What to Expect When Having Breast Milk Shipped

Some of our intended parents choose to have their surrogate express breast milk for their child long after they’ve returned to their own homes. The beauty of expedited shipping allows surrogates to pump and freeze breast milk, package it, and have it arrive right on your doorstep before it ever thaws.

Generally speaking, you will discuss the potential of breast milk pumping and shipping during your matching phase. Bear in mind that either party can change their mind about their willingness to participate in this at any time during the journey. Asking for it in matching doesn’t obligate you to stay with it after the baby is born. You may also decide during the pregnancy that you want breast milk after initially deciding during your matching phase that you didn’t. It is okay to revisit the topic if your views change in either direction.

However, if both you and your surrogate are onboard for pumping and shipping breast milk, here’s a look at what you can expect.

Typically a surrogate will pump and store her milk at her home for several days, sometimes up to a month, before sending it to you. This is because it is important to fill each shipping cooler as full as possible to help ensure that the milk stays frozen during shipment. Be aware that having breast milk shipped to you may not alleviate the need for formula feeding as well, as the timing of each shipment cannot always be exact.

Shipments will need to arrive at your home within 48 hours of being packaged and dropped off at the carrier by your surrogate. It is strongly advised that the shipment come via 2 day or overnight guaranteed delivery.

When the shipments arrive they will typically come in a large box with a Styrofoam cooler inside. Inside of the cooler you will likely find dry ice or thechni-ice packs as well as the bags of frozen breast milk. If possible, try to have your surrogate alert you when she drops off the shipment and and give you an expected delivery time frame. It is advisable that you be at home when the shipment arrives. As you can imagine, you’ll want to move these perishable, frozen items from the cooler to your own freezer as quickly as possible.

Typically your contract will specify a compensation amount for breast milk expression. In addition to this fee, you can expect to be responsible for the costs of all pumping supplies, postage, and shipping materials.

If you have additional questions about the benefits of breast milk or how this process may work for you, don’t be afraid to speak with your case specialist, or even with your surrogate if you’re comfortable. Chances are she’s experienced with nursing and breast pumping and will be able to answer most of your questions with ease.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.