SALT LAKE CITY -- In recognition of National Prematurity Awareness Month, Helping Hands Milk Bank and its sponsor, Prolacta Bioscience, are encouraging Utah mothers to donate excess milk to help save lives of premature babies in intensive care.
Prematurity is the number one leading cause of death of newborns nationwide, and has increased 36 percent in the past 25 years, according to the March of Dimes. This month, Utah received a "C" grade from the March of Dimes for its 11.3 percent premature birth rate, only slightly lower than the national average of 12.2 percent.
"We continue to accelerate our efforts to feed more of the most at-risk infants," said Scott Elster, CEO of Prolacta Bioscience. "For mothers who want to help, we encourage them to either donate excess breast milk to the Helping Hands Milk Bank, or spread the word to others who can."
Nursing mothers may donate excess breast milk through Helping Hands for free and from the comfort of home. The milk is used by Prolacta to make potentially life-saving, human milk-based nutritional products for extremely premature infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Along with saving lives, a study in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine reports that Prolacta Human Milk Fortifier (HMF) reduces NICU healthcare costs by about $8,000 per patient among extremely premature infants.
Helping Hands allows busy mothers to apply online in about 15 minutes and donate milk from the privacy and comfort of home. The virtual milk bank provides all necessary materials and covers the cost of shipping. Interested donors may learn more and apply at HelpingHandsBank.com.
Additionally, Prolacta Bioscience contributes $1 for every ounce of qualified milk collected through Helping Hands to Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R). Contributions from Prolacta to Komen for the Cure exceeded $100,000 in the past year.