Ambrosia Labs is a for-profit milk bank that pays mothers in Cambodia to donate their excess breast milk, for sale in the US.
Breast milk is the most natural way to feed newborns, and there are some babies who cannot digest anything else. But approximately two percent of women can’t produce enough. For them the options are limited to milk banks — which are often undersupplied — or un-policed online forums such as Only The Breast, where the milk sold by other mothers can be very expensive, and there is no guarantee that enough will be available. Now, they have another option. Ambrosia Labs is a Utah-based startup that pays mothers in Cambodia for their excess milk and sells it to parents in America.
In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, women often have to work long hours in garment factories for incredibly low pay. Providing breast milk to Ambrosia Labs is a more attractive prospect for many mothers, since it requires a maximum of one or two days work a week and pays significantly better — milk donors are paid between 50 cents and USD 1 per ounce which amounts to double the country’s median income. Ambrosia Labs requires the mothers to have breastfed their own child for a minimum of six months before they can donate, and all the milk is pasteurized before sale and adheres to World Health Organization standards. Donors also have to pass blood tests and drug tests before they can participate in the program.
How else can excess offerings be redistributed to those in need?