A Short Guide for Surrogates: Shipping Breastmilk

The decision to pump and ship breastmilk to your intended parents after birth is one that’s made jointly during the matching process. Surrogates are not required to pump and ship breastmilk, however many like to do so.

Pumping and shipping breastmilk is not difficult at all! This short guide will inform you of all the necessary items you’ll need to ship your breast milk, as well as the steps to take to ship it properly so that it arrives frozen!

Items you’ll need for each shipment of breast milk*:

  • Milk storage bags
  • Styrofoam cooler
  • Newspaper
  • Packing tape
  • Shipping box (large enough to fit your cooler)
  • Dry ice

* The average cost to ship breastmilk is $400-$500 per shipping, these costs is covered by your intended parents.

How to ship breastmilk:

  1. Place all of your pumped milk into the freezer in breast milk storage bags. Storing it between cookie sheets enables it to freeze flat, making packing easier. When filling the bags with milk, be sure to leave some room for the milk to expand as it freezes (about 6 oz per bag).
  2. Once milk is frozen, layer frozen bags of milk in a single layer in the bottom of the cooler.
  3. Continue layering the frozen bags of milk, packing the cooler as tightly as possible. the less empty space, the colder the milk will stay.
  4. Be sure to leave room in the cooler for the dry ice. In a 22 quart cooler, you can place about 26-34 bags of milk. When all of the milk is packed, cover the breastmilk with newspaper.
  5. Place dry ice in a paper bag and them place on top of newspaper. Cover dry ice with another layer of paper. Be careful with dry ice, it should be enclosed at all times and not loose in the cooler.
  6. Place entire cooler into a shipping box. For a 22-qt. cooler, a 16″x16″x15″ box works well.
  7. Tape box shut. Write ‘PERISHABLE’ or ‘FROZEN’ on all 4 sides as well as the top of the box. Call your shipping facility prior to arriving to ship your package to understand their guidelines for shipping packages with dry ice.
  8. Ship the box via UPS or FedEx. You’ll have to provide your IP’s shipping information. Ship the package PRIORITY OVER NIGHT to ensure your IPs receive it the following afternoon.

That’s it!

Download the guide here!