhygienic and potentially harmful bacterial growth.

Buying breast milk online is wrought with multiple pitfalls. Quite a few of the sellers, who were contacted and interviewed, were found to be intravenous drug users. Since the online breast milk market isn't yet regulated, hundreds of websites have sprung up, which offer the organic and highly perishable product. Thousands of visitors are attracted to these websites and wooed by the perceived benefits of consuming breast milk and end up forking upwards of $4 per 30 ml.

Sellers and advertisers have become smart enough to assure buyers that the breast milk has been obtained from females who claim to eat only organic or vegan food. These websites regularly proclaim the breast milk they sell will help your baby become healthy and will have fat, chubby, and completely desirable healthy cheeks.

Breast Milk Sold Online Isn't Pasteurized And May Have Badly Deteriorated
Breast Milk Sold Online Isn't Pasteurized And May Have Badly Deteriorated

Though the online breast milk market appears to cater primarily to mothers who are unable to breastfeed their babies, serving as a cheaper alternative to regulated milk banks, it is open to anyone who feels it might benefit them. Consumers include cancer patients who believe breast milk has health benefits and gym enthusiasts who believe breast milk is a natural super-food. A third group of adult consumers are fetishists "who like to be fed like a baby, either from source or from a bottle," shared Steele.

There are quite a few critical flaws though. Breast milk sold online isn't pasteurized. Bacteria can grow quickly in the milk, and any type of milk needs to be consumed within 24-48 hours, unless it has been significantly treated at a processing plant, which the breast milk certainly isn't.

[Image Credit | MyFoxDetroit, Nationwide Children's Hospital]