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Human breast milk now a 'luxury drink' for wealthy in China

Rich clients can drink directly from the breast, or from a pump “if they feel embarrassed”.

An electric breast pump, held at the ready.
An electric breast pump, held at the ready.

HUMAN BREAST MILK has become a new luxury for China’s rich, with firms selling opportunities for wealthy adults to drink from the breasts of wet nurses, according to reports.

A domestic staff agency called Xinxinyu in Shenzhen provides wet nurses for newborns, the sick and other adults who pay high prices for the milk’s fine nutrition, China’s Southern Metropolis Daily said.

Company owner Lin Jun told the paper:

Adult (clients) can drink it directly through breastfeeding, or they can always drink it from a breast pump if they feel embarrassed.

Wet nurses serving adults are paid around 16,000 yuan ($2,600) a month – more than four times the Chinese average – and those who were “healthy and good looking” could earn even more, the report said.

Traditional beliefs in some parts of China hold that human breast milk has the best and most easily digestible nutrition for people who are ill.

But the report sparked heated debate in the media and on Chinese social media, with most users condemning the service as unethical.

In an online poll, almost 90 percent of participants voted against the service, saying it “violated ethical values”, while a fraction over 10 percent deemed it a “normal business practice”.

“People become perverts when they are too rich and tired of other forms of entertainment. This is disguised pornography,” said a user with the online handle ricky_gao.

Among the general population in China breastfeeding rates are low — just 28 percent according to a 2012 UNICEF report — due to time limits on maternity leave and aggressive marketing of formula.

Company officials could not be reached for comment by AFP.

© AFP 2013

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