Adult milk market

Women sell breast milk to grown men at a steep price.

Published April 13, 2007 12:02AM (EDT)

Ew. According to a recent piece from the Columbia News Service, there are now lactating Annie Sprinkles flogging their mammarian excretions for a thirsty male clientele. (For those of you who missed this bit of sex-positive herstory, "post-porn performance artist" Sprinkle got her start selling bottles of her urine by mail order.) Not surprisingly, most of these lactepreneurs aren't really trying to launch careers in nouveau erotics, but just trying to make a buck while getting rid of a freezer brimming with sterile baggies of excess breast milk. One woman claimed she sold the liquid gold for $1.50 an ounce and made $500 in a month and a half. Not exactly a fortune -- but a far cry from the nonprofit milk banks which don't pay donors a cent but charge customers $3 per ounce. Currently California and New York are the only states which regulate the sale of breast milk so for most of the nation, we're a land of milk and money.

La Leche League has issued warnings that drinking unregulated breast milk isn't safe because it can transmit viruses like HIV, but that doesn't seem to have dampened human beverage enthusiasts. On the commercial front there are also companies like Prolacta Bioscience that sell "human milk-based nutritional products" to hospitals for critically ill infants for more than 10 times the cost of milk bank product.

With the steep price of milk banks and commercial ventures, an online market has sprung up to cater to a variety of buyers. Some buyers are mothers who cannot breast feed their babies; others are cancer patients who ingest human milk as an experimental immune booster. But the newest clientele seems to be men with a fetish for what one purveyor promotes as her "hot mama milk." Some women selling their milk wish to avoid this clientele and require the buyer to offer proof that the milk will go to real baby (not an "adult baby"); some give up when they sense they're getting tall tales from their unquenched clients.

Between the internet offering a forum for every possible fetish imaginable -- click for a list at your own peril (clowns? casts? robots?) -- and the mounting evidence that breast milk is an unreplicable miracle drink, it's unlikely the market will dry up any time soon. Milk banks are doing God's work and no disrespect to the women who make a few extra pennies pawning their product on a multi-faceted public. Call me lactose-intolerant, but something about the open market in human dairy products leaves a bad taste.

By Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

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