“I am a healthy 24-year-old who gave birth to a pair of twin daughters,” reads a sidewalk sign as a Chinese mother sells breastmilk for 10 yuan (2.09 SGD) per minute.
“Right now, I’m in urgent need of money to pay for the medical treatment of my seriously ill daughter,” the sign also reads. “I can provide on-site breastfeeding. People of all ages are accepted, thank you for the support.”
Chinese mother sells breastmilk to pay for sick baby’s hospital bills
“I’m in urgent need of money to pay for the medical treatment of my seriously ill daughter. I can provide on-site breastfeeding.” | Screenshots from YouTube
According to BBC News, the 24-year-old mum had given birth to twin girls, but the youngest of the twins was in the ICU of Bao’an District People’s Hospital in Shenzhen.
“The doctor said that once she’s cured, we should prepare to pay at least 100,000 yuan (20,876 SGD),” explains the baby’s father, a 31-year-old migrant worker from Sichuan who works in Shenzhen.
A video, which was taken as the Chinese mother sells breastmilk, was posted by Pear Video onto the Miaopai video website. As of this writing, it has over 2.4 million views and thousands of comments on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
Many passersby took pity on the couple, but not everyone was sympathetic… | Screenshot: Pear video
Passersby did what they could to help the struggling couple.
While many commenters online said they would give money to the couple if they passed them on the street, not everyone was sympathetic to the couple’s plight. Some criticised the way they are asking for help as “vulgar” and “without dignity.”
But more are coming to their defence, arguing that a parent would do anything for the love of their child.
Buying breastmilk in Singapore: Is it safe?
More and more mums are selling breastmilk online, on social media groups and even e-commerce sites.
While some fear that this is neither safe nor proper, many mums are benefitting from this burgeoning trend.
In Singapore alone, Human Milk 4 Human Babies has nearly 6,000 likes on Facebook. The global network collectively has thousands of followers worldwide.
Their mission is to “promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk.”
The group wants to foster community “between local families who have chosen to share breastmilk.”
But is it safe not to go through a milk bank to buy or sell breastmilk?
Unlike buying from milk banks, purchasing breast milk online doesn’t give you 100% assurance that it is safe. | Image source: file photo
The British Medical Journal warns against the unregulated market of human breast milk. Because breastmilk sold online doesn’t go through proper screening, it puts babies at risk for infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis and syphilis, or even illegal drugs.
What’s more, poor packaging and transport can lead to bacterial growth and contamination.
Though we sympathise with the plight of the mum above and wish that she gets all the help she needs, it always pays to be extra careful when it comes to what you feed your precious baby.
In August 2017, Temasek Foundation Cares (part of the Temasek group) and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) joined forces to put up Singapore’s first official breast milk bank. Learn more about it here.
Sources: Medium, BBC News, Channel News Asia, British Medical Journal
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