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Since foster relations are treated as blood relations in marital matters and buying breastmilk from a store to feed your infant doesn't tell you who the foster mother is, is it regarded as forbidden?

It is allowed to nurse your child by paying someone in Islam

...And if you wish to have your children nursed by a substitute, there is no blame upon you as long as you give payment according to what is acceptable... (Surah Al Baqarah:233)

Although in this way one cannot guarantee to know the foster brothers/sisters(because she may also feed some other child in return for payment), Allah has made it halal. So, the question is not very different from this scenario except the foster mother is not known. What do scholars say on this matter?

  • I've never heard of breast milk sold in stores. What you might buy is a try to create something similar to human breast milk on a cow milk basis with some additions. You should also know that a mother can only produce as much milk as her baby may need. This means long as baby is suckling the breast produces milk. – Medi1Saif Jul 29 '18 at 20:52
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    @Medi1Saif Human milk is sold in many western nations. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, an association of nonprofit milk banks in the U.S. and Canada, states that the organization’s affiliated banks distributed about 4.4 million ounces of human milk to hospitals in 2017. Some women do produce excess milk whereas other prefer to sell their and feed their babies with powdered milk due to poverty or body conscious issues. – Ahmed Jul 30 '18 at 3:21
  • @Ahmed that sounds somewhat weird and is/was new to me thanks. I would have assumed that it could happen inside a family or between neighbours, but that women want to make profit of their breast milk ... well money rules the world. If the question didn't ask for a scholarly opinion I might have given an answer, but I have no backup yet from a scholarly opinion. – Medi1Saif Jul 30 '18 at 6:42
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This would create uncertainty in mahram relationships as a child would feed on the milk of multiple anonymous women, and a woman's milk will be consumed by multiple anonymous children, making it impossible to observe Islam's commands regarding what is Halal and Haram.

This is different from when parents hire a wet nurse, because they know which woman fostered their child and the wet nurse knows which children she fostered. So it is possible to identify mahrams when arranging marriages.

There is a relevant resolution on this by the Islamic Fiqh Academy under the OIC. The arabic text can be found here:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد خاتم النبيين وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين

قرار رقم: 6 (6/2)[1] بشأن

بنوك الحليب

إن مجلس مجمع الفقه الإسلامي الدولي المنبثق عن منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي في دورة انعقاد مؤتمر الثاني بجدة من 10 – 16 ربيع الآخر 1406هـ الموافق 22 – 28 كانون الأول ( ديسمبر ) 1985م،

بعد أن عرض على المجمع دراسة فقهية، ودراسة طبية حول بنوك الحليب

وبعد التأمل فيما جاء في الدراستين ومناقشة كل منهما مناقشة مستفيضة شملت مختلف جوانب الموضوع وتبين منها

أولاً: أن بنوك الحليب تجربة قامت بها الأمم الغربية، ثم ظهرت مع التجربة بعض السلبيات الفنية والعلمية فيها فانكمشت وقل الاهتمام بها۔

ثانياً: أن الإسلام يعتبر الرضاع لحمة كلحمة النسب يحرم به ما يحرم من النسب بإجماع المسلمين۔ ومن مقاصد الشريعة الكلية المحافظة على النسب، وبنوك الحليب مؤدية إلى الاختلاط أو الريبة۔

ثالثاً: أن العلاقات الاجتماعية في العالم الإسلامي توفر للمولود الخداج أو ناقص الوزن أو المحتاج إلى اللبن البشري في الحالات الخاصة ما يحتاج إليه من الاسترضاع الطبيعي، الأمر الذي يغني عن بنوك الحليب۔

:قرر ما يلي

أولاً: منع إنشاء بنوك حليب الأمهات في العالم الإسلامي۔

ثانياً: حرمة الرضاع منها۔

والله أعلم ؛؛

There is an english translation here [p. 24] as well as on Islamweb:

Bismillah Arrahman Arrahim

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, and Prayers and Blessings be upon Sayyidina Muhammad, the last of the Prophets, and upon his Family and his Companions

RESOLUTION N° 6 (6/2)

CONCERNING MILK BANKS

The Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, during its second session, held in Jeddah (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), from 10 to 16 Rabiul Thani 1406 H (22-28 December 1985) ;

After a legal and medical study have been submitted to the Academy, and Having considered the contents of the two studies and having discussed each one of them in depth covering the various aspects of the subject ;

First: The Milk Banks concept and experience are a western nations initiated phenomenon ; however, as the concept was being practiced, some scientific and technical adverse effects were noticed, thus causing decrease in its use and lack of interest in it.

Second: To Islam, Breast feeding creates a bond similar to a lineage bond and forbids, according to the consensus of Muslim jurists, exactly the same which is forbidden due to actual lineage relationship. One of the goal of Shari'a is to safeguard the lineage of a person whereas the Milk banks lead to mix up and doubt.

Third: The social structure in the Muslim world is such that it can fulfill the needs of a premature or a weak child in need of natural breast feeding from human milk (in some special cases), thus eliminating dependency on the Milk banks.

Accordingly:

First: The establishment of Milk Banks should be prohibited in the Islamic World.

Second: It is prohibited to feed a Muslim child with milk from these banks.

Verily, Allah is All-Knowing

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