First Nonprofit Partnership of Its Kind Benefits Premature Infants

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Indiana Blood Center and Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank Forge Partnership

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It’s a nonprofit to nonprofit connection. It just makes sense for us to partner and bring life-saving donations to as many infants as we can.

For NICU babies, donated blood and donated human milk are critical to survival. Two Indiana organizations are now teaming up to make sure fragile infants have access to both.

The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank and Indiana Blood Center launched a partnership June 16, 2014, to make each of them more effective in providing resources to premature infants. This is one of the first partnerships of its kind in the United States. Each Indiana Blood Center location will now also serve as a milk depot for approved IMMB breast milk donor mothers, which immediately adds seven new drop-off locations around the state of Indiana. An eighth will open in August.

As the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank and Indiana Blood Center started conversations, they realized the process of screening donors and providing life saving resources of donor blood and donor milk are very similar. This partnership allows both organizations to be more effective in collecting and distributing life-saving donations.

Because of the efficient nature of Indiana Blood Center’s existing infrastructure, the partnership allows IMMB to be more proactive in supplying NICUs with donor milk. When IBC couriers transport blood quickly from donor centers or depots, which happens several times a day, they will be able to pick up IMMB donations as well. Milk donations will be transported from the depot to the pasteurization facility at the IMMB more regularly, making the turnaround time between a donor dropping off donated milk at a depot location and dispensing to a hospital more timely.

This partnership also gives the IMMB a presence in new cities around Indiana. Donors in cities like Columbus and Terre Haute will now be able to drop off donations, instead of shipping coolers to Indianapolis.

“This partnership makes donating milk more convenient for new moms and gives us a larger presence in Indiana and the ability to reach more potential donor mothers,” said Janice O’Rourke, IMMB Executive Director.

“The partnership with Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank perfectly aligns with Indiana Blood Center’s lifesaving mission,” said Byron Buhner, president and CEO of Indiana Blood Center. “Knowing that our broad footprint of donor centers throughout Indiana opens the opportunity for even more mothers to donate milk adds yet another point of pride in what we do.”

Indiana Blood Center will also be providing the blood screening required for potential milk donors going through the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank approval process. All Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank donors go through a screening process, which includes a blood test as well as medical and lifestyle history. With this process, all approved milk donors are eligible to donate blood once they are six weeks postpartum through Indiana Blood Center.

“The process of milk donation and blood donation is actually very similar,” says Carissa Hawkins of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank. “It’s a nonprofit to nonprofit connection. It just makes sense for us to partner and bring life-saving donations to as many infants as we can.”

According to Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank and Indiana Blood Center, there is always a demand for donated blood and donated human milk. They both have similar goals when it comes to providing a vital, potentially life-saving donation to those in need.

About Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank
The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank (IMMB) is a non-profit organization that promotes community health by expanding the safe use of human milk for all babies, especially premature and ill infants. The IMMB accepts and pasteurizes breast milk from fully screened and approved mothers to be sent to Neonatal Intensive Care Units in hospitals throughout the Midwest. The IMMB has depot locations throughout the Midwest and has been in existence since 2005.

About Indiana Blood Center
Indiana Blood Center was founded in 1952 and is a not-for-profit community resource organization dedicated to maintaining a stable blood supply for more than 60 hospitals throughout Indiana. In order to meet patients’ blood needs, Indiana Blood Center must see 550 donors every day. This goal is met with the annual help of more than 100,000 volunteer donors and through the dedication of more than 375 Indiana Blood Center staff who live out the lifesaving mission of providing blood components to patients in Indiana hospitals. Indiana Blood Center is the largest independent blood provider in Indiana and among the top 20 nationally, performing some 150,000 procedures annually. Visit for more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood.

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Karen Hurt
Bohlsen Group
+1 (317) 602-7137 Ext: 2044
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