I sold breast milk on the internet and it was mainly men who responded to me

I sold breast milk on the internet and it was mainly men who responded to me
I sold breast milk on the internet and it was mainly men who responded to me

“But who can buy breast milk on Marketplace?” I asked myself when I came across a classified ad. In order to find out the customers interested in the resale of this product whose quality cannot be measured, I posted a false ad online for real breast milk. In two weeks, very few parents responded to the offer.

Of the five requests received since April 25, only one came from a mother looking for milk for her infant. “We’re trying to start breastfeeding, but it’s not easy!” she told me in response to a rather vague ad posted on Marketplace.

“Healthy mom – excellent quality :),” I simply wrote.

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Kijiji screenshot

The ad published on Kijiji.

The first ad I attempted to post, which was more detailed, did not follow Facebook’s business guidelines. You should know that the sale of breast milk is illegal in the country for health reasons, confirms Health Canada.

Others interested in my second ad? Men looking for a bottle of fresh milk or a frozen sachet to “gain muscle mass”, satisfy a “fetish”, absorb the “antibodies” contained in breast milk or simply “to try”.

The product that I falsely put for sale on Marketplace and Kijiji belongs to a complicit – and very well organized – friend who freezes 6 or 7 ounce bags of dated breast milk for her baby whom she describes as a “good drinker” .

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Screenshot

The photos accompanying the announcement published on Kijiji.

Fresh 125 milliliter (4.5 ounce) bottles were also offered in my ad.

After consulting the author of a similar offer on Maketplace, the fictitious price was set at $5 per ounce, although it is possible to obtain it for $1 on certain rather marginal Facebook groups.

“Liquid gold”

Within the first hour of posting, a man very determined to buy a bottle answered the call. Under his trainer’s recommendation, he wanted to try what some call “liquid gold” to gain muscle mass.

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Screenshot

An exchange with a potential buyer on Kijiji.

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Screenshot

An exchange with a potential buyer on Kijiji.

He returned to the charge several times, going so far as to ask for 20 ounces drawn that same evening.

“I play ball hockey about two to three times a week,” said a second interested person via Messenger. Breast milk sounds good for a workout, I think. Breast milk is very good for treating certain illnesses, it has antibodies, etc.”

“It’s like incredible that a woman can express breast milk, it’s so unique,” ​​mentions another who does not hesitate to admit his fetish.

“I’m a childless man, so I’ve never had the chance to taste breast milk. That would really be a dream,” responds a Kijiji user, offering $200 for 15 minutes of feeding directly from the breast.

“This is my last prize. If you want more, I will also want more,” he adds firmly.

  • Listen to the interview with Anne-Sophie Poiré, journalist at 24 Heures on the microphone of Alexandre Dubé via QUB :

No benefits

The theory that breast milk nutrients provide training benefits has been circulating in the sports community for some time.

On social media and discussion platforms, male fitness enthusiasts tout the drink’s “benefits” for “bodybuilders” and “cancer patients,” among others.

“It’s a fashion that comes back periodically, every five to 10 years,” underlines Martin Fréchette, dietitian-nutritionist and lecturer at the Faculty of Physical Activity Sciences at the University of Sherbrooke.

Anyone who works with several categories of athletes describes this trend as “marginal”.

“Breast milk is a super nutritious food, but there is absolutely no serious scientific evidence to support that its consumption in adult men will increase their sporting performance,” he points out.

Its supporters nevertheless defend the thesis that breast milk, rich in growth hormones and colostrum, has anabolic properties that are very useful for muscle growth. The immunoglobulins it contains also provide antibodies to strengthen the immune system and help cure certain diseases.

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Photo courtesy Andréanne Bélanger

The milk from the first days, called colostrum, is thick and yellowish in color (bags on the right). It is very rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.

“There is no magic,” however, says professor emeritus at the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University Michael Kramer.

“There is no scientifically demonstrated benefit, either for preventing or treating cancer, or for athletes. The growth hormone found in milk is digested. It must be consumed by injection for it to have an impact,” continues the doctor, an expert in breastfeeding.

Hazards

In the province, only the public breast milk bank (BPLM) of Héma-Québec is authorized to distribute breast milk. Each year, it helps nearly 1,000 very premature babies born at 32 weeks of pregnancy or less.

“Milk is used as medicine, like a prescription. It is administered by doctors in hospitals,” explains the organization’s spokesperson, Josée Larivée.

And it is “a great vintage”, she assures us. “The milk from 1,200 donors, mothers who produce a surplus, is put together. We always have enough in the bank. We never run out of it.”

It is in this context of “monopoly” that informal banks for donating, exchanging or purchasing breast milk emerged. Parents looking for the precious liquid to feed their non-premature babies have had to turn to other donors.

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Photo courtesy Andréanne Bélanger

Consuming breast milk purchased on the Internet or from another person, however, carries its share of dangers, warns Health Canada, in particular because it is not pasteurized, unlike that of BPLM.

“Pasteurization makes it possible to further reduce the risks of transmission by destroying most viruses [l’hépatite B ou C]HIV and HTLV-1 [qui peut provoquer une maladie du système nerveux et la leucémie]», explains the pediatric microbiologist-infectious disease specialist at CHU Sainte-Justine and medical director of Héma-Québec, Christian Renaud.

It also helps reduce the amount of bacteria in milk that can cause food poisoning, in addition to removing traces of medication.

A 2013 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics also showed that 74% of breast milk samples purchased online in the United States were contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, including salmonella.

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