Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center has become first in the region
to launch a virtual donor milk program for premature infants in the neonatal
intensive care unit (NICU). The donor milk program makes it possible for
Saint Mary’s to provide premature infants in the NICU with an “Exclusive
Human Milk Diet” (EHMD) through the use of standardized donor milk
and nutritional fortifiers made exclusively from human milk instead of cow milk.
“All newborns benefit from human milk, but for babies in the NICU,
the benefits are even more important as human milk contains antibodies
and other substances that protect babies from disease,” said Alana
Beilstein, NICU Manager at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.
“We’re proud that we can now offer a safe outlet for milk
donation, which is incredibly crucial to our NICU babies and their families.”
Saint Mary’s is working with Prolacta Bioscience to establish the
program. Prolacta leads the industry with its quality and safety standards for
donor milk screening and has developed proprietary testing and screening
protocols to ensure the safety of the preemies who rely on Prolacta’s
donor milk-based nutritional products. Prolacta will manage the milk donor
qualification process by conducting health screenings, blood testing,
and the milk collection process. Saint Mary’s chose Prolacta for
the assurance that the hospital will receive safe, standardized donor
milk formulations processed in a pharmaceutical-grade facility, under
the strictest quality and safety guidelines, to protect the health and
well-being of their most fragile patients.
Benefits of an Exclusive Human Milk Diet in the NICU:
Growing scientific evidence supports the benefits of an EHMD for premature
infants in the NICU, as opposed to cow milk-based nutrition or formula.
When used as part of an EHMD, Prolacta Bioscience’s neonatal nutritional
products are clinically proven to improve health outcomes and reduce hospital
costs for critically ill, extremely premature infants in the NICU weighing
between 500-1250g at birth, as compared to cow milk-based fortifier or
cow-milk based preterm formula. Specifically, Prolact+ H2MF®, when used as part of an EHMD, is the first and only human milk fortifier
clinically proven to reduce necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), surgery related
to NEC, sepsis and mortality in premature infants weighing between 500-1250g
at birth.NEC is one of the leading causes of mortality among preterm babies.
As one of only two Level III NICUs in Reno, Saint Mary’s is recognized
and accredited by the state of Nevada as one of the area's best in
caring for urgent baby needs. It is the only facility in northern Nevada
that has the capability to deliver high-frequency ventilation in additional
to conventional ventilation, and to deliver nitric oxide during transportation.
Working with Prolacta Bioscience, Saint Mary’s will also be able
to provide calorie- and protein-standardized donor milk in the NICU to
preemies when mother’s milk is unavailable. Calories are critical
to micro preemies whose nutritional needs are vital to their survival.
Prolacta’s “standardized” donor milk is guaranteed to
deliver a minimum of 20 Cal/fl oz and an average of 1.1 grams of protein
per 100ml, so Saint Mary’s neonatologists can ensure the nutritional
content of each feed.
Saint Mary’s donor milk program is in support for the American Academy
of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendation for the use of human milk for
premature infants, whether their mother’s own milk or pasteurized
donor breast milk, if a mother’s own milk is unavailable. For preemies
weighing less than 1,500 grams, the AAP recommends fortifying mother’s
own breast milk with protein, minerals and vitamins to ensure optimal
How the Donor Process Will Work:
The donor process will be easy and convenient. Moms can donate without
leaving their home, and the family does not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.
The health and history screening is done online, a certified phlebotomist
will come to the mother’s home or office, and all of the storage
and shipping supplies are provided free of cost to the donor. Prepaid
shipping is then arranged so that the donating mother and her baby aren’t
burdened by having to drive the frozen milk coolers to a shipping location.
For nursing moms, the opportunity to donate excess milk comes as a welcome
option, as many struggle with a surplus that now can be donated to support
premature infants in their community.
To learn how to become a donor, visit www.saintmarys.prolacta.com
About Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center
Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center based in Reno, Nev. is a 380-bed
acute care hospital offering inpatient, outpatient and wellness services.
Nationally recognized and accredited by the Joint Commission, Saint Mary’s
offers a robust line of services including a top-rated Center for Cancer
featuring the region’s only CyberKnife radiosurgery delivery system,
state-of-the-art William N. Pennington Emergency Room and Senior ER and
a Cardiology program dedicated to long-term wellness. The health system
also operates a fully-integrated Medical Group and a state-of-the-art
Center for Health & Fitness. As a long-standing community partner,
Saint Mary’s is dedicated to ensuring the health and wellness of
northern Nevada remains strong. For more information, visit