UMass Breastmilk Lab

Below are answers to some questions we are frequently asked. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about our research.

Can you give me the results of your analysis of my milk?

We do not provide individual participants the results of our analysis of their milk, because the results and any conclusions reached about their meaning are experimental at this point. We are happy to provide electronic access to any publications which result from mothers’ participation in our research.

Do you need frozen or fresh milk?

For nearly all of our research we are seeking fresh milk, expressed shortly before it is shipped or driven to our lab. This best preserves the cells which we use in our research. In one case, mothers who have had breast cancer and have previously frozen milk, we can accept frozen milk.

How much milk do you need?

Ideally we would like to collect 75 milliliters (or about 2.5 ounces) of fresh breast milk from each breast. From our experience we have found that some women can provide 75 milliliters of fresh breast milk from a single pumping of one breast, while some women need to pump milk multiple times over a twelve hour period to provide 75 milliliters of milk and still other women can provide much less milk from each breast. Regardless of the amount of fresh breast milk you can provide, we will be able to use your breast milk samples and are grateful for your participation in the study.

How is my privacy protected?

Every effort will be made to protect your privacy. Your name will not be used in any of the research reports or publication prepared with results obtained from this study. All information obtained in the study that identifies who you are will be recorded with a code number. During the study the key identifying which code number goes with your information will be kept in a locked drawer. When the study is finished the code that can link information to you personally will be destroyed.

If I have breast cancer can my baby get it through my milk?

Your baby cannot develop breast cancer because of cells in your breast milk. Your breast cells pass through your baby’s body and pose no risk to him or her.

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