A 29-year-old nurse and mom in France is garnering criticism for... offering to breastfeed other people's babies. Specifically, the babies of gay male couples (gay marriage has just been made legal in France).
cecilia232's ad, posted on the e-loue website (where people can offer and hire anything that's legal in France), reads:
"I am a young mother in perfect health, a trained nurse of 29, and I am renting my breasts to milk-feed infants."
She offers up to 10 feedings a day for 100 euros, which is about $130. OK, so here's a woman who wants to provide a service to people and who's smart enough to charge for it, tapping into a newly-created gay couple-with-a-baby market. To me, that seems pretty savvy. But the woman, who hasn't used her real name with any news outlet, has been widely criticized for her ad. I thought it was only in the puritanical U.S. where people get up in arms about issues related to breastfeeding (see also: the breastfeeding mom who was told to cover herself up on an American Airlines flight), but apparently my view of lactating and libertine Europeans isn't exactly correct.
The founder of e-loue, Alexandre Woog, feels sure that the service the woman is providing is legal, or so he told Reuters:
"Our legal advisers are sure of this. It's illegal in France to sell maternal milk but this is a person proposing a service, not selling the milk in flasks."
But others think her actions are not only illegal, but dangerous, like Marie-Laure Makouke, a journalist writing on a French women's website called Terrafemina:
“Aside from its opportunistic and aberrant nature, her offer turns out to be illegal and a danger to the health of newborn babies."
It seems that health officials are concerned about the risk of transmitting infections and viruses, like HIV and meningitis, through breastmilk. While I see the argument about the health risk, couldn't people who are interested in buying cecelia232's breastmilk ask her to submit some kind of bill of good health to make sure the milk she's providing is safe? Otherwise, I really don't see the problem. cecelia232 is aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, and, as a lactating mother, she's hoping to give those benefits to babies while also making a little cash for herself. I wonder if people would be so up in arms if she were offering to breastfeed babies for free?
The poster says she's received about a dozen responses to her post, but that more than a few were from "perverts," as she told Reuters. I'm sure she's going to have to be careful with weeding out random weird people, but if she can legitimately provide breastmilk to even a few families, I say more power to her.